Eagles president Joe Banner did an interview on WIP this morning in which he hit on many of the topics that he addressed earlier this week on Comcast SportsNet.
Sam Donnellon writes today about how Banner continues to express that he feels the fans' pain, although staunchly supports the people who are making the decisions with the Eagles.
He again stressed that point with WIP -- "Nobody alleges that there are not opportunities to get better and we did not make mistakes, but we feel our batting average is pretty good," in terms of personnel decisions, he said.
Banner disagreed with the notion that the Eagles have to change members of the front office. "We believe we have the right people in place to achieve our ultimate goal."
He said the team was beginning the evaluation process, but asked about potential changes, he said, "They are not the big dramatic things you may be seeking or hoping for." He also said there are a lot of pieces that go into forming the roster and they hoped to be "flexible enough and objective enough" to make moves.
He again supported coach Andy Reid, saying he "gives us an excellent chance to win a Super Bowl."
Banner said the team remains willing to sit down with quarterback Donovan McNabb. However, he said neither McNabb nor his agent, Fletcher Smith, has mentioned anything to the Eagles about a new contract. "We don’t have any indication other than a media conversation that that is going to take place," Banner said.
"Donovan’s whole work - looking at collectively, his personality, leadership skills, work ethic and the way he plays on the field - I agree with him when he says, when the day comes when he is not here anymore, people are going to look back and say these were great times," Banner said. " ... He's a fun guy who wants to win as much as anyone you could ask for in that position."
He expanded on his comments to CSN about the popularity of Reid and McNabb. For the last 6 years, Banner said, the team has been surveying both season ticketholders and those who follow the team closely. Reid and McNabb have "80 plus percent and in some years 90 plus approval ratings."
As for the long-discussed wide receiver issue, Banner said you "would have to be blind" to not think that a player of the caliber of Larry Fitzgerald would be great to have. However, he again said you do not have to have a player like that to succeed based on teams that have recently won the Super Bowl and have to weigh what a big commitment to that position would mean to how you shape the rest of the roster.
He was asked about the impact Terrell Owens had on the Eagles during the 2004 season, which culminated in a Super Bowl loss to New England. Banner said McNabb's quarterback rating was higher in the playoff games when Owens was hurt than it was during the regular season. "I don’t think it’s correct to say that we were more successful in 2004 could attributed soley to the fact that TO was on the team."
Banner also reiterated that the decisions the team has to make this offseason on veterans like Brian Dawkins, Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan will be "the most difficult decisions we’ve made ever."
"We scrutinize more carefully as a player gets older ... Some have said it as if we have a rule or a cutoff. That is not the case." He then cited the high character, leadership skills and mentoring ability of those players.
Banner said he had two reactions when the Phillies won the World Series. One was happiness for the Phillies and the city and partly that "we weren’t going to have to have to listen to how long it had been since a team had won a championship." Second, he mentioned that a big part of winning the title is "my own personal fantasy of what it will be like to have that parade." Seeing it happen only intensified the feeling, he said.