Howie Roseman and Chip Kelly on the same page
Eagles GM Howie Rosemans first draft with Chip Kelly as coach went smoothly, as Roseman tells it.
THEY SAY GREAT minds think alike, but in the NFL, at least, that's not always the case.
Take Bill Parcells and George Young.
Parcells, who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer, is one of the best coaches in NFL history.
Young, who should be in Canton, was one of the best judges of football flesh the game has known.
Young, who died in 2001, was the general manager of the Giants for 19 seasons (1979-97). Parcells worked for him as head coach for eight of those seasons (1983-90).
Parcells and Young made a good team. They won two Super Bowls together. They also spent a good deal of time fighting like cats and dogs about players.
Parcells always felt that, as the head coach, he should have considerable, if not absolute, say in selecting the players. "If they want you to cook the dinner, they need to let you buy the groceries," he was fond of saying.
And saying. And saying.
During the 1989 draft, Parcells and Young got into a heated war-room argument over an undersized running back from Towson State by the name of Dave Meggett. Young was planning to take Meggett in the fifth round.
Parcells, though, wanted no part of the kid.
When Young refused to budge, Parcells stormed out of the room, spewing four-letter words every step of the way.
Young turned out to be right about Meggett. The year after the Giants drafted him, he was the leading receiver on Parcells' and Young's second Super Bowl champion.
The first draft of Howie Roseman and Chip Kelly was nothing like that '89 slugfest. While there certainly were exchanges of opinions between the Eagles' general manager and head coach in the weeks and months leading up to the draft as they set up their board, they were in perfect sync during the seven-round selection process.
"The teamwork was unbelievable between the personnel staff and the coaching staff and the administrative staff," Roseman said. "It was a really great draft process. Now, we've got to go play some games."
Well, not quite yet, but soon.
This is Roseman's 13th year with the Eagles. Started with them right out of Fordham Law in 2000 as a salary-cap aide and staff counsel. Was elevated to director of football administration in '03. Started helping the personnel department evaluate players in '06, became vice president of player personnel in '09 and, finally, GM in '10.
Roseman worked under Andy Reid during his 2 years as GM, just as Tom Heckert did before him. He supplied Reid with scouting information and made recommendations. But Reid ultimately had the final say in personnel decisions.
They usually were on the same page, though, which is why I had a problem with the free pass owner Jeff Lurie gave Roseman on the abysmal 2010 and '11 drafts.
Now, the 37-year-old Roseman works alongside Kelly. According to the team's new power structure, each of them reports separately to Lurie. But as far as personnel decisions such as the draft and free agency are concerned, Roseman and Kelly are expected to work together and make joint decisions.
Given that four of the eight players the Eagles selected in this draft were Pac-12 products and that five of the eight had played against Kelly when he coached at Oregon, the Eagles' new coach obviously had considerable input into the scouting process. But he made it clear that he's not interested in buying the groceries.
"Coaches don't have time to do all the personnel work," he said. "It's just not humanly possible. We have games to prepare for during the season. We don't watch anybody play live. We don't watch how people react during things. We're basing a lot of it just on video. But we have a lot of [personnel] people who have seen them in person. So you have to take their insight. There are a lot of very smart people up there [in personnel] who have some really good insight, so it's the smart way to do it. I think everybody should listen to each other, and as a group, we come together for a decision."
Roseman grew up professionally under Andy Reid. He was just 25 when he went to work for the Eagles in Reid's second season in Philadelphia. It was an invaluable learning experience, one he wouldn't trade for anything. When Reid was fired on New Year's Eve after two disappointing, playoff-less seasons, things changed dramatically for Roseman, even if his title didn't. For the first time since he became GM, he found himself working without a net. He no longer can hide behind Reid's ample torso. The team's personnel successes will be his success. And the team's personnel failures will be his failures.
"I was really fortunate to be with coach Reid for so long and have that relationship with him," Roseman said. "You always wonder how it's going to be with the next guy. And really, from Day 1 [with Kelly], it's been easy. It's flowed easy.
"Our vision, our priorities, have been in line. Part of that's the interview process and going through the interview process and sitting down with someone and talking about the team and building the team.
"That's part of the reason it's been so easy. Because when we sat down that first time and talked about it, we were on the same page. That doesn't mean we don't see some things differently and have those discussions, but it's been really good."
A coach and GM have to work in tandem. The main job of a GM is not to simply supply a coach with the best talent. It's to supply him with kind of players he wants. Roseman's biggest task after Lurie hired Kelly was to find out what kind of players the new coach wanted.
"It was a gradual process," Roseman said. "It started from the first day he got here and we sat down and talked about his vision, offensively and defensively, and then he evaluated the team.
"During the interview process, he talked about having position specifics, which is not uncommon for coaches, obviously. When he got here, we sat down together and then, as a staff, talked about what we were looking for and what he was looking for and what we had, and then we made a template up and we gave it to all our scouts and all our coaches, and we said, 'This is what we're looking for at this position, and that's what we're going to try to get.' "
There are a lot of new faces at NovaCare. Not just on the coaching staff, but in the front office and the weight room and the training room and the video room and a lot of other places as well.
Too many new faces often can make for a difficult transition. But so far, the whole out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new thing has gone remarkably well.
"We had the same people here for a long time," Roseman said. "You think about a year ago and the people we had here and the [different] people we have here now, [the change] has been dramatic. At every level.
"I'd be disingenuous if I said I had been through it before and it's been business as usual. But that's what makes it so impressive about getting on the same page so quickly. That's not only with coach and me, but also the personnel staff.
"We have a new video department. We have a lot of new things in this building. It's exciting for the future of this football team."
Today on PhillyDailyNews.com: Everything you need to know about the Eagles' 2013 draft picks, plus a chance to try to match Domo's expertise in picking the Eagles' Week One starting lineup.
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