Eagles GM Howie Roseman, VP of Player Personnel Andy Weidl, and HC Doug Pederson Quotes 4/25/20
COURTESY OF PHILADELPHIA EAGLES MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Really proud of our staff. I feel like today was a difference-making day for our organization, for our football team. It’s a great credit to the collaboration of our coaches, of our personnel staff, of our front office staff.
I really felt like it all came together today to show the vision of what we want our football team to look like during the 2020 season. Really excited about what we did over the last three days. I know a lot of the attention gets thrown on Thursday and Friday night, but for all of us, today is the most important night. Today is the most important opportunity to add the most players that we have through the course of the season, through the course of the year, and I really feel like we added a lot of good players, a lot of Eagles mentality, to our football team.
We had an opportunity to talk to our whole staff. We had 72 people in the [Microsoft] Teams meeting room today, which would usually be in our draft room. It just showed the quality of people that we have in our organization, the character that we have in our organization. I couldn’t be more excited, I couldn’t be more proud, to stand with the people that we have.
Q. It seems pretty clear that speed was a priority today and during this draft. Can you take me a little bit through the mindset there and the impetus of that, and where that all began? (Dave Zangaro)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: It began the day after we lost to the Seahawks, which was really disappointing to us. And I have this. I have this list that I shared with [Eagles Head] Coach [Doug] Pederson. I walked into his office the day after the season ended, and there are three things there:
Can he run? Is he healthy? Does he love to play?
And I said that was going to be our offseason motto. Coach Pederson turned to me and he said, ‘I’m thinking the exact same way.’ I walked down the hall and I walked to [Eagles Vice President of Player Personnel] Andy [Weidl] and I said, ‘I just gave this to Coach Pederson,’ and he said, ‘That’s exactly the way I’m thinking.’
For us, the offseason is a marathon, and I know a lot of attention gets played on when we do in free agency. We couldn’t be more excited. I think one of the more underrated things that we did today was trade our third and fifth round pick for [CB] Darius Slay, a Pro Bowl corner.
When we looked at everyone we picked today, we tried to answer those questions. Now, when we went a little bit later in the draft, maybe there were some questions on a couple of those guys, but we felt like they were good enough football players that they were worth the risk.
When I look at our football team, when I look at the depth of our football team, Coach Pederson just let me know that our new depth chart was up on our depth chart, and to look at it and see where we are right now, it’s exciting. We have a good football team, and we can’t wait to get started.
Q. How can you tell if a guy loves to play the game in this sort of offseason when everything is so limited? (Reuben Frank)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think I’ll start and hand it off to Coach Pederson. I think that we have a great scouting staff. When we put them on the road, and Andy [Weidl] puts them on the road, and he says to them, ‘Hey, these are the criteria where I want to know.’ Because the scouts at the end of the day, they know these guys. They know what they’re made of, and we want to understand, do they love to play? Do they love the process? And so that’s a big part of our scouting meetings, and then we hand it off to the coaches.
DOUG PEDERSON: Yeah, this is the side of I think of football that the public doesn’t see, our fans don’t see, obviously the media doesn’t see, and I echo exactly what Howie just said. Our scouts and the personnel that are out on the road, they compile so much information on these guys and so much background information. Quite honestly, with this pandemic right now, it’s made us as coaches be more involved from the standpoint of just picking up the phone and, for me, calling their head coaches, calling their position coaches, and talking to whoever we can in that building to find out about these players.
You can get a sense. Obviously, we see the skillset on tape and we understand that, can the guy play football. But talking to these people really gives us a better insight into the character of the person. Does he love football? Is he passionate about his sport? Does he want to get better? And that’s how we do it.
ANDY WEIDL: I’d just like to say, just to piggyback on what coach and Howie said, is we talk about it, and it’s having an aligned vision, and it comes from coach to Howie, to myself, to our scouts. It flows, and it’s about Eagles, what they are. We’re looking for people that are fundamentally different. The love and passion for football, it’s non-negotiable. They’re caring, their character, they do the right thing persistently, and they have a relentless playing style that you can see on tape. The motor, it burns hot. You see them finishing plays. They have a team-first mentality. They’re selfless individuals.
So, I think those baseline traits are what we try to focus on in our players, and it just mirrors what they do on the field on the tape, and how they handle themselves off the field and the training and preparation and everything that we talked about.
