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Howie likes what he sees and hears from the Eagles

Eagles general manager says Chip Kelly's loud, energized practices are what he expected.

Entering free agency as a rebuilding franchise, Howie Roseman and the Eagles can ill afford to direct too much money and too much hope on one or two veterans. (Michael Perez/AP file photo)
Entering free agency as a rebuilding franchise, Howie Roseman and the Eagles can ill afford to direct too much money and too much hope on one or two veterans. (Michael Perez/AP file photo)Read more

THE MUSIC Howie Roseman was happiest to hear from the Eagles' practice field this spring wasn't Nicki Minaj, Lupe Fiasco or even the Lumineers. It was the sound of Eagles players trumpeting their excitement over new coach Chip Kelly's changes.

Roseman, who spoke to reporters yesterday at Lincoln Financial Field after participating in a Rothman Institute panel discussion of "The Impact of Sports," was asked if Kelly's loud, frenetic practices were as big an adjustment for him as they were for reporters, accustomed to the more staid style of 14-year coach Andy Reid.

"It was consistent with what you saw at the University of Oregon when you went there," Roseman said. "I had the opportunity to go up there a bunch of times and see how they practice . . . For me personally, it's kind of what I expected. It's a lot of energy.

"The most important thing we have is buy-in from our players. When you see how hard they're working, how hard they're training, I think that's the reason for optimism, that they're buying in."

Kelly, the guy with the individualized smoothies, the hand-signal offense and zero NFL coaching experience, is quite a switch. This was something Roseman wondered about, he acknowledged: "Not necessarily [accepting] Chip, but being with Andy for so long . . . Never having someone different, it was just an unknown, for me personally and for some of our players . . . I think the players are really getting into the pace on both sides of the ball."

Roseman said one of the toughest parts of the coaching change is realizing players he acquired for Reid sometimes don't fit what Kelly wants to do.

"You think certain players are good fits, but until you see them in action, it's hard to exactly know," Roseman said. "One of the things that's hard for us, and you've seen it some in this offseason, is that we've had players that were good players in a different scheme, and that we've invested in, and it's not going to turn over.

"When you talk to people around the league, they'll tell you there are going to be good players who fall by the wayside. That's hard for the general manager, because you know it's a good player, and you know in a different scheme he's going to be a different player, but at the same time, it's not a good fit for you."

Roseman said that process of reevaluation will not necessarily keep the Eagles from, say, signing wideout Jeremy Maclin to an extension before, or during, the season.

"If there's a guy that we think is going to be a part of our future, we're going to talk to him," Roseman said.

The Eagles parted with defensive tackles Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson this offseason, two guys the organization liked who now play for the Giants. Other such decisions could be on the horizon, as we watch Trent Cole and Brandon Graham trying to learn to drop into coverage, and Clay Harbor look for other ways to get on the field after being buried on the tight end depth chart by James Casey and Zach Ertz.

Other Howie highlights:

* A flat salary cap means the Eagles must keep room and move it into the next year, to create room to sign free agents, etc., as they did in 2012.

"If we don't move any money ahead, we're in the hole. Obviously, we don't know everything about who's going to be on our team, what we're going to need it for. If there was an opportunity to add somebody [now] that was going to be part of our core group, we would do that," Roseman said.

* Roseman said he likes Kelly's emphasis on versatility, particularly the experiment with Jason Avant taking some reps in the defensive backfield.

"From our perspective, that's exciting . . . When you have 46 men on the [game-day] roster and somebody goes down, you're in trouble a lot of times. It's hard to find nickel corners, it's hard to find a guy who can play outside linebacker, play on special teams.

"You've got a guy in Jason Avant who's got an incredible feel for the position, is certainly physical and tough, you see that when he plays special teams. It's just exciting."

* The NFL moving the draft to mid-May is something the Eagles will just have to adjust to, Roseman said. He noted that if this were next year, the Birds would be coming off the draft this week.

"It's a difference for us and how we prepare. At the same time, whatever works for the league, we're in favor of and we'll support," he said.

* Roseman talked for the first time about the acquisition of former Cowboys first-round running back Felix Jones, whom the Eagles also valued highly in the run-up to the 2008 draft.

"Nagging injuries in his career. Everytime he started to get going, something kind of brought him back," Roseman said, when asked why Jones hasn't become the star he was projected to be. "I know as an opponent, playing the Dallas Cowboys, you were worried about Felix Jones. We're hoping that's a guy that can come here and get a chance and become that player."

* Roseman said acquiring Jones and undrafted rookie Matthew Tucker from Tulsa after the Eagles signed undrafted rookie Miguel Maysonet from Stony Brook changed the running back situation and made it less likely Maysonet would make the squad. He said that was why Maysonet was released after only having 3 days of rookie camp.

* It was interesting to see Roseman sharing the Rothman event stage with Phils general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., along with Comcast-Spectacor president Peter Luukko and Sixers CEO Adam Aron. The Phillies and Eagles organizations were bitter enemies during the tenure of former Eagles president Joe Banner. Roseman seemed to go out of his way to emphasize the ties between the teams.

Today on Eagles playing running back roulette.