Eagles’ front office moves…

There were 2 moves the Eagles made on the front office/coaching side of the ball last week that were basically lost in the shuffle thanks to the Dallas mess.  My thoughts on both:

  • HECKERT TO THE BROWNS – Last week Mike Holmgren hired former Eagles General Manager Tom Heckert to the same position with the Cleveland Browns.  This move seemed a long time in coming.  Only 2 years ago Eagles owner Jefferey Lurie had recommended Heckert for the GM job in Atlanta & last year Heckert actually interviewed for the Browns GM job before it was given to George Kokinis.  The funny thing about Heckert leaving is that no one really knows how much sway or input he had in shaping the Eagles’ roster.  Though his title would seem to indicate he had final say over the roster, most observers in Philadelphia think that Andy Reid is the one who makes all the football-related decisions.  If that’s truly the case, then I’m not sure fans will miss Heckert all that much.  Though he’s certainly presided over some very good draft picks (Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, Jeremiah Trotter, Trent Cole, Brent Celek, Stewart Bradley, Desean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin, to name a few), Heckert cannot claim sole credit for those.  My only concern would be if it came out later that he was the one guy in the organization who actually said no to Andy Reid.  I’m always leery of one guy having too much power & the thought of Andy Reid making every major decision as it relates to the football team scares me a bit.  The Eagles have done a phenomenal job over the last several years keeping the discussions of the front office truly secretive so there’s really no way of knowing how strong a voice Heckert had.  VP of player personnel Howie Roseman will be promoted to GM in Heckert’s place.  Roseman’s elevation to GM could have a very profound impact on the franchise.  While the offense seems to be in pretty good shape (save for the need for some depth along the O-line), the defense needs a lot of work.  A pass rushing specialist to create havoc opposite Trent Cole, a run-stuffing linebacker, and a strong cover corner who ACTUALLY TACKLES are just 3 of the Eagles’ needs this offseason.  With no salary cap in place and the Eagles continuing to make quite a bit of money, the Eagles can be big players in free agency and should also have some room to maneuver during the draft.  In order to ensure that the team is right back in the race for NFC supremacy next year, Roseman and Reid need to hit a few homeruns this offseason.  By early May (when both Donovan McNabb & Brian Westbrook are due large roster bonuses), we’ll have some insight into what we can expect from the brand new Roseman/Reid regime.
  • WELCOME BOBBY APRIL – Last week the team quietly fired Special Teams coordinator Ted Daisher and hired Bobby April to replace him.  April comes to Philadelphia from the Buffalo Bills (where his contract ran out) and actually interviewed with both the Steelers and Redskins before the Eagles hired him.  This is a HUGE win for the Eagles.  April is considered to be one of if not the best Special Teams coach in the entire league.  His units in Buffalo were consistently ranked at or near the top of the league in just about every category and he was responsible for helping Roscoe Parrish become such a dangerous return man.  When I saw that April was available I was hoping the Eagles might take a run at him but assumed they probably wouldn’t.  Then when I saw him interviewing with the Steelers and the ‘Skins, I figured that was that.  Imagine my surprise then when the Eagles sent out a press release announcing that they’d hired him.  I was impressed by the fact that the Eagles were able to keep their courtship of him under wraps until the announcement.  I really do think this is a phenomenal hire by the Eagles.  Too many times this season the Eagles were undone by turnovers on special teams or really horrid field position.  With April taking over, maybe he can convince Andy Reid to sign a new punter (Sav Rocca’s pattern of shanking every other punt he makes is simply unacceptable) and finally get some consistency out of the kickoff return unit.  I fully expect the Eagles to be in the top 5 of all Special Teams categories next year.  I’m even more excited by the thought that now Desean Jackson (who’s already the most dangerous return man in the league) has a coach to match his skill level.  Hell…Desean might be even better next year!!  The hiring of Bobby April is just one step in what’s going to be a very long and important offseason for the Eagles, but I think it’s a pretty big one and I look forward to seeing the effect he’ll have on the Birds. 

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