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Marcus Hayes: More Eagles drama? Howie Roseman tells Nick Sirianni to play young players more.

Marcus Hayes, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Football

PHILADELPHIA — In press conferences, Howie Roseman’s usually tighter than a bull’s butt in fly season, but he might’ve let something slip Tuesday in Indianapolis.

The Eagles’ general manager was asked at the NFL scouting combine:

How do you view linebacker Nolan Smith heading into Year 2?

Roseman’s response indicated that he didn’t appreciate how little embattled head coach Nick Sirianni had used that first-round pick … and maybe how little Sirianni had used lots of other young players.

“I think that goes back to the point about some younger players, and kind of in retrospect just seeing him, certainly, in the playoff game, [being] one of the guys who played well in the playoff game,” Roseman replied. “Giving him a little bit more time during the year and experience … we talked about that.”

This came after a response to a question directed at the use of young players such as offensive linemen Cam Jurgens and Landon Dickerson, who were drafted with the intention of having them sit behind established players. That wasn’t the case with Smith and some others, and, largely unprompted, Roseman let it be known from the start that Sirianni should have played them more.

 

“I think when we look back, and Coach and I talk about it a little bit, it’s OK to play some young players. It’s OK for them to get experience and kind of see what you have,” Roseman said. “I think that, for us to play our young players, to develop them — I think that’s something that Coach and I have talked about to not be afraid of. That’s why you draft them. That’s why you sign them.”

If this sounds harsh, it is. Rarely do you see a GM publicly scold a coach over player usage.

Granted, there’s a way to hear those statements in the context of, “We need to make an institutional decision to play young guys more” — that is, the front office can insist that Smith and his peers get more snaps — but it didn’t sound that way, neither in the moment nor afterward.

Especially when Sirianni appeared to push back.

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