The Philadelphia Eagles’ initial 53-man roster is set. While it was an exciting day for some, it was a rough day for head coach Nick Sirianni and general manager Howie Roseman, who had to make some difficult decisions. Let’s take a look at some notable quotes from Tuesday’s press conference.

 

Roseman, on signing CB Isaiah Rodgers:

“Obviously, Coach [Sirianni] was with [Rodgers] in Indy. We did work on him coming out of the draft, saw his pro tape. He is a talented guy, and obviously he made a mistake, and he has apologized for that mistake… We believe in second chances, and now it’s on him.”

One of the things the Eagles organization as a whole has been remarkably consistent with is giving out second chances. We saw it as early as 2009, when the team signed Michael Vick following his prison sentence. We saw it earlier this offseason when Jalen Carter slipped in the draft due to charges from that deadly car crash in Georgia. And here we see it once again with Isaiah Rodgers, one of many NFL players who have fallen victim to somewhat dubious sports betting rules. Hopefully Roseman’s decision will pan out.

Roseman, on the decision to move on from punter Arryn Siposs:

“Well, a lot of these guys that we brought that we cut today, we’re interested in bringing back. We have a practice squad. We’ve talked about the roster being 69 guys as opposed to 53 and having flexibility in those spots. I think when you look at Sip [Siposs] obviously the season didn’t end for us the way that we wanted to, and he would say the same thing, but also have confidence in his abilities.”

Perhaps never before has a punter played such a big role in a Super Bowl loss as Arryn Siposs did in February. However, it sounds like Roseman is still open to having Siposs return on the practice squad. Fans may not like it, but someone’s gotta punt the ball, and they do not currently have a better option on the roster. They’ll work out punters in an effort to upgrade the position. 

Roseman, on CB Eli Ricks making the squad:

“Obviously you talk about pedigree. He was the No. 1 corner in the country coming out of high school and going to LSU… he was a guy that we spent a lot of time on in the draft process. He came in with an opportunity, and I think what we saw is this is a long, instinctive player with good athleticism and ball skills. Those guys are hard to find. His work ethic, his care factor was really high. So that’s a great success story for him when he had a lot of adversity here as a guy who really thought he would be a high pick going into the year. He came in with the right attitude, and we called him and told him he was on the team.”

Eli Ricks quickly transformed from an undrafted free agent, with an outside chance at making the roster, into a preseason fan favorite. As the only UDFA to make the initial 53-man roster this year, and as the man at the bottom of a deep cornerback depth chart, Ricks has an uphill battle if he wants to see playing time. Even so, Roseman’s glowing praise bodes well for the cornerback.

Roseman, on if it was difficult to release previous contributors:

“It was, especially when you go through some of the success that we’ve had, but also some of the adversity that we’ve had together. I think that’s why this is a hard day… In one way it shows that you know your team is getting better, which we’re proud of, but it’s definitely bittersweet to see some of these guys go. I think some of these guys are going to get picked up before we have an opportunity to bring them back.”

With a roster as deep as the Eagles’ heading into Tuesday, some familiar names were bound to be cut, but fans were still surprised to see some players on the list. WR Greg Ward, for one, was a notable member of the 2019 and 2020 Carson Wentz-led Eagles and had been on and off the 53-man roster since the Birds signed him as an undrafted free agent in May 2017. WR Britain Covey was also a surprise, especially since he finished the season as the team’s de facto punt returner. Presumably, the Eagles would like to bring both back to the practice squad. As Roseman said, the fact that notable players are being let go means that the team is improving, but it’s always hard to see familiar faces leave the building.

Nick Sirianni, on deciding who will return punts:

“We don’t have to make any of those decisions right yet. We still have time, and we still have, like Howie said, you have 69 guys to choose from. Well, you know, we’re not going to pick Jordan Mailata or something like that, but you have a lot of guys to choose from and guys that have been working all offseason and all training camp catching punts, so we feel good about our options there.”

My only note on this is that I personally would love to see Jordan Mailata return some punts. Let the man go full rugby at least once.