PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman apologized to fans for the disappointing end to the season that saw the Birds get knocked out in the wild-card round of the playoffs. Speaking to reporters Wednesday during an end-of-the-season press conference, Roseman put the onus on himself for the Eagles’ early-round exit after coming into the year as a potential Super Bowl favorite.
“When you have a disappointing season, it’s not just on the players and the coaches, it’s also on the front office and that starts with me. I’m sorry to our fans,” Roseman said.
Roseman emphasized adding an infusion of youth to one of the oldest rosters in the league, but that means hitting on their draft picks. Their recent second- and third-round draft picks in wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside and cornerbacks Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas have not contributed the way the Eagles thought they would.
Roseman also vows to go younger. Adding there are obvious positions they need to address this offseason, when specifically asked about cornerbacks
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In Sunday’s playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks, wide receiver DK Metcalf torched the Eagles’ secondary for 160 receiving yards and a touchdown. The Seahawks took Metcalf with the 64th pick in last year’s draft, six picks after the Eagles selected Arcega-Whiteside, who only caught 10 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown during the regular season.
“This offseason is really important for him. I don’t think we saw the best of JJ. He was affected a little by injuries. At the same token, there have been some successful receivers from this draft class and we don’t have our head in the sand and not notice that and go back and kind of look at that,” Roseman said.
On the other side of the ball, Jones and Douglas didn’t even play a defensive snap in Sunday’s playoff game. Cornerback will be another emphasis during the offseason.
“I know, again I’m not trying to stick my head in the sand, I know there are a couple of positions here that are a focal point and I understand the reason for that. We got to get with our staff and decide what we’re going to do going forward but also look at anyway we can possibly improve the team. That’s an important position,” Roseman said.
The Eagles currently have 10 picks in the upcoming draft and will also have to decide what to do with veterans like left tackle Jason Peters and safety Malcolm Jenkins, who have been locker room leaders for years.
Peters still wants to play but the Birds drafted his heir apparent in Andre Dillard last year. In Jenkins’ case, the safety said earlier this week he will not come back to the Birds under his same deal.
Roseman side-stepped Jenkins’ contract situation but had high praise for him.
“We obviously understood where Malcolm was when he came to training camp and the conversations we had. I mean, what an incredible Eagle, what an incredible player, what an incredible person he is and has been for us,” Roseman said.
Another point of emphasis Roseman touched on during Wednesday’s press conference was the litany of injuries the Eagles had to deal with this season. Roseman said they have hired a new chief medical officer who has made recommendations on training and sports science.
“We have to figure out a way to get better here. We can help from a front-office perspective by looking at players we bring in. Hope is not a strategy when it comes to injuries, when you bring in guys that are injured, it obviously increases the risk that they will get hurt again,” Roseman explained.
Head coach Doug Pederson also spoke to reporters during Wednesday’s press conference. Pederson said he was disappointed for quarterback Carson Wentz was knocked out of his first-career playoff game from Jadeveon Clowney’s helmet-to-helmet hit.
“It’s unfortunate. Did I feel like it was potentially an illegal hit? It’s possible, but listen, it’s part of our game. It happens, it gets missed. I’m disappointed for Carson that he couldn’t finish that postseason game. Unfortunate for our team, but I’m not going to focus on the past, I’m moving forward right now,” Pederson said.
Pederson said that Wentz is feeling better.
Pederson added that embattled offensive coordinator Mike Groh and wide receiver coach Carson Walch will be back next season.