Everybody else is allowed to rip Chip Kelly for the long-term damage he did to the Eagles’ roster.
Why not Howie Roseman too?
Roseman took a few thinly-veiled shots at Kelly during his press briefing on Wednesday morning at the NovaCare Complex:
• His reference to the team’s lack of a second-round pick in last year’s draft — Kelly shipped it to the Rams in 2015 along with Nick Foles;
• Without prompting, he connected the Eagles' lack of offensive firepower this past year to Kelly's decisions to release DeSean Jackson, trade LeSean McCoy and fail to re-sign Jeremy Maclin;
• Roseman spoke several times about the team’s lack of salary cap space going into this offseason, which is at least in part a product of Kelly’s one year running the personnel department;
• And he criticized Kelly’s handling of the quarterback position, which left the Eagles without any quarterbacks under contract following last year.
Asked specifically how difficult it’s been for him to undo some of Kelly’s ill-advised moves, here’s how Roseman responded:
“You know, I think you're just dealing with the reality of the situation. I could say sitting up here last year, it was challenging. It was a challenging situation and it starts with the quarterback position. We didn't have a starting quarterback under contract. [Sam Bradford] was a free agent. We were picking 13th with no two (second-round pick).
“And we sat down and we said if we can come out of this offseason, and sit here next season at this time and feel like we had a permanent answer at that position, we're going in the right direction.”
Howie declined to speak specifically about Maclin, Jackson and McCoy, since all are currently under contract with other teams and that could be construed as tampering.
But he certainly indirectly discussed them.
From 2008 through 2014, the seven-year span in which at least one of Jackson, Maclin and McCoy were here, the Eagles led the NFL with 77 plays of 20 yards or more per year — 41 more than the second-place Saints.
This year, they had 46 — third-fewest in the NFL and just two more than the last-place Texans and Broncos.
Of course, it was Kelly that drafted Nelson Agholor, who became the poster boy for Eagles wide receiving ineptitude.
It’s also important to note that Jackson, Maclin and McCoy were all drafted here before Roseman became general manager in 2010.
“It seems like a long time ago we were leading the National Football League in 20-[yard]-plus plays, and I don't have a DeLorean time machine to go back in time and get some of those guys back,” Roseman said.
“We have a young group. We have a young room. They need to continue to grow, and it's one of the things, among others, that we need to look at.”
After the 2014 season, Eagles owner Jeff Lurie exiled Roseman and gave Kelly full control of personnel. A year later, while firing Kelly, he restored Roseman to power and gave him the title vice president of football operations.
Roseman’s digs at Kelly were not very subtle. Roseman has always prided himself on being a salary cap guru, but Kelly’s one year as general manager left the Eagles with very little cap room today.
“It’s a unique situation for us as an organization,” Roseman said. “It’s unusual certainly since I’ve been here to have a more challenging situation.”
And this more general comment about the state that Kelly left the franchise in: “We didn't have the same amount of resources that we are used to. We didn't have a second-round pick. We had a lot of guys becoming free agents over a two-year period of time.”
He also gloated about how he recognized the Eagles’ need to find a franchise quarterback after Kelly traded Nick Foles and left the most important position on the roster essentially vacant.
“I was very vocal internally about the need to have a long-term answer at that position,” Roseman said (see story). “And felt like it was the most important thing we could possibly do.”
Roseman’s digs are interesting and make for good offseason chatter. But all that really matters is that he gets the Eagles back on track in Year 2 of his return to power.
Or else the next general manager will be the one at a press conference a year from now taking thinly-veiled shots at Roseman.