Howie Roseman: Can't Fix Everything
It’s not as if the Eagles didn’t want to address the receiver spot in free agency, it’s just that, well, the market didn’t develop as quickly as it did in the defensive back and tackle aisles when the market opened.
That was the gist of what Howie Roseman said during Thursday morning’s 50-minute conference call with reporters when he explained an offseason that has, so far in free agency, been about the defense.
The only offensive player the Eagles signed was Nate Sudfeld, the backup quarterback who had been in Philly for the previous three seasons. Nobody new or improved in the pass catching department.
“I don’t know that you can fix everything in one offseason,” said Roseman. “I understand the passion about receiver. I don’t know that it was necessarily that we put more of a preference on fixing the defense than the offense. I think we tried to accumulate as much information about what was available to us and what we could do and get the players that we thought could make a difference.
“And where we were when we pulled the trigger on these deals, it was obvious with the information that we had that these were things we could do to improve the team. Whereas where the market was at the receiver position, which I think has changed a little bit here in the past couple of days, was different.”
When the receiver market began to pop, Roseman sounded as if the salary cap was a concern, even though they still have more than $29 million in space, according to www.overthecap.com.
It wasn’t so much the budget as it was the GM taking a look down the road in a year or two and not wanting to sign a receiver just for the sake of signing a receiver and have it turn out that he won’t be able to help much anyway.
So Roseman bolstered the defense, bringing in three new defensive backs in Darius Slay, Will Parks, and Nickell Robey-Coleman, a linebacker in Jatavis Brown, and a defensive tackle in Javon Hargrave.
Of course, the biggest emphasis was on the secondary.
“The first part is it’s hard when you’re watching games and the ball is getting thrown over your head, and you’re also not getting an opportunity to get the ball back, and that hurts the offense and that hurts the defense,” said Roseman.
“Like all of you, you’re watching it, I’m watching it, and we’re seeing the effect that has, and the first way that we want to improve that is up front and affecting the quarterback, because these guys are so good in the National Football League, that if you don’t get pressure on them, nobody’s going to be able to cover for a long period of time anyway, no matter how good your secondary is.”
So what Roseman and the organization did was combine the front end with the back end. In addition to Hargrave up front, they brought back Hassan Ridgeway.
Malik Jackson is also expected to provide the boos he was unable to last year after being signed as a free agent because he suffered a season-ending injury in the opener.
“Malik’s a guy who can crush the pocket from the outside as well, and work the edges inside, so he’s got some versatility,” said Roseman. “We’ve got BG (Brandon Graham) who’s done that as well, so it increases the versatility of our front.”