I hate to state the obvious, but it needs to be said for the record: Saturday's upcoming Senior Bowl is a meaningful event for the Eagles' future, while Sunday's Pro Bowl in Miami is irrelevant.
"Irrelevant" is a nice way to describe the Pro Bowl. FoxSports.com's Kevin Hench calls it "dull", "listless", "pointless", and "the NFL's biggest running joke"... Counting the 14 players named to the Pro Bowl from the Colts and Saints who will not be participating in the game, at least 40 players originally selected for the all-star event have bailed out on the game. And why not? Why submit to the hassle and the risk of injury during Pro Bowl week for a single game check when your entire multi-million-dollar career is better served by taking the week off?
Sure, it can be a fun week for the first-timers named as late alternates for the event, like Quintin Mikell and Jon Dorenbos of the Eagles. They're having a blast. And truth be told, both the AFC and the NFC squads will be working under an unspoken code of cooperation to avoid regular-season intensity in blocking and tackling. There's also an official "No Blitzing" rule in effect...
Meanwhile, up in Mobile, there's real football happening. That's where Andy Reid sent his new GM, Howie Roseman, to represent the front office in evaluating the talent assembled for the Senior Bowl. At 34, Roseman will be among the youngest GM's in the league. According to Philly Inquirer staff writer Jeff McLane, Roseman is hobnobbing with agents, coaches and other GM's gathered in Mobile, and is busy addressing the Eagles' offseason needs and how they will seek to fill some of those needs in the draft.
Roseman is an attorney who got his start with the Eagles ten years ago as a salary-cap analyst and team counsel. Early on he switched to the football side of the business, working his way up the ladder to VP of player personnel. When Tom Heckert left to take the GM job in Cleveland last month, that left the door open for Roseman.
During the three days of Senior Bowl drills and practices before the game itself, Roseman and his scouts get a chance to evaluate the senior class of college talent close up. You can see much more about a player's talent in workouts and drills than can be put on film. This week spent in Mobile gives the Eagles front office a much better picture of which players should or should not be on their board for the upcoming draft.
Roseman will report directly to head coach Andy Reid. That part of the formula will not change. Make no mistake about it, Andy Reid and owner Jeff Lurie will have final say in all matters football or otherwise. On many NFL teams, the head coach reports to the GM. Not in Philadelphia. Not in the Reid-Lurie era...and in that respect, the Roseman appointment is not that big a deal. Nothing in the way the Eagles do business has really changed at all.