As Eagles general manager Howie Roseman met with reporters at the combine in Indianapolis, team president Joe Banner did one more radio interview yesterday and tried to clarify some of the comments he made last week.
In a previous interview on WIP with Howard Eskin and Ike Reese, Banner made comments that compared the Eagles' success to that of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Yesterday, on 97.5 The Fanatic with Mike Missanelli, Banner was much more guarded. Several times, he prefaced comments by saying that his words would probably be misinterpreted. And when Missanelli began the interview by asking Banner about the Steelers comments, the Eagles' president was ready. He said he had last week's comments in front of him because he was expecting the question and wanted to point out exactly what he said the first time.
"I do not believe it is fair to characterize what I said as saying that I believe our success is equal," Banner said. "I mean, I don't know how [I] can say I would trade our success for theirs, I would trade our playoff appearances for their Super Bowl appearances, and then have somebody walk away from that quote and claim that you were trying to equate the two organizations. It's clear. I said they were better. It's also clear that I wasn't comfortable making it sound as if we had had no achievements that we had a right to feel good about."
Banner also talked about a variety of other topics, offering answers to questions about Andy Reid's dealings with the media, the Birds' spending and the insanity comment he made a couple years ago.
Here's a rundown:
THE DEFINITION OF INSANITY
After the Eagles lost to the Cardinals in the NFC championship back in 2009, Banner said the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. Many took the comment to mean changes were coming with Donovan McNabb and Reid.
McNabb stayed another year but then was traded. Reid has stuck around. So does Banner stand by his comments two years later?
"Since I made that statement, there's almost not a single thing other than the head coach that's the same," Banner said. "We've got a different quarterback. We've got almost a completely different roster. We've got a different training staff. We've got a different weight-lifting staff. We have almost a dramatically different coaching staff, other than the head coach.
"I feel like I made a statement that I honored, that I lived up to, that was true. People want us to be open. I mean I tipped people off - we're about to make a lot of major changes. Not in five minutes, it happened over a couple of seasons."
Banner continued to list the other changes the Eagles have made, but maintained that Reid still gives them the best chance to win a Super Bowl.
"If something is working well, but not as well as you want, you have to make sure you're changing the things that are accounting for the failure to be as successful as you want to be, and not changing the things that are actually accounting for the degree of success you're having," Banner said later.
ANDY'S DEALINGS WITH THE MEDIA
I thought one of Banner's most interesting answers came when Missanelli asked him why the Eagles were such a secretive organization, and specifically, why Reid never says anything meaningful when addressing the media.
Banner defended Reid, but acknowledged that it was a valid criticism and something that could be handled differently.
"I'm not here to tell you, and I don't believe we don't make any mistakes and that we can't do anything better," Banner said. "And I think what you just said is a fair criticism. You gotta keep in mind Andy's focus is anything he can do to win as many games as possible. His own judgment about how to deal with the media in a way that serves that goal, I understand, can be frustrating to the media and the fans. And I think that's a legitimate criticism, but the motivation is to do the best we can in terms of winning games."
Banner went on to explain that comments Reid makes - such as when he said McNabb would be the starting quarterback and when he said Sean McDermott would remain the defensive coordinator - are always intended to put the Eagles in a position to win.
AND THE REST...
Do the Eagles only care about making money and not winning a Super Bowl?
Banner said the goal has always been to win the Super Bowl. He referenced trading for Terrell Owens, signing Jevon Kearse, trading for Jason Peters, signing Leonard Weaver and making dramatic changes to the coaching staff this offseason.
The numbers say coaches usually win a Super Bowl within five years. Why is Reid different?
Banner said most other coaches haven't gotten as close as Andy on a consistent basis, or won as many games as he has. Reid's demonstrated enough to Banner and others that they believe he can win a Super Bowl here, even though he hasn't done so yet.
Has Reid lost any power?
Banner said he has not and that Reid has as much power as ever. But he also added that Reid's always solicited input from the people around him. He said Reid wouldn't stay here if the Eagles gave him authority and then tried to take it away.
Will his first order of business be to re-work DeSean Jackson's deal once the CBA is resolved?
Banner made a Drew Rosenhaus joke and then gave a general answer about making the team better once they were able to.
At one point, he referenced last year's Flyers, saying some thought they had the most talented team in the end, but they didn't win the Stanley Cup.
He also referenced John Fox's resume with the Panthers, pointing out that Fox hadn't been nearly as successful as Reid but still stuck around for nine seasons.
When asked about Reid's personnel decisions, Banner made an analogy to a .345 hitter, saying Missanelli was focusing on the misses, but pointing out that Reid's track record was still good.
On Juan Castillo, Banner conceded that there was nothing he could say to convince people that he was the right choice and adding that it was a prove-it-to-me situation.
And finally, in case you missed it, I provided a breakdown Thursday of Michael Vick and if he held on to the ball too much last season.
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