RETURNING GM Howie Roseman reclaimed his throne in grand fashion. He ridded the team of a number of players added by the former head coach. He also took the Eagles from the 13th spot in the draft to the 8th and then to the 2nd. On paper that second part looks damned impressive until you look at what he had to give up to get there.
The part that keeps eating at me as I replay his Q&A explanation for this trade over and over in my head, is not WHAT he had to give up, it’s WHY he felt compelled to do so. He mentioned that the team’s Draft position is rarely in the top ten. So when he managed to get from 13th to 8th, the organization felt that getting to 2nd was a must. They were concerned with how rarely they get this opportunity.
Therein lies the rub. The reason for not being in the top ten is generally because your record was too good the prior season. The Eagles simply aren’t bad enough, often enough, to need serious help. Or so the thinking goes. So the franchise operates with a sort of “Time to re-stock the shelves” mentality.
Under Owner Jeff Lurie there haven’t been many years where (like the Browns do) we have to take a hard look in the mirror, scrap everything and change the entire formula. Even after we went 4-12 under Andy Reid, we hired a new coach and went 10-6 the following season. We didn’t fire our “Dream Team” GM. Even the prior season’s starting QB Michael Vick didn’t change. We went 4-12 and said there was no need for a rebuild. And though I’ve been saying we’ve needed one since 2009, the Eagles going 10-6 the next year, made most people think a rebuild wasn’t needed. The following two seasons however, have increased the number of people who agree with my 2013 assessment.
It begs the question, are the Eagles victims of their own success? Roseman said in the same Q&A session “for us we want to get into a position where in the near future we have an opportunity to compete every year”. An opportunity to compete every year is what Lurie said he wanted his team to have back in 1994. And we’ve been VERY competitive since then. But we have at no point been stripped down and reformatted with the singular focus of winning it all. We’ve been trapped in this Twilight Zone of “good not great” for two decades now.
You can’t debate that picking QB Donovan McNabb #2 overall in 1999, led to the most successful stretch in this franchise’s 83 year history. That’s fact. So it’s no wonder that Lurie thinks that he can duplicate that swell of success, by picking another QB #2 overall. Also like 1999 there is a Head Coach in Doug Pederson who has experience in developing QB’s. In fact, Pederson was the QB who as a player mentored rookie McNabb in 1999! It’s practically kismet.
The “Competitive” model produced the greatest Head Coach (Reid) and the greatest QB (McNabb) in franchise history. However we’re now repeating a model that has also only produced 1 Super Bowl appearance in 22 years (since Lurie made the ‘competitive’ statement.) And the spot on the shelf where that Lombardi trophy should be, now has a pile of dust on it as tall as the trophy itself.
I’m hoping that after Doc Brown selects our QB, that the Front Office has some new tricks up their sleeves for this go ’round. This is Andy and Donovan 2.0 and we’ve already seen how version 1.0 ended. This time around “good enough” cannot be good enough.