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.

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.

Taking in return, Ryan White moves on but will always remember Flyers

Taking in return, Ryan White moves on but will always remember Flyers

Ryan White was whisking by to the visiting locker room when he had to stop.
With huge delight, the long-haired forward hugged a Flyers employee in bright orange athletic gear standing outside the laundry room. 
The two exchanged hellos and good wishes before White’s path was impeded again.
None of this was a nuisance. This is what he loved.
“That’s probably the biggest thing I miss here in Philly is the people around the rink are great,” White said late Thursday night inside the Wells Fargo Center. “The guys from the locker room attendants to the security guys to people taking care of my girlfriend and stuff like that. It’s a special place to play and I always felt like I was welcomed here.”
White had just scored his first goal of the 2016-17 season. All offseason, he hoped and planned for the occasion to be in a Flyers sweater. He talked about his endearment for the organization trumping the worth of money elsewhere.
But on Thursday night, he was wearing an Arizona Coyote uniform and, what he called, “putting the final nail in the coffin” of a 5-4 loss for the Flyers.
“It feels good scoring here,” he said.
Not at all how he pictured it.
Playing fourth-line minutes (8:09), White somehow snuck a shot past Steve Mason from a nasty side angle with 4:19 remaining in regulation, making it 5-3 and virtually snuffing another Flyers comeback bid.
“Any time you’re coming back playing your old club, you want to make sure you get a win. … I loved playing as a Flyer, it was a lot of fun playing here,” White said. “Guys over there are a great group of guys, good coaching staff, good people in the organization. It’s just a special place to play.”
It’s where White wanted to be but he holds no ill will towards general manager Ron Hextall and the Flyers. Hextall liked and expressed interest in re-signing White, a role-playing fourth-liner, but went out and inked free-agent right winger Dale Weise (four-year, $9.4 million deal), more of a third-line player with similar attributes.
That signaled White’s end with the Flyers after two seasons.
“I think I’d be crazy if I didn’t want to come back here, it just didn’t work out,” White said. “I’m just happy I’ve gotten a chance to play in Phoenix and it’s been pretty good so far.”
White on Wednesday night caught up with former Flyers teammates Radko Gudas and Michal Neuvirth. While with the Flyers, he lived in the same building as the two. They all had dinner and White got to visit Gudas’ baby daughter.
On the ice, White, gritty and physical-minded, made his presence felt. He was penalized in the second period for charging Nick Cousins. He was also called for a delay of game penalty in the final two minutes for closing his hand on the puck. The Flyers scored on the power play, ironically turning White’s goal into the gamer-winner.
“He told me he just wanted the winning goal,” Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett said with a laugh. “So that’s all that counts.”
White enjoyed the rough-and-tough nature against his old friends. 
“All those guys play hard, they know how the game goes,” he said. “I had a little conversation with Gudy last night at dinner and he said, ‘You’re going to be running around out there.’ I figured it would be no other way. You’ve got to expect that coming from those guys, they’re a hard group over there.
“Those guys know how I play and they all play the same way, too, so it was fun.”
He also appreciated seeing the Flyers Heritage Night pregame ceremony honoring the organization’s legends, led by late founder Ed Snider. White kept tabs on the Flyers’ home opener last week when a banner commemorating Snider was raised to the rafters.
“I even heard about the first game coming back, it was pretty emotional in here,” he said. “It was a pretty special time playing here with Mr. Snider around. I think he’ll obviously be forever missed and like I said, it was just special to be a part of it.”
White wasn’t sure what to expect in his return. In the end, he wasn’t surprised.
“It’s funny, I thought maybe coming back here, it would be a little bit different,” White said. “But they’re a pretty welcoming group and it’s nice to be here.”
Even if it’s just for one game.

Rod Brind'Amour relishes night with Eric Lindros, Flyers alumni

Rod Brind'Amour relishes night with Eric Lindros, Flyers alumni

When he was introduced at center ice Thursday night, Rod Brind’Amour, who epitomizes what it meant to be a Flyer perhaps like no other player in franchise history, acknowledged the crowd.
And then the current Carolina assistant coach walked over to former teammate Eric Lindros and hugged him.
There were indeed some awkward moments for the two back in the 1990s, but they remain Flyers forever and this was Heritage Night for the organization’s Hall of Famers in celebration of their 50th Anniversary.
“You know I haven’t seen him in forever, and it was just fun and when we got out there we just said, ‘nice to be back on the ice again’, it’s been a long time and I haven’t seen him,” Brind’Amour explained of the gesture toward Lindros. 
“I saw Johnny [LeClair] last year but it was just nice to catch up with these guys and relive some stories, we had a lot of great times so it was nice to see him.”
How ironic that Brind’Amour would get traded to Carolina for a larger centerman in Keith Primeau and eventually after the pain of separation from the Flyers womb had healed, he won a Cup with the Hurricanes.
Ask Roddy and he’ll tell you that Cup should have been won in Philly. He began the season as a member of the 1999-00 team that blew a 3-1 lead to the Devils in the Eastern Conference finals, but was traded at the mid-point.
To this very day, it ranks all-time as the most controversial trade the Flyers ever made. As if the very soul of the organization had been purged.
“Well I mean that’s the way it goes, right?” Brind’Amour said. “We had a great team. We had a great team back then, but trades happen and they were trying to make the team better. Maybe it did, maybe it didn’t, but had we stayed together who knows what could have happened.
“I’m just fortunate that I got that Cup because obviously, that is what I played for my whole life. Would it have been great to have it here? Yes, I mean that would have been something special, but that’s life. It doesn’t always work out the way you want it to.
“It was just unfortunate we didn’t win because we were one of the best teams in the league there for a long time and things just didn’t work out. It’s hard to win a Stanley Cup, let me tell you.”
He admitted there’s an orange ‘n black spot in his heart that will forever belong to the Flyers. That’s why he interrupted his own season in Carolina to return here for one night of memories.
He also said how much it meant to him last spring when club chairman Ed Snider reached out to him shortly before his death.
“I got a great phone call before Mr. Snider passed and him telling me what he thought I meant to this team,” Brind’Amour said. 
“It meant a lot. So I really feel connected to the Flyers' organization again and I’ll take any chance I can to get back here and be a part of it.
“It has meant a lot to me to be back here and be in the fold. I love the alumni … so, any chance to get to reconnect with these guys means the world to me.”
Which is pretty much how Flyers fans felt about him, too.