The 53rd pick in the 2020 draft was about to be revealed, and all Howie Roseman could do was trust his gut and hold his ears. That’s when he picked off Jalen Hurts, bracing for howls of protest.

A second-round quarterback pick? What? With Carson Wentz just three years removed from a near season MVP and a significant World Series contribution?

A field of harsh critics practically demanded that Roseman be placed in the concussion protocol. But in this case he was right. Hurts, not Wentz, was the best running back for serious contention, a reality confirmed Monday night by one of the most complete games from a quarterback in Eagles history during a 24-7 shutout of the Minnesota Vikings.

With Hurts rushing for 390 yards and two touchdowns, the Eagles were 2-0, a record they will likely match Wednesday when Hurts and Darius Slay are named the NFC Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week.

“Big show,” beamed Nick Siriani, “on a big stage.”

In the long list of keys to athletic success, this is the one that will ultimately matter the most: the team’s best players must play their best in the most important moments. That’s where the Eagles were on Monday, a long week after absorbing excessive heat to win in Detroit. They were at an early checkpoint against a team expected to be great even with Kirk Cousins ​​at quarterback. And that’s where all the Eagles stars shined, including Roseman.

Not that the Eagles vice president didn’t make mistakes, as he spent too much money on Wentz in the first place. But the only personnel manager ever to lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl championship is nearly 12 percent off what was his most remarkable effort during his 23-year stint on West Pattison Avenue.

Good but not special, interesting but flawed, talented but not particularly deep in 2021, the Eagles romped through a weak division and took advantage of a soft late schedule to earn a playoff spot. From there, it will take some vision, creativity and funding to push the project into another phase. A complicated business plan was cut short, and Roseman took it as a cue to sign 2020 Pro Bowl cornerback James Bradbury to take Pro Bowl wide receiver AJ Brown from Tennessee for the barely valuable 18th pick in the draft and add gifted linebacker Hassan Reddick.

Along with some other moves, these initiatives have been enough to generate enthusiasm for a program already loaded with potential in Slay, Hurts, DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins, Miles Sanders, Jordan Mailata, Dallas Goedert and others, along with a few key holdovers from the Super Team Bowl, including Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson, Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham.

So everything looked good. But Team Gold Standard has also looked good in the past, only to have the most important players disappear in big spots. So the question is: Has Roseman been right about enough of his recent decisions to stun the Eagles? The results say yes. Hurts completed 83.9 percent of his passes against Minnesota, good for 333 yards. Slay, who will be recognized as Roseman’s signature steal in the 2020 trade with Detroit, had two interceptions and forced Justin Jefferson out of the game. Smith had seven receptions, tying a career high. A week earlier, Bradbury scored on an interception. Brown became open. Kelce overthrew defenders. On Monday, Cox called the strip-bag. Sanders was an effective runner.

“Hats off to the Eagles,” Cousins ​​said. “They did a good job against us all night.”

Even for the worst professional teams, this will happen. At some point, everything will work as intended. But the Eagles — with Hurts improving from a 2021 Pro Bowl season — have plenty of star-level players, most of whom are playing at their best. When that happens, the vision of the championship is not compromised.

“I just know that the better the player is, the better we look as coaches,” Siriani said just before the season. “This is the secret of coaching. Do you want to be a good trainer? Get the best players. That’s the secret.”

While the Eagles didn’t turn their 2018 Super Bowl title into even a semi-dynasty, they didn’t stay ordinary for long. Instead, Roseman went to work, took a chance, moved the money, absorbed the insane criticism, and somehow built a viable All-Star team.

What’s next?

The opposing coaches are the best in the world to figure some things out and challenge the relatively inexperienced Syriani. Bones will be bruised and so will egos. The NFL will consistently drag teams down the middle. Someone can even be booed.

“A lot of things are going to happen this season,” Roseman warned. “There will be ups and downs, and I’m sure they will be chronicled. But I’m very excited to go on this journey with this group.”

A lot can happen. But two games into a promising season, there are enough signs that Roseman has got this roster right.

Contact Jack McCaffery at jmccaffery@delcotimes.com

https://www.dailylocal.com/2022/09/21/mccaffery-credit-howie-roseman-for-getting-this-right/

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