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.

Nerlens Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

Nerlens Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

NEW ORLEANS — Nerlens Noel made another step toward his return from arthroscopic left knee surgery by joining the Sixers in New Orleans for their game against the Pelicans.

Noel arrived on Wednesday with Robert Covington, who is slated to start after missing the last three games with a left knee sprain. Noel is not cleared to play, but Brown doesn’t think it will be long until he suits up. 

“I don’t think far away,” Brown said of Noel’s regular season debut after shootaround.

When asked about the possibility of Noel playing this weekend when the Sixers face the Pistons on Sunday in Detroit, Brown replied, “Maybe.” 

Noel has missed the entire regular season recovering from elective surgery for an inflamed plica in October. He completed the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Ala. and has been continuing his work with the Sixers. This trip to New Orleans is the first time he has been with the Sixers on the road. 

“[He is] integrating with the team, studying a lot of tape, scripting with his teammates with the understanding that we have a chance to see him soon,” Brown said. “All that trying to ramp it up where he can go to an NBA court more comfortably.”

Noel spoke out about his displeasure with the Sixers crowded frontcourt at the start of the preseason. He recently stuck with his stance, saying, “I don’t think the roster’s changed.”

Brown is working to keep the team moving forward as a unit while still being aware of and recognizing Noel’s perspective. 

“It does,” Brown said when asked if Noel’s open frustration concerns him as it pertains to team cohesiveness. “But I feel like it’s so much a part of what we try do around here that it’s not like you’re going to blink and you’ve forgotten something that equals camaraderie, that equals team, that equals trying to keep this together, and you’ve left it for a week … 

“It’s a day-to-day focus for me and it’s a very candid conversation with me and the player. The team hears it, the individual hears it, we all understand it … We need to coexist and we need to understand the reality of it all, too. There’s a human side you understand. It’s also pride, it’s competitiveness, it’s do your job, it’s nothing is given, you’ve got to take stuff, draw your own line in the sand, competitors rule the day.”

Last season Noel averaged 11.1 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds per game. The Sixers will look forward to having him back on the court in that once-crowded frontcourt that is now shorthanded. Jahlil Okafor remained in Philadelphia with gastroenteritis. Ben Simmons still is rehabbing from a right foot fracture. 

"Soon you’re going to see Ben Simmons coming to a team bench where he doesn’t come out with boots and have to push him in some type of wheely apparatus," Brown said. "We’ve dealt with so many injuries trying to find that balance of dealing with their health and so on, and then trying to integrate them back into a team is part of growing a program."