Les Bowen, Daily News Staff Writer
Posted: Saturday, November 10, 2012, 1:23 AM
I'm about to assert something really unpopular.
In fact, I'm not quite sure how I can top this, unless I show up Sunday at the Linc in a Tony Romo jersey, wearing J.D. Drew batting gloves and carrying an autographed Sidney Crosby hockey stick.
Here's the thing: When news broke earlier in the week that the Eagles had extended general manager Howie Roseman's contract upon the departure of Joe Banner in June, I felt sorry for Howie. Fan frustration is at its zenith; from the Eagles' viewpoint, there could not have been a worse time for such news to emerge. A month ago, it would have been a note at the bottom of a story. But somebody who did not wish Roseman well knew exactly when to play that card, and within a day or so, we had a poll up on Philly.com with 4,390 people voting that Roseman should not have gotten a contract extension and only 313 saying he should have. That's 93.3 percent to 6.7 percent. I think Mitt Romney did better than that in some North Philly precincts.
Yes, this has been a brutal season, and yes, it seems the Andy Reid era has run its course. Yes, among the reasons the Reid era seems to have run its course is that the 2010 and 2011 drafts were paltry, and the Eagles' attempts to restock through free agency have been about as successful as attempts to restock through free agency tend to be in the NFL. That would be: not at all.
Roseman bears some responsibility there. A lot of responsibility. But I'm pretty sure he knows that. And I think he learns from his mistakes, costly as they might be.
I was struck by this trait when we sat down during Senior Bowl week in Mobile, Ala., last January, at the start of the 2012 draft process. Roseman openly acknowledged he'd reached for need, particularly in the 2011 draft, and vowed to approach 2012 differently. Everybody who grades such things loved the Eagles' 2012 draft. The rookies are struggling along with everybody else right now - it would be pretty unusual if they weren't - but in the long run, I sure think Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks and Brandon Boykin are players. I don't know what the deal is with Vinny Curry, who can't get on the field, but in training camp, he looked like a player, as well. Ditto Nick Foles, of course,
Here's the other thing: The day of the all-powerful coach who runs every aspect of the organization is over in the NFL. Yes, technically, Andy Reid has had final say with the Eagles, but on personnel, he has relied a lot on Roseman (and on Tom Heckert before that). Andy might pull the trigger, but he pulls the trigger after being told, "Here is why this might be our best option."
To expect the Eagles to nuke NovaCare, hire a GM and a coach this winter is unrealistic. Would the new GM then hire the new coach? Would there be anyone left with any familiarity with the personnel? Do you want Jeffrey Lurie making these hires, with no guidance?
It never made sense that Roseman would leave when Reid left. As to how many years he has ahead on his deal, who cares? There is no executive salary cap. If the new coach comes in, seems to know what he's doing, and develops the opinion over the next year or 2 that Howie is an inadequate GM, make a change then. I have no idea how much Roseman makes, but I doubt it's more than Demetress Bell ($3.25 million this season). Down the road, you can ditch him, or expand or contract his duties as results warrant.
In the offseason, Roseman came across as someone willing to look at new ways of doing things, constantly evaluating what worked and what didn't. He did not exude the "we know what we're doing here, you just are incapable of understanding our brilliance" vibe the Eagles have given off for at least the last decade.
I'm interested to see what his take is on this season, and how to move forward. I think it might be clear-eyed and incisive. And I doubt he thinks it's all someone else's fault.
Didn't do a midseason report card yet for the first time in the 11 years I've covered the Eagles. Most years, it's a more interesting exercise; there has tended to be more suspense about where the team might be headed, whether the quarterback is playing well, and so on.
This year, I think everybody knows what an Eagles report card would look like. In case you were really missing that feature, let's do an overview:
Running backs: B
Offensive line: F
Tight ends: D
Wide receivers: C
Defensive line: D
Special teams: D
Eagles coach Andy Reid noted Friday that LeSean McCoy still has a persistent cough from the flu-like illness that sidelined him Wednesday and Thursday, but McCoy was a partial practice participant Friday and will play Sunday against the Cowboys.
McCoy said he's been resting and consuming fluids the past few days.
"I just was under the weather, struggling these last couple days, but I feel a lot better now, [was able to] get out there and run around a little bit," McCoy said.
McCoy acknowledged he was coughing during practice and felt "a little bit woozy."
It's not ideal to miss the major prep days of Wednesday and Thursday, but McCoy said he knows the Cowboys "really well" and "I'm not a rookie - I know my assignments."
Like most running backs, McCoy has played before without a full week of practice. Still, given the moving parts in the Eagles' injury-stricken offensive line, practice reps are valuable.
McCoy's all-time best running day came against Dallas last season, Oct. 30, 2011, when he ran 30 times for 185 yards in a 34-7 Eagles victory at the Linc. In fact, seven of McCoy's 12 100-yard rushing performances have come against NFC East opponents.
The Cowboys are again expected to be without their top rushing threat, DeMarco Murray.
Right guard Danny Watkins (ankle) will miss his third game in a row. Dennis Kelly remains the starter there . . . Michael Vick said that he and center Dallas Reynolds continue to split the protection calls, officially, but that Vick has been making most of them lately . . . Running back Chris Polk will miss the game with a turf-toe injury Polk said he suffered in practice Wednesday . . . Wide receiver/punt returner Mardy Gilyard (hamstring) remains sidelined . . . Vick was asked whether he thinks younger players understand what's at stake, particularly for older players. "That's the question - do the other guys, the young guys, understand what's at stake?" Vick said. "Not just as far as our careers, but for this organization and winning. I'm not thinking about next year. I'm not thinking about what's going to happen. I'm thinking about the game, because that's what's most important. We live in the now; you can't live in the past and you can't live in the future."
Contact Les Bowen at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @LesBowen. For more Eagles coverage and opinion, read the Daily News' blog at eagletarian.com.
Les Bowen Daily News Staff Writer