ORLANDO -- General manager Howie Roseman sat down with The Inquirer today at the NFL owners' meetings to discuss the Eagles' moves thus far this off-season and what lies ahead for the team with the draft a month away. Here's an excerpt from the interview:
CAN YOU SENSE THE FRUSTRATION FROM EAGLES FANS THAT NOT ENOUGH HAS BEEN DONE TO IMPROVE THE TEAM THUS FAR?
“During the off-season, every day I think something’s going to happen. I go into the office every day thinking that. But the process just isn’t that quick on anything. I think that at some point here in the next couple of weeks we’ll have some things going on.”
HOW IMPORTANT A ROLE WILL THE DRAFT BE IN FILLING YOUR HOLES?
“I think the draft is still the biggest influx of players that we’ll have. But we are talking consistently, evaluating rosters and opportunities. I wouldn’t close the door on any of that. In terms of drastic overhaul, I think that we still have a good core of players and those are the guys that we’re really counting on to take us a step forward and be better for next season. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have errors that we have to address.”
DO YOU AGREE WITH THE ASSESSMENT THAT THE DRAFT IS DEEP?
“I would. It would probably be easier for me to not call it so deep so the expectations aren’t so high. I think it’s good at certain positions. I think if you’re looking for other things it’s not as deep. I think that the quarterbacks in this draft aren’t as deep as in recent years from top to bottom.”
YOU HAVE EIGHT PICKS NOW. DOES THAT ALLOW FOR MORE MANEUVERABLITY ON DRAFT DAY?
“It was nice to get two extra picks yesterday and hopefully we can add to that in the coming weeks. ... I think that you like to have as much ammunition on draft day as possible. Plus it will increase your odds of getting more good players on your team and also to be in position to target someone and moved up in the draft.”
WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN AT CENTER?
“I think Jamaal [Jackson] is doing a great job in trying to get back. We have Nick [Cole], who has some experience. He was thrust into that position there in Dallas. I think he did a good job and I think he can continue to do better. We also have Mike McGlynn, who does a really solid job. We drafted him. We have hopes for him.”
IS IT SAFE TO SAY THAT YOU'LL ADD ANOTHER PIECE TO THE OFFENSIVE LINE?
“Like any other position that doesn’t mean that we won’t look at all options available to us. We probably feel a little less bare than maybe the outside perception is.”
ARE YOU SATISIFED WITH YOUR LINEUP AT LINEBACKER?
“Getting Stew [Bradley] back is like getting another draft pick. Obviously we rely on Stew a lot as our middle linebacker. Akeem [Jordan] was banged up towards the end of the year, but at the beginning part of the year I think a lot of people were talking about how well Akeem was playing. Getting both those guys back healthy, ready to go next year – that’s really exciting for us.”
WHAT IF MARLIN JACKSON ISN'T THE ANSWER AT FREE SAFETY?
“We signed Marlin because we saw a lot of things on tape that made us excited, not only about his play at safety, but even also he can play some nickel, he can play in the slot. And you add that to Macho [Harris] with another year of getting bigger and stronger. Macho came in as a rookie at a position that he really hadn’t had a lot of experience at. We believe in that big jump between your first year and your second year. Macho’s been working out. At this point last year, a lot of people were excited about Quintin Demps. He should as a rookie how good he was on special teams. I think he’s going to come in with a chip on his shoulder, as well.”
HAS THERE BEEN ANY MOVEMENT IN TERMS OF A CONTRACT EXTENSION FOR DESEAN JACKSON?
“DeSean is a player that we’re all excited to have. We have a great relationship with DeSean and obviously there’s not a lot of value in talking about contracts publicly through the media.”
ARE YOU CONTENT WITH THE ROSTER AS IS?
“We’re excited about our team. We got a lot of young, hungry football players on our team. But we will add to it. We don’t have to play right now. We got another month here before the draft and then we have the draft. Right now we have eight picks, including five in the first four rounds and when you look at it those are the guys that can impact your team in the first year.”
Check tomorrow's newspaper for more on Roseman and the Eagles.