Monday, September 15, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Eagles' Lurie: 'I want Andy back'

As expected, Eagles chairman Jeffrey Lurie said Andy Reid will return for his 14th season as head coach.

Eagles' Lurie: 'I want Andy back'

As expected, Eagles chairman Jeffrey Lurie said Andy Reid will return for his 14th season as head coach.

Reid has a record of 126-81-1, but the Eagles have not won a playoff game since 2008 and are coming off a disappointing 8-8 season.

Reid has had only one losing season after his first year in 1999 and the Eagles have been to the playoffs nine times.

After high expectations and significant spending at the end of the lockout, the Eagles struggled to a 4-8 start before winning the final four games.

More coverage
 
Phil Sheridan: Cynics might be right about Lurie
 
Birds' Eye View: Lurie would keep DeSean Jackson
Video: Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie addresses the media

“I want to see our team coached by Andy Reid and I can’t wait to see that team play,” Lurie said. “I wish that was next week, not next season. There is no doubt in my mind that if our focus is on winning a championship next year, the best coach is Andy.”

Later he said, “It’s a really confident yes. He has all the ingredients to take this team and take them far.”

He declined to say Reid had to win the Super Bowl next season. “Every year the goal is to win the Super Bowl. There are no ultimatums. That is the plan.”

Reid has two years remaining on his contract and Lurie said he saw Reid coaching the balance of the deal. Asked about whether he expected that to change, Lurie said, “Not at this point in time.”

Reid is scheduled to address reporters later this week.

Lurie also said general manager Howie Roseman will return. "Absolutely." Team president Joe Banner also will be back.

Throughout a session with reporters of more than 30 minutes, Lurie used the terms "disappointing," "unacceptable," "anger," "frustrating" and said there were "no excuses."

Lurie said he “spent weeks” trying to analyze Reid’s status and said he met with “all sorts of people internally and externally. He said he does an analysis of the “whole gamut” every year, but said this year might have been the “most intense analysis.”

He cited three factors, the track record of the coach; the more shorter-term history of the coach and “most important is the intangibles.”

“Amidst feeling all the frustration and anger as a fan, I tried to come to the best conclusion,” Lurie said.

“If I didn’t think next year would be substantially better, I would be up here announcing a coaching change or other changes,” said Lurie, who said he was holding everybody accountable, especially for the scheme changes that were put in place with a short training camp.

He also said, “It’s not enough just to make the playoffs. That is not my goal, that is not our fans’ goals. It is a precursor … ”

Lurie said only the Ravens have made the playoffs more often than the Eagles since 2008. He said only the Packers have been the playoffs more often in the NFC since 2006. 

"This coach and his staff have an incredible record of getting in the tournament," Lurie said.

In outlining the intangibles, Lurie said, “How do they gel and how do they feel about this coach? I want a coach who coaches hard and I want players to respond to hard coaching… I am at practice most days, this was, contrary to the 8-8 record, this was one of the best groups in terms of motivation, focus, attention to detail … But the consistent loss of games in the fourth games was bitter for me and bitter for all of us … Does he have the fire in the belly? And does he have what it takes to have a team to take far into the playoffs and win the Super Bowl? Andy Reid has the love of the players and respect and has the fire in his belly to be the best. What is the view of Andy Reid around the league? Do players around the league want to come here to play for Andy … The short free agency period was an eye opener. He has a reputation around the league of almost always getting the team to the tournament and having a shot at the Super Bowl and respected the players in a hard way, not in a soft way … Those are some of the intangibles. Attracting talent, having the energy to succeed in a huge way, having the anger to move forward, the motivation, the dedication and the focus and the talent. My answer to those questions is yes.”

Lurie said the fans’ fatigue with Reid was “factored in.”

“We are a football team that has a large fan base and a passionate football team … You factor it in, but you put it in perspective,” he said, adding that the Reid that communicates in press conferences or defends his players and managing the team “is not the Andy Reid that I am evaluating.”

“When you can sacrifice your own popularity for your player that goes a long way in the locker room,” Lurie said. “I have a coach who handles press conferences and the media in a protective way … That is the dynamic here and we have to realize that … To use a line of his, Andy has to do a better job of that.”

Lurie also “if I felt there was too much rigidity, arrongance or a sense of separateness, I would be changing coaches.”

Lurie said there is an opportunity for Reid to still be protective of his players, but perhaps be more forthcoming. He said Reid can probably learn from other coaches who have won, but are not as protective of their players.

He said Reid is the most "non-arrogant" man and is very self-critical.

Lurie said, “There is no fear on my part in exchanging in [the prospect] of a change or going through a coaching search. I like taking risks. No need to go to the brink and say a change is about to be made. Not the case.”

COACHING STAFF

Lurie said the coaching staff is for Reid to decide, but said he has “full confidence that he will make the right decision there.”

He said if he had to tell Reid who his assistant coaches should be and what schemes to play then “I have the wrong head coach.” He said the players need to know that Reid is in charge of the staff.

Lurie said defensive coordinator Juan Castillo is a “great coach” and “an impressive man.” He suggested that Castillo might have been put in an impossible position to succeed early with the new scheme and the new players.

He said Reid has a list of possible successors when he fired Sean McDermott and that some of them were not available and there were other factors that intervened.

"There was a miscalculation in implementing major scheme changes in a lockout situation."

He said Reid has never been afraid to make changes and that makes him unique among head coaches.

OVERALL

“It’s completely unacceptable to be 8-8 and watch the teams playing next week,” he said.

“This season was without question the most disappointing season since I owned the team … You go through all the range of emotions during the season, but the primary emotions are anger and frustrating. You are coming off an NFC East championship, first place the year before, going to NFC championship the year before you are not in any way thinking if you are aggressive in free agency, make a trade for a Pro Bowl cornerback and continue to improve the team with good young players and Michael Vick coming off a season when he was second in MVP to Tom Brady. Nobody could have imagined the season already ended. It’s not only unacceptable, it’s disappointing. Anybody who doesn’t feel the disappointment and anger is just not getting what we are all about.”

Lurie termed the final four games "fool's gold."

"There are a lot of things to be liked about the last month. But the reality is we were not playing some of the best teams in the league. We proved we can dominate the lat four games of the season against teams that were not that competitive … to hold on to that as the reason to be completely optimistic is fool's gold. You have to take that in real steps and what was taking place ...

That played a role in taking a real hard look at the season. I do it every year, but this was the most complicated of any season in memory. The differential between expectations and result was dramatic."

About this blog
Eagletarian is your home for comprehensive coverage of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Les Bowen Daily News Staff Writer
Paul Domowitch Daily News NFL Columnist
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com:
Stay Connected