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.

There's another Embiid WWE 2K17 entrance and it includes Hinkie

There's another Embiid WWE 2K17 entrance and it includes Hinkie

He’s done it again.
 
Eleven days ago, Sixers social media went wild over a video that showed Joel Embiid walking out to the ring as a WWE character in WWE 2K17. Well, YouTube user Hillman811 is back with an even better version of the video complete with Sam Hinkie and fans chanting.
 
The first video sparked questions to Embiid about his favorite WWE wrestler, and he even did his own Triple H introduction at the Wells Fargo Center after The Game threw him an All-Star vote (see story).
 
Watch the video below and let your mind run wild with what this would look like if it actually happened.
 

Tommy Joseph focused on earning first base job, taking more walks

Tommy Joseph focused on earning first base job, taking more walks

There was no better story of personal triumph on the Phillies' roster than Tommy Joseph in 2016.

Dumped from the 40-man roster and passed over by 29 other teams on the waiver wire and in the Rule 5 draft in 2015, he reported to minor-league camp with his career on the line last spring.

Two months later, thanks to good health and a molten bat, Joseph's career began to spike upward.

But 4½ months in the big leagues and the promise of a starting job in the majors in 2017 hasn't changed Joseph's outlook or the mindset he will take into spring training camp next month.

He's still going to scrap and claw for everything, just like he did a year ago when he was fighting for his baseball life after a series of concussions put his career in jeopardy.

"I'm preparing the same way I did last winter," Joseph said during an offseason stop at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday.

"The job is not given to me. I still have to win it. I'm not going to walk in and have it. Obviously, it's mine to take and I plan on going in and winning the job."

Joseph, 25, earned a significant slice of the starting first base job last year. But with Ryan Howard, the last piece of the 2008 World Series team, gone, Joseph has a chance to stake an even greater claim to the position in 2017 and establish himself as a serious building block in the Phillies' rebuild.

"Tommy came out of nowhere last year," manager Pete Mackanin said. "There's something to be excited about there. He was off the map and he did enough to warrant a real strong look this year. And hopefully, he can improve and take baby steps toward being a final product."

Joseph pushed himself to the majors and cut into Howard's playing time last season by hitting .347 with six homers, 17 RBIs and a .981 OPS in 27 games at Triple A. He came to the majors in mid-May and hit .257 with 21 homers and 47 RBIs in 107 games. In the fall, Joseph briefly played winter ball in the Dominican Republic, but right wrist tendinitis, now fully healed, cut the stint short.

Joseph's good showing at the plate in 2016 was partly the result of his finding good health. As he recovered from a fifth concussion in the summer of 2015, it was discovered that he had a series of ocular problems. They were addressed through therapy and ... well, it's amazing what a hitter can do when he can see the ball.

This year, Joseph will look to improve in the field. The converted catcher is looking to add quickness around the first base bag and that starts with better footwork. At the urging of bench coach/infield instructor Larry Bowa, Joseph has been jumping rope and doing box drills all winter.

Joseph also wants to improve his approach and mindset at the plate. Though he wants to drive the ball like his size — 235 pounds — and position dictate, he wants to improve his on-base percentage and thus his OPS, on-base plus slugging percentage.

Joseph struck out 75 times and walked just 22 times in 347 plate appearances in 2016 and his on-base percentage was just .308. But over the final month of the season, he made an effort to be more selective at the plate and he recorded a .327 batting average and .406 on-base percentage (while slugging .618) over the final 23 games of the season. He struck out 10 times but walked seven over that span.

"My whole career has been a battle when it comes to walking," Joseph said. "I started to listen and read more what veterans around the league were saying about on-base percentage and OPS. Slugging is important on the corners, but there are times you have to take your walks. It's relevant because the best players in the game have a high OPS."

Joseph needs to improve in this area for a couple of reasons. First, the front office is intent on building a long-term lineup around players who control the strike zone, i.e., those who don't chase bad pitches. And second, the Phils have a legitimate run-producing first base prospect in Rhys Hoskins set to take his game to Triple A in 2017.

Joseph knows all of this and takes nothing for granted.

"The only difference this year will be I'm on the big-league side in spring training, but everything still has to be earned," he said.

The Phillies ranked last in the majors — or "last in the world," as Mackanin said — with just 610 runs scored in 2016. The offseason additions of Howie Kendrick and Michael Saunders should help run production. So, too, should expected improvements from Maikel Franco and Joseph, two players who have the chance to be long-term building blocks.

"We've got guys at the big-league level that I choose to think are going to get better," Mackanin said. "Tommy Joseph is a perfect example."