The theme of tonight's Comcast SportsNet interview with Eagles president Joe Banner was that change is not coming to the franchise.
Don't expect an elite wide receiver. Don't look for the Kevin Kolb era to begin. And don't expect Andy Reid to be headed out of town anytime soon.
I wrote a couple posts today about the interview after CSN aired snippets of it last night -- one focused on Banner addressing Reid and McNabb's future and another on his comparison of Reid to John Madden -- but he had some other interesting things to say as the sitdown with Michael Barkann aired in its entirety this evening.
The focus in large part was the head coach. Banner addressed the possible issue of Reid having too many responsibilities.
""Here’s my answer. It’s a totally valid question. The key to the answer to the question is the quality of the people he’s surrounded himself with," Banner said.. "… Really what we do for Andy is kind of narrow the width of the question and then get him focused on the things that he has to evaluate, watch film on, make decisions on. And he feels very confident with the people kind of narrowing the question. So if he was trying to do all of those things and was surrounded with mediocre people or less quantity even of good people, it probably wouldn’t be a manageable situation. …I don’t have concerns with the number of hats he’s wearing."
While the hierarchy in the Eagles' front office has sometimes been fuzzy, Banner said Reid has the final say on all matters.
"Absolutely. Every decision we make," Banner said. "People have opinions and views and sometimes lobby for things or argue for things, but in the end, he evaluates all the information, takes all the input and he makes the decision and that’s what we do."
Banner also added that fans and the media shouldn't read anything into the fact that Tom Heckert was not at the Senior Bowl. Per Banner, Heckert was simply needed more in Philadelphia last week.
When asked if there will be any front office changes this offseason, Banner said, "There will not be."
And how long will Reid be the team's head coach?
"My hope is it's a long time," Banner said.
Later in the interview, Banner was asked about the general process he goes through in the offseason and the need to tweak the roster. Unwarranted, he brought up the Terrell Owens situation.
"When we signed T.O., people don’t realize, one of the reasons we signed T.O. was we decided that maybe the team was too passive in its confidence and that we actually needed somebody who’s gonna shake things up a little bit," Banner said. "There was an area about signing T.O. that was more than how he played wide receiver."
Here are a couple more excerpts from the interview. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts (as if I have to tell you to do so).
Q: Do the Eagles need to add an elite wide receiver?
A: "If you look at the teams that have won the Super Bowl and been in the Super Bowls, a significant minority of them will have those guys. So do you want one of those guys? Of course. There’s a very, very small number of those guys. Can you win without one of those guys? Absolutely. So we signed T.O. I think we acknowledged as it was reported, we had interest this offseason in Randy Moss. We’ve had interest in other players that have been speculated."
Q: Is it tough to sell the fans on no change?
A: "We spend more money than probably any team in professional sports doing focus groups and research, and then we also have the obvious measurables out there like TV ratings and ticket waiting lists and merchandise sales. We hire a national, independent, not from Philadelphia, company that does most of the sports research for... I don’t care whether it’s the Budweisers of the world, or the Yankees of the world, whoever’s doing it. The results are just overwhelming. I mean the popularity of Andy Reid in this city is as high as any coach in any sport in the country. The popularity of Donovan McNabb is as high as any athlete almost anywhere ever here in Philadelphia. …When you put things on balance and compare them to the rest of our league and professional sports and see what they’ve achieved, it’s phenomenal. And our fans overwhelmingly recognize that.