While most of the attention during Jeffrey Lurie's press conference centered around whether Andy Reid would return for a 14th season -- and he will, the Eagles owner said -- there was some uncertainty about the status of general manager Howie Roseman after the Eagles finished the season 8-8.
Lurie, though, made it clear that Roseman would return when he said the 36-year-old would "absolutely" be back for a third season.
“He’s one of the brightest young guys in the league," Lurie said in the hallway of the NovaCare Complex after he announced Reid's return.
It's difficult to evaluate Roseman from the outside, not only because the Eagles are so tight-lipped, but because Reid has final say in personnel decisions, as Lurie reiterated today. But Lurie praised Roseman for his evaluations of free agent-signings like defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, defensive end Jason Babin, cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and guard Evan Mathis.
"These are great moves," Lurie said. "Very excited about both what [Roseman] brings to it, and he’ll only get better, too."
The Eagles had a number of free agents busts, though, with wide receiver Steve Smith, running back Ronnie Brown and quarterback Vince Young.
Of further question is Roseman's ownership in the last two drafts. He is ultimately responsible for making most of the evaluations of college prospects and for setting up the draft board, but Lurie said again that Reid is the ultimate decider on draft day.
Either way, the Eagles' draft record over the last several years -- especially on the defensive side of the ball -- has been dubious.
"The analysis is complicated," Lurie said. "We’ve had a pretty good defense and we’ve had a lot of veteran players we’ve brought in who’ve been very successful who’ve probably over-played the draft choices. If you look back just two years on defense, I know Andy and his team is very excited about [2010 top draft pick] Brandon Graham having a healthy offseason and should be a top-tier pass rusher."
Graham tore his knee up last December and hardly played during his second season.
"We brought in a top-tier pass rusher [Babin] because we didn’t necessarily think Brandon was going to be healthy this year," Lurie said. "In today’s NFL, it’s a combination of draft, free agency, whatever. Every aspect has to be analyzed by everyone in terms of internally. It’s putting the pieces together.”