Q. I know in the offseason you talked a little bit about the position-less player. Seems like you got a few of them in this draft, even on offense. You talk about the back-side of the defense, but even on offense, guys like WR Jalen Reagor and QB Jalen Hurts. Was that kind of an emphasis for you in this draft, too? (Nick Fierro)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Yeah. We wanted to make sure — we have an unbelievable coaching staff, and it’s led by [Eagles Head] Coach [Doug] Pederson. We’re very lucky for us as front office guys to have coaches like this.
So, when we give these guys these kind of athletes and give them the opportunity to design schemes, to put them in the best possible position, we know they’re going to be utilized. We look for guys that are incredible athletes, and there is no doubt about it.
When we went back and looked at our team over the last year, we wanted to get more explosive, we wanted to get faster, and I told that to you guys after the season. It was important we stuck to that. I know a bunch of our scouts over the last couple days and certainly today when we talked about it, they kind of threw it back in our face. You know, they said, ‘Hey, if we are looking to get faster, this guy is still on the board.’
We kind of went over the top to make sure we have explosive athletes for our quarterback, for our play caller, and we’re really excited with what we did over the last couple days.
Q. Yesterday, Howie said that it’s difficult to win playing station-to-station football on offense, which is kind of what you guys had to do last year. Obviously, it’s difficult to ascertain what kind of contribution you’re going to get from these wide receivers that you drafted because the uncertainty over how much prep time you’re going to get with them in the next several months, but when you look at this group that you added, when you look at the addition of WR Marquise Goodwin, has it changed the look of this offense with the speed it’s given you? (Paul Domowitch)
DOUG PEDERSON: Yeah. It has changed the look of the offense, number one. But I do think — and you bring up a good point with the limited off-season that we’re going to have and if it’s all virtual and no on-the-the-grass time and we only get the training camp time.
This is going to be — I feel personally we’re going to have to lean on our veteran players. We’re going to have to lean on [WR] DeSean Jackson and [WR] Greg Ward, who we know has come into his own and been on our team for couple years. Guys like that. And now Marquise Goodwin, a veteran player who understands the game, until we can get these young guys caught up. But I think the dynamic of the offense, I think what we’ve done as a staff in the offseason with our scheme evaluation, making things better, the staff hires that I’ve done this spring to bring in new thoughts and new ideas and ways to enhance our offense, I think it’s going to look a little bit different.
And then of course adding the speed element to that obviously factors in. Look, I mean, we play a ton of teams this past couple of seasons where it was hard to push the ball down the field, whether it was injury or whatever it was. This just allows us to, I think, open some things up. We have to do a great job as coaches, however, to coach our players and have them detailed and ready to go.
In a veteran league, I think moving forward it does bide time for our young players to catch up.
Q. I wanted to ask you, Andy, what did you like about Clemson S and Eagles fourth-round draft pick K’Von Wallace outside of the numbers and his testing? (Mike Kaye)
ANDY WEIDL: You know, the thing about K’Von Wallace is his tape, and what stuck out was his physicality, his tackling, his ability to play around the line of scrimmage. The mentality he played with, the motor he played with. He’s a guy that likes contact. He gets to the ball. He passes people to the ball, and when he gets there, he strikes. We saw that. It was consistent with the motor that he played with, the mentality he played with, and we really enjoyed it and thought he fit what we were doing and what we’re putting together here.
Q. This one is for Howie. I know you always talk about how the roster building doesn’t end now. You’ve really passed the two big inflection points now. How do you think you are on offense relative to what you wanted to achieve going into the off-season, and in particular at wide receiver? (Zach Berman)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Yeah, I think we are different, Zach. I really do. I think that when we
ended the season with a loss to the Seahawks at home, it was disappointing for all of us. We had really a priority to get past that. Last year we lost in the first round; year before that lost in the second round. Our goal is to win another championship for the City of Philadelphia. We knew we needed to get better at that position. I know I’ve talked about it in the off-season, but we really feel like we’ve added [depth]. We’ve added [Eagles WR] DeSean [Jackson] back, [Eagles WR] Alshon [Jeffery] back. We need to get him healthy, get him right. Then when you look at this draft and this draft weekend, adding [former 49ers WR] Marquise [Goodwin]. Marquise is one of the fastest men in the world. And I mean that when I say that. He’s one of the fastest men in the world. He is so fast. Obviously [Eagles senior offensive assistant] Rich [Scangarello] had the opportunity to be with him, and so he recommended him to Andy, coach, and I. And then again, we go into this draft and we got some young players that can really run, but they can also play the game. They understand how to run routes. They’re not just track guys. They’re guys that we really felt passionate about.
