When Chris Simms looks at the Eagles roster, there’s only one conclusion he can draw:
“It’s maybe the biggest rebuild in football right now,” said Simms, NBC’s NFL analyst and former NFL quarterback. “There’s holes all over the roster.”
Simms, who co-hosts Pro Football Talk Live and the Unbuttoned podcast, spoke on the Eagle Eye podcast this week.
“I hate saying that. I have so much respect for that front office and the things they’ve done over the last decade and things like that,” he said. “But the way the salary cap is, all the older players, everything about the football team just says, ‘It needs to be blown up and we’ve got to start from scratch.’”
Simms does believe the Eagles should draft a quarterback, as Dave Zangaro wrote Tuesday.
But he believes the Eagles’ biggest issue is that Howie Roseman let the roster get too old and stuck with the Super Bowl nucleus too long.
“I don’t know who to blame here, maybe the owner’s involved in this too – but they let the shelf life of that Super Bowl team just go on a little too long,” he said. “And they kept trying to put little Band-Aids on it and it was like, ‘Oh no, the cut got too bad, that Band-Aid’s not big enough, let’s get another one. And it just fell out of control here.”
It’s interesting to hear the perspective of an NFL analyst who has a national perspective as opposed to a Philly perspective.
It’s easy to see the Eagles as hopeless, coming off a 4-11-1 season, firing a Super Bowl coach and trading a near-MVP quarterback in his prime.
But Simms sees a team that’s been to the playoffs three of the last four years and five of the 10 years Roseman has been general manager, with a Super Bowl win in the mix.
He believes Roseman will be able to make the moves necessary to turn this around.
“You’ve got to make the right moves (and) Howie Roseman has proven that he’s capable of making the right moves, there’s no doubt about that,” he said. “I’m not sitting here looking like the Eagles are screwed and they’re not going to be relevant again till 2024.”
Simms compared where the Eagles are now to where the 49ers were in 2017, ironically after Chip Kelly was fired after just one year as head coach and replaced by Kyle Shanahan.
They went 10-22 their first two years under Shanahan but reached the Super Bowl in Year 3.
Of course, the 49ers also fired general manager Trent Baalke along with Kelly, replacing him with John Lynch. The Eagles do have a new coach in Nick Sirianni but obviously the same GM.
“I don’t expect 2021 to be anything special,” Simms said. “I’m hoping to see things going in the right direction, and we can all see, ‘Ooh, this coach has something, like Kyle Shanahan out there with the San Francisco 49ers. His first year there they were 0-9 at one point, but the fans were kind of excited because every week, ‘Wow, look at these exciting plays and we’re exciting on offense and this is fun to watch.’
“That’s what I want to see in Year 1 and hopefully you can start to get the pieces that really fit the system and the guys that Nick Sirianni thinks, ‘Hey Howie, I like these kind of guys at receiver, I like these kind of guys on the offensive line, they fit my system,’ and then you can go, ‘Hey, 2022? Watch out and maybe we can start competing again and get back in the thick of things in the NFC and get back in the playoff picture.’ I don’t put that out of the realm of possibility at all.’”
What about Roseman’s draft record? One Pro Bowler in five years since he was restored to power? No defensive Pro Bowlers since 2012? No young stars?
“The draft has not been the best, but he’s found other ways to make things happen,” Simms said. “I have no doubts with Howie Roseman. I still think he can build a football team.”
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