PHILADELPHIA – Eagles general manager Howie Roseman shed some light on the decision-making process that produced the team’s 53-man roster this weekend.
Roseman dismissed the idea that coach Chip Kelly favors players from the University of Oregon. A total of five former Ducks made the Eagles’ roster. “He doesn’t do anything any different than he does with players from any other school,” Roseman said. “It’s really not fair that he gets hit on some of this stuff. The guys we’re keeping, we’re keeping because they’re good players and can contribute to our football team. He wants the best players. He wants to win games. He’s very selfish in that regard.”
The Eagles kept only three running backs: LeSean McCoy, Darren Sproles and Chris Polk, who missed the entire preseason with a hamstring injury.“We opened last season with three running backs,” Roseman said. “I think you’re talking about three good players there. Chris Polk certainly has a body of work. He’s done a really good job for us on special teams. He’s 220 pounds, he’s been successful in the NFL. That’s not to shortchange some of the guys we let go who had good camps. It was looking at that body of work.”
Safety Ed Reynolds, this year’s fifth-round draft pick from Stanford, was released. There’s a chance Reynolds could be signed to the Eagles’ practice squad on Sunday. “I think it’s a numbers game,” Roseman said, “where you’re going to go light, where you’re going to go heavy. For us, we had to make some sacrifices somewhere. We went a little heavier on the offensive and defensive line, but those are priorities. Those are hard to find as you look around the league. Not that it’s not hard to find a safety.” Because Stanford is on the trimester calendar, Reynolds missed much of the May and June work done by the team. Roseman said it’s “hard for a guy like that, you have to catch up.”
Roseman believes the team has more depth this season than it did in 2013. Last year, the Eagles were fortunate not to have too many injuries. Their entire offensive line, for example, was available for all 17 games, including the playoff game. “We needed to get better all over our roster,” Roseman said. “We felt very fortunate about the injury situation last year, but you certainly don’t want to count on that, either. You want to improve your depth, you want to improve the back end of your roster. As we look at it now, I do think we’ve improved our depth.”
Roseman and his staff will spend the rest of Saturday scanning the waiver wire and preparing lists of players to consider for addition to the roster or the practice squad. There are two new spots on the practice squads with fewer restrictions based on experience. “With the two exemptions, it’s a whole different pool of players that you have to look at,” Roseman said. “By the same token, there are guys on your roster that you may have felt like, if they weren’t on your 53, you had no chance to get them back because they’re not practice-squad eligible. So I think it’s part of the whole process in the next 24 hours.”