I know when we drafted [Boise State WR and Eagles fifth-round draft pick John] Hightower we had a lot of conversation about Hightower versus [Southern Miss WR and Eagles sixth-round draft pick Quez] Watkins. And then when we moved back and picked up a bunch of picks, we had an opportunity to get Watkins, too. We sat there and we said, ‘Let’s get both of these guys. These are guys that we feel passionately about, and let’s add them to the team and let competition dictate what’s best for our football team.’
So I feel like just with injuries and then adding to that situation, we’re significantly better than what we were. I also talk about the offensive line. We started eight offensive linemen lasts year and were playing playoff games without [Eagles G] Brandon Brooks and [Eagles T] Lane Johnson. Those are two of the best offensive linemen in the league. Those are two of the best players in the league. Getting those guys back and healthy.
And obviously Carson didn’t play in the playoff game. Carson is a difference-maker. He’s a Pro Bowl quarterback. So as we sit here we feel much better, but you mentioned it, Zach. We hit two inflection points in terms of free agency in the draft, but we’re not done yet. That’s coach’s line to all of us, and that’s how we feel.
We’re going to continue to work the roster, we’re going to continue to look at the free agent market both pro and anyone who falls through the cracks after the draft, and we’re going to do whatever it takes to put the best possible team together on the field when we get back to playing football.
Q. Howie, your three things that were on your sheet of paper the day after the Seahawks loss, you mentioned the speed and health. Obviously, those were huge problems last season. You also mentioned does he love to play. Did you feel like that was an area you were lacking last year or an area that needed to be addressed? (Les Bowen)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: No, I think that’s a core value that we have. When we talk about guys that we want to bring on our football team, that can’t go without anything else that we’re talking about with the traits that they have.
And Andy talks about an Eagles mentality. So for me, that’s what describes an Eagles mentality. I didn’t want to get guys who can just run and were healthy but didn’t have the right mentality. We have an unbelievable fan base. We have the best fans in the world.
And so for us, they understand when guys love to play, when guys care about football. We didn’t want to leave that out. So for me, I didn’t want to just get guys who can run and were healthy but didn’t love to play. Coach doesn’t want to get those guys; Andy doesn’t want to get those guys.
So it was just part of what we believe is important to add to our football team.
Q. On the wide receivers, I’m curious. We heard so much about how great this class of wide receivers was. Curious if entering the off-season you made the decision that this was where you were going to add talent to the position, as opposed to going after anything in free agency? (Bo Wulf)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Yeah, we did. We didn’t want to be shut off to the possibilities of adding talent in the trade market or free agent market, and we looked at those guys and inquired about the prices of those guys to try to balance those guys versus what the draft was.
But we knew it was an incredible opportunity to add pieces in the draft. We knew that our quarterback was young and that he could grow with these guys, and also grow with the veterans that we had here.
So when we looked at the opportunities and we looked at some of the positions that we added in free agency, increasing the depth at the corner position, the safety position in particular, bringing back [Eagles QB] Nate Sudfeld, we felt those were the best opportunities that maybe weren’t as equal in the draft.
Because we always try to balance free agency and the draft. I think one of the things we look at through this draft is we added [Eagles CB] Darius Slay. You know, that’s part of this draft. This is a Pro Bowl corner and I don’t want him to get lost in the flow here of everything that we’ve done in the off-season.
This is a guy who can get the ball back for our offense, put it back in the hands of Carson, and give coach opportunities to call plays. He’s a difference-maker.
I think when our fans see this guy in Eagles green, they’re going to be tremendously excited that we have him on our football team.
Q. Doug, you mentioned yesterday in talking about Oklahoma QB and Eagles second-round draft pick Jalen Hurts’ acquisition, Ravens QB Lamar Jackson. I’m wondering, Eagles senior offensive consultant Marty Mornhinweg obviously was in Baltimore in 2018. Did you lean on him a little bit for suggestions there, and certainly in the thinking with the Ravens and how they approached that pick and utilized him in that first season? Is that a fair comp? (Jeff McLane)
DOUG PEDERSON: Yeah, Jeff, it is a fair comp. Marty obviously was a part of that team that brought in Lamar Jackson, and obviously he did the evaluation process. And then fast forward to where we are today, and I bring Marty on board and ask him to look, and Howie and Andy and their staff, they asked all our coaches to look at players.
