Once again Jeffrey Lurie failed to clearly define Howie Roseman's role and whether he would lead the Eagles' personnel department, but the owner did leave open the possibility that a new "player personnel head" would have more clout than the executive vice president of football operations.
Don't bet on that happening.
Why would any candidate with muscle want to join a franchise that already has selected the next head coach? Lurie already established that Roseman was part of the three-man committee - he and team president Don Smolenski were the others - that chose Doug Pederson.
Maybe there was a mystery general manager-to-be (Ron Jaworski?) behind the scenes pulling strings, but the Pederson selection had Lurie's and Roseman's fingerprints all over it. They were clearly looking for someone from Andy Reid's coaching tree or someone who had his traits. Pederson hadn't even interviewed for any of the other six head coaching openings.
The Eagles needed to find someone willing to work with Roseman, whose infallibility in Lurie's eyes - which has seemingly left a collection of executives and coaches in his wake - would ward off the most attractive coaches.
So it was the inexperienced Pederson, who may or may not turn out to be the next coming of Paul Brown. But the Eagles were already dealing with a short deck because Lurie didn't clean house after he fired Chip Kelly, and the same applies to finding the yet-unnamed "player personnel head."
"Given that search and given the competitive nature of that search, what I'd like to do is really talk to you more about structure and the exact nature of those once the search is over, because I don't want to sort of telegraph anything we're doing," Lurie said Tuesday during Pederson's introductory news conference.
To be fair, announcing that Roseman has final say over personnel - the draft, free agency, etc. - would limit the field. And maybe Lurie really wants to offer someone final say. But by keeping Roseman after demoting him just a year ago - a move unprecedented in the annals of the NFL - and allowing him to pick the coach, the owner said otherwise.
Lurie continued to use the buzzword "collaboration" in all its forms when asked how personnel decisions would be made. He raised his hand when asked who would break ties, but that's not how it works when the clock is ticking and the Eagles have to make a draft pick.
"It doesn't quite ever work out that way, it's very collaborative," Lurie said to the contrary. "But trust me, as soon as we finish this search, accountability will be 100 percent."
After Lurie fired Kelly, he said the reason he gave the coach full control was to hold him accountable. Reid's feet were held to the same fire when he was here. Hopefully, Lurie finally holds Roseman to the same standard, because it hasn't appeared that way after his six dubious years as GM.
For the first time in more than a year, Roseman spoke publicly, but he didn't directly address his falling out with Kelly, Tom Gamble's abrupt firing last January, or his role moving forward. He did, however, say that he used the last year to reflect on what he did wrong and how he could improve.
"I didn't just put my head in the sand and just say everybody was wrong," Roseman said. "I felt like I had to look into myself and figure out a way to make people know that I cared about them and make time for relationships."
It almost sounded as if Roseman spent the last year on Oprah's couch. And did Lurie have to pay him $1.6 million to be a better coworker, boss, husband, and father? What about becoming a better evaluator? His record is questionable at best.
He copped to drafting Marcus Smith, as Kelly noted last March. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough time to ask him about Danny Watkins, Nnamdi Asomugha, and various other decisions that have helped keep the Eagles from winning a playoff game in seven seasons.
"I'll take responsibility for everything that happened when I was the general manager here," Roseman said.
It wasn't all bad, of course. Fletcher Cox didn't end up on the roster by chance. But ever since Roseman moved to the football side of operations in 2007, the front office has had little stability. Jason Licht, Tom Heckert, Lou Riddick, Joe Banner, Reid, Ryan Grigson, Gamble, Ed Marynowitz, and Kelly are all gone. Only Roseman remains.
Unless Roseman has changed, why would anyone on the GM track (like the Chiefs' Chris Ballard) want to place his neck into that possible guillotine? There may be former GMs like Mark Dominik, Chris Polian, or Jeff Ireland who are interested, but only Dominik is currently out of the league.
More than likely, the Eagles will have to settle for a Marynowitz-type - someone unproven who would have to work under Roseman.
Collaboration is important, naturally, but even the most simpatico GM and coach will have disagreements over the abundant number of decisions that have to be made over the course of a year. Pederson has never held a position of authority, especially as an evaluator. Won't he have to defer to Roseman?
"I haven't worked with him personally in this role. We think a lot alike," Pederson said. "And like we were talking about earlier, it's a collaborative effort. We're all going to be in this thing together. We're all going to make decisions together."
Kelly, as socially awkward as coaches come, never played ball so nice. That's one reason he's out. But was it primarily because he wouldn't share toys with Roseman? There seemed to be two sets of rules in Lurie's playpen.
"Accountability will be the No. 1 feature, and that goes for everybody," Lurie said. "It goes for Howie, it goes for the player personnel head, and it goes for the head coach. My No. 1 priority going into this offseason is accountability."
That remains to be seen.