How Stuff Works: Eagles Front Office

How Stuff Works: Eagles Front Office

It never ceases to amaze me that people think the Eagles front office is such a mystery.

The idea that Andy Reid has lost some of his power, as Sam Farmer from the LA Times reported on Friday, does not seem to be supported by the team's moves over the past few seasons, which Bleeding Green Nation and Iggles Blitz already detailed quite capably. In fact, Les Bowen suggests if any power struggle does exist, it might be Reid aiming to eventually consume Joe Banner's position.

Responsibilities overlap in any job. Banner is the team president, Reid is head of personnel, and Howie Roseman is the general manager. They work together in various capacities to put the team together, but even to an outsider, there appears to be a definite distinction in each man's role.

President
It's amusing to think Banner needs to wrestle power away from Reid. He is at the top of the food chain, Jeffrey Lurie's closest confidant. If he didn't believe in Reid's decision making, the head coach probably wouldn't be returning for a 14th season.

Also, Banner isn't a personnel guy, he's an executive. If you read his bio on the team's web site, most of the accomplishments are of the off-field variety -- the construction of Lincoln Financial Field and the NovaCare Complex, or implementation of public welfare programs such as the Eagles Youth Partnership and Eagles Tackle Breast Cancer.

He takes credit for putting football people like Reid in place too, which was the catalyst for turning the franchise into a perennial contender. However, his biggest contribution to personnel now is managing the salary cap, and negotiating player contracts -- and lately it seems he's ceded the latter business to Howie.

Executive VP of Football Operations
Fancy way of saying "final say on personnel matters." Reid ultimately determines who will comprise the 53-man roster, and the Eagles pursue the players that fit the head coach's plan.

The only apparent limit to this function is making whatever moves work within the budget. For instance, Reid might be interested in acquiring Mike Wallace, but Banner could tell him they can't because the financials don't work out. This is simply a matter of oversight. Top notch salary cap management is what provides the front office with flexibility to be aggressive in free agency, and extend their own players. It's not an issue of Banner choosing the players, only who they can afford, and for how much.

General Manager
None of which is meant to minimize Roseman's influence on the process. While Reid's philosophy is always guiding personnel decisions, the general manager is the one pulling the levers. Roseman negotiates player contracts, and the terms in trades. He also heads up the scouting department, and "runs" the draft.

What does that mean? While Reid is busy busting his ass coaching the Eagles to underwhelming 8-8 seasons, Roseman is evaluating collegiate players, beginning to assemble the draft board. Once the season is mercifully over, Reid is able to hit the ground running thanks to Roseman, and together they decide who to target on draft day. Roseman trades up and down the board accordingly, as the Birds select as many of their guys as they can.

The "together" part might be confusing. Andy undoubtedly will watch some film, and his opinion may differ from Howie's on certain players, but he trusts the staff has done their homework. Reid's biggest influence is in what gets prioritized. Do the Eagles need a play-making linebacker in the first round, or a quarterback of the future? In the later rounds, where could they use depth, or find a roster spot for a project?

Banner, Reid, and Roseman are working hand-in-hand, all the way. Nobody disputes the three must have their share of disagreements behind closed doors, but everybody is lobbying in the best interests of the Philadelphia Eagles. If there are any secret agendas or hidden resentments, I would imagine those guys handle it the same way as most working Americans -- privately.

Up from 217 to 250, Ben Simmons also stronger mentally from work with LeBron

Up from 217 to 250, Ben Simmons also stronger mentally from work with LeBron

CAMDEN, N.J. — It appears Ben Simmons took the saying about having the weight of the world on your shoulders a tad literal.

The Sixers' No. 1 overall pick walked into the team's sparkling new training complex for media day sporting a much bigger frame than when his name was called on draft night.

"I'm a lot stronger. When I started getting ready for the draft I was about 217 [pounds] and now I'm around 250," Simmons said Monday.

When you're expected to be the centerpiece of an organization that managed just 10 wins a season ago, it helps to have that extra bulk to carry those expectations. 

But Simmons isn’t just being looked at as a key to help change the franchise’s fortunes. He’s also being viewed as perhaps a once-in-a-generation talent after drawing several comparisons to LeBron James, who Simmons shares an agent with in Klutch Sports Group.

So how did the incoming rookie deal with being likened to four-time MVP and three-time NBA champion James? He went to work like someone trying to achieve those same goals.

“Just being around him and learning from his habits and what he does has just helped me overall,” Simmons said of working out with James and other NBA stars during the summer. “He’ll be one of the first guys in the gym every day. It doesn’t matter what day it is. He’s one of those guys who gets the work in and enjoys the rest of his day. Just learning from him I think I can take a lot from what he’s done. ... He’s done a lot for me. He’s helped me experience things I need to learn.

“They get in the gym and work. It’s one of those things where they don’t play around. They get straight to it. Obviously in the weight room too. LeBron loves the VersaClimber and they also brought two more in here. I’m starting to learn from what these guys do, D-Wade (Dwyane Wade) also. They’re all doing the same thing, working out every day and getting ready.”

That type of work ethic will go a long way toward Simmons' earning the respect of his Sixers teammates. The group was already eager to get on the floor with him for training camp at Stockton University and get a firsthand look at the versatile forward, especially his prowess as a passer.

“The most exciting thing that I’ve seen was his passing ability,” Jahlil Okafor said of Simmons. “That’s going to help me out a lot. He’s selfless. Being with the summer league guys he was always about the team. I’ve always considered myself a good teammate and he’s a great one as well. I’m excited to work with him.”

“I think for anybody who likes to shoot or likes to score, whenever you can have a big man who is a really good ball handler, can make good decisions, has great vision, it’s always a great thing,” Gerald Henderson said. “If you can be aggressive on the offensive end you don’t always have to have the basketball to be able to be right there and score. You have somebody that can find you and really is thinking pass-first. I think it’ll be great, not only for us but just our offense in general.”

Considering that the Sixers finished 29th in scoring a season ago, Simmons knows they will need him to be more than just a facilitator. The team needs consistent scoring from everyone on the court. And while the LSU product’s jump shot was questioned during his lone year in college, he believes he has worked hard to silence those doubts.

“I usually try to take what they give me. Obviously I’ve been working on my shot a lot with all the coaches,” Simmons said. “I can shoot the ball. I’m not really worried about that. Coming into training camp, it’s one of the things I’ve been working on since LSU.”

Simmons made it clear several times that he is confident in his offensive game and that the Sixers’ logjam in the frontcourt will work itself out on the floor. One thing he’s not so sure about: that he’s even in this position.

Despite dreaming about being in the NBA since he was a kid in Australia and being groomed to be the No. 1 overall pick for years, Simmons said it’s still a bit of a surprise to be at this point.

“I think it’s still surreal for me,” he said. “I think it’ll finally hit me once I step on the court matched up against OKC the first game.”

There were Carson Wentz and Ben Simmons fans at the debate last night

There were Carson Wentz and Ben Simmons fans at the debate last night

I'm not sure if they could win nationally, but there is absolutely no doubt that a Wentz-Simmons ticket would dominate the Delaware Valley.

An intrepid Philadelphia sports fan was up at the Presidential Debate last night at Hofstra University and made a sign showing his support... for the Eagles and Sixers.

I don't know though, I'm pretty sure Simmons was born in Australia.