Marty with his expertise in quarterbacks, just take a look at all these guys. He felt very similar in Jalen as he did in Lamar.
Now, I think totally — I’ve only been around two types of quarterbacks. I think with that — with Lamar Jackson and Michael Vick’s skillset — those are the two guys that I’ve seen that have dynamic, athletic ability.
But having Marty look at Jalen and his skillset and what he can do, and then how they put plans together, how they designed an offense around putting Lamar in his rookie season and allowing him to play certain plays, it’s all part of the process.
And for us, moving forward, I want to be clear that Jalen is a quarterback. He’s a quarterback first. That’s how we’re going to develop him, and then obviously utilize his strength as a runner and maybe some other things as we go throughout this spring.
But, yeah, Marty was a big help obviously in this process, along with [Eagles passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach] Press [Taylor], along with Rich, as we evaluated this entire class of quarterbacks.
Q. This is for Andy and maybe Howie and Doug. You can chime in after. The challenging circumstances obviously of this situation, and you’ve been a big part of this process, but first year in charge of the department and running the day-to-day. Now that you look back on the draft and how everything went, how do you think it worked for you? (John McMullen)
ANDY WEIDL: Well, time will tell with that. The one thing I know is the effort that we got from our scouts, from our support staff, from our office scouts, and across the board collectively from everyone that contributed to this was outstanding.
There was tremendous effort in research, tremendous effort in talking to players and prospects, just acquiring as much information as we could given the set of circumstances we had.
So, very proud [of everyone]. We’ve got a great group of scouts and a great group of support staff and a great group of football operations people; outstanding coaching staff. It worked together, and you see the chemistry that really transpired and came together over the last month and a half.
It was amazing to be a part of it, to watch everything progress and get to these last three days and watch Howie execute the plan that we had. It was just great to be a part of it. Very proud.
Q. This is for anybody that has a good story. What’s a funny or memorable moment from this virtual draft? (Tim McManus)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: My moment, and then I’ll hand off to these guys, is just trying to switch through the Microsoft Teams and try to include everyone at every moment when we’re trying to make a pick.
Let’s be honest, when we picked [QB] Jalen [Hurts] and we are trying to include everyone, [Football Operations Director] Katie David, who is my right-hand person in football operations, after I announced Jalen Hurts I didn’t get much of a response. She said, ‘Nobody could hear what you said. You cut out on Microsoft Teams.’
So for me, it’s just humbling because we’re so used to the connection. Andy mentioned it. We have such a great support staff, such great people. Just going through these last three days and not having the connection with those people, not being able to be around all those people, and then trying to tell them what we’re doing and not being able to connect with them, was kind of funny.
But we got together after the draft and [Eagles Chairman and Chief Executive Officer] Jeffrey [Lurie] made an amazing speech talking about everyone in the organization. Coach Pederson made an amazing speech. I think all of us just realized we’re in an incredibly difficult time in our world, and we feel incredibly fortunate that we were able to work during this time, because there are so many people who are unable to do that. We’re thinking about all of them.
DOUG PEDERSON: For me, I think looking back on this process, obviously the NFL put a lot of effort into this virtual draft, and our IT department and our people behind the scenes did a great job of keeping us online, connected, as Howie mentioned, through our Microsoft Teams website whether it was on our cell phones or Microsoft Surfaces.
Just being able to bounce back and forth between the different chat rooms we had open throughout the course of the day. For me, I think one of the — it’s probably not a funny moment, but just a relaxing moment is just being able to see everybody in their home environment. You see Howie, myself, Andy, we’re wearing collared shirts and we’re dressed up, and some of our staff are just relaxed. They’re enjoying the time. Their kids are in the shots. Their dogs or cats are in the shots.
It just makes it a family environment. For me, that was probably the most enjoyable thing coming out of this draft. And you saw it actually on TV with the draft picks and their families.
And so that was kind of reminiscent of the Philadelphia Eagles and how we went about it and approached this draft.
ANDY WEIDL: I would say what Coach said, too. This is probably the draft we’ll always remember being able to do it with our two families. We did it with our Eagles family connected virtually, and we did it here at our house with our wives and our children and they got to share in it, too.
With the setups we have right now, with what we are doing with the media and conference call, I think it’s something that I think we’ll always look back on and remember. We did this in a different set of circumstances that were challenging, but we were able to do it with both our families: Our Eagles family and our families here in our homes.
Q. This question is for Howie and Doug. When you guys talked about your vision of adding the speed receivers, and adding QB Jalen Hurts – you guys obviously took a lot of flak from fans about the Hurts pick and everything, but do you see him as part of that vision of just the speed, the throwing, running, when he’s on the field being able to take the offense to a different place along with obviously the other guys as well as Carson and everything? (Martin Frank)
DOUG PEDERSON: I look at it as we had an opportunity to — and Howie alluded to this yesterday. When I was hired back in 2016, we were always going to make a point of emphasis to look at the quarterback position and try the best we can to draft quarterbacks and develop quarterbacks.
I think that’s just — it’s smart in doing that. It protects that position. And I’ve always said to you guys that we’re trying to develop depth and competition. I’ve always told you guys that the quarterback position is never immune to that.
I’ve been a part of that personally in my career, and obviously as a position coach and now as a head coach. When you have somebody like a Jalen Hurts that is right there on your board, yeah, we understand that might not be the sexy pick; might not be the glamourous pick.
But when we look at it as an organization and a team, we’re doing the best thing in the best interest of the Philadelphia Eagles, and we have to take advantage of that.
So having a player of his caliber along with all the draft picks that we made and all the picks that are on our roster, the undrafted guys that you will hopefully get a chance to meet those guys in the next coming days, that’s all part of it.
And so when we can add that depth and add competition, when we can add value to any and every position on our roster, we’re going to do that.
Q. Howie, you were really wheeling and dealing there in the fourth and fifth round to get some draft picks. Was your goal going in to recoup the two you sent away for CB Darius Slay? One of those deals was with Dallas. How difficult is that to make a decision to trade within the division? And then if I could, Andy, if you could just give me your evaluations on T Prince Tega Wanogho and DE Casey Toohill? (Ed Kracz)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think when we traded the three and the five for Slay — and I want to go back to free agency a little bit. You bring up a good point. I think there has been a lot of conversation. [Director of Public Relations] Brett [Strohsacker] had been talking to me about [the public conversation regarding] maybe the opportunity to add a free agent versus Darius.
We try to balance what that free agent would get, and that assumes the free agent doesn’t want to leave the NFC East, versus this Pro-Bowl corner we got and the money we save and also the picks.
So we really wanted to have double-digit picks in this draft. It was important to us. We had picked ten picks in the last two years, and I know we didn’t come out of yesterday with that. So we felt like there would be an opportunity to move back and get a bunch of picks.
When the Cowboys call and they offer a trade, I’m going to be honest, that’s hard for me. That’s hard for me in the NFC East to make a trade with our competitors. So it had to be something that we felt was really good for our football team. The reality of it is that who we would’ve picked at that pick — I think it was 146 maybe — was the same guy that we were looking at when we were picking in the fifth round, so we picked up an additional pick and we kept moving.
We had an opportunity to add a lot of good players to our team. I started this by talking about how proud I am of this whole process and how proud I was of today, and that was part of it. We added a lot of good players to our team and a lot of players that we wanted to add, and we needed to have an opportunity to get some volume.
And not only do we think we got volume in terms of draft picks with ten picks, but we also feel like we really did an unbelievable job here after the draft with our coaches, with our scouts, with [Vice President of Football Administration] Jake [Rosenberg], with [Director of Football Administration] Bryce [Johnston], with [Senior Vice President, General Counsel] Aileen [Dagrosa], with Katie [David], with all these people who were involved in the undrafted process in getting those guys.
Obviously we’re not done. We have other opportunities to look at. But as we sit here today at the end of the weekend, just proud of the people that we’re with.
ANDY WEIDL: Yeah, about the two players you asked about. With Prince, he was a left tackle that we really liked his feet and quickness and ability to run off the ball and anchor in the pass game. We loved the competitiveness he played with, and he’s a guy who didn’t let up one sack this year. Really efficient pass protection. We think he fits our profile of offensive lineman that can run, get out in space, pass protect, and anchor when called upon to protect the quarterback.
So we saw an opportunity with him, and credit to Howie for jumping on it. Everybody went in there with pretty consist grades across the board on him. It was a great job by the scouts identifying him, and then by Howie executing the pick.
With Casey Toohill, he’s a high-motor defensive end. And the thing that jumps off is his effort on tape. His ability in the pass rush, to win, to get home, and in the run game, his pursuit to the ball and his effort. Just a high-motor guy. Plays with Eagle wiring and Eagle mentality. Great kid, too.
He’s someone we’re proud of and excited to bring in here, and for everybody to get to know and watch him perform.