In one breath earlier this week, Jeffrey Lurie bubbled with pride.
"I am more than excited about the direction of the franchise," the Eagles owner said during his media availability in Phoenix. "It's great to walk around here having the feeling that I do surrounded by a terrific young quarterback and a coach that really captured the locker room."
Lurie went on to praise Howie Roseman, the man in charge of football operations, for pulling off the trade that got Carson Wentz to Philadelphia and for the deal that got the Eagles a first-round draft pick back from Minnesota for Sam Bradford. He also lauded the hiring of Joe Douglas, the vice president of player personnel who is setting up the Eagles' draft board this April.
Proud, proud, proud.
Nothing wrong with any of that. If the owner of his own football team is unhappy with the people he hired, then you have the very definition of an organization in trouble.
It was what Lurie said in his next breath that lost me. The owner parroted Roseman's sentiments from earlier this offseason about the Eagles needing to remain patient as they attempt to build a quality football team around Wentz.
This is the man who has said for two decades that the foundation of a quality NFL team is a franchise quarterback and now he believes he has one. If that's true, then the Eagles' flight plan should be ready to soar as soon as this fall, especially after Roseman and Douglas provided Wentz with two solid receivers (Alshon Jeffrey and Torrey Smith) to line up alongside Jordan Matthews.
Instead, Lurie said the Eagles must be patient.
"We're in the mode where we're not one player away," Lurie said. "We have lots of holes. You have to recognize that first. We have to draft really well over the next few years to accomplish what we want to accomplish early on in Carson's career."
It is never all about the quarterback, but the true franchise ones make a huge impact early and stick around for a long time. They do not require patience. They almost immediately take their teams to another level even if they do not immediately win a Super Bowl.
Is Carson Wentz that guy?
There's no doubt that Lurie, Roseman, and the entire Eagles organization believe that's the case and if they're right, then a 2017 playoff appearance is not too much to ask.
Look at the best NFL quarterbacks of this century and they almost all were on their way to achieving that status by their second season.
Tom Brady won a Super Bowl in his second season, which was his first as a starter. Lurie and Roseman might argue that he had a great cast around him and perhaps that's true. But it's also true that the Patriots had gone 5-11 the year before, so it's hard to imagine they plugged all their holes in one offseason.
Peyton Manning took Indianapolis to the playoffs in his second season after the Colts had gone 3-13 in his rookie year.
By his third season in San Diego, Drew Brees took the Chargers to the playoffs.
Lurie used Matt Ryan as an example for his patience argument.
"Matt Ryan has done one hell of a job and has had a great career," the Eagles owner said. "Finally got to the Super Bowl at age 31. A lot of ups and downs."
Mostly ups early in his career. Ryan led the Falcons to the playoffs as a rookie after the team had gone 4-12 the year before his arrival. Surely Atlanta must have still had some holes when he was a rookie, but as a franchise quarterback he was good enough to make it significantly better. The Falcons were in the playoffs in four of Ryan's first five seasons.
Russell Wilson arrived in Seattle in 2012 after the Seahawks had gone 7-9 the year before. Seattle has been to the playoffs in each of his first seasons, twice making Super Bowl appearances.
The great ones arrive ready to win and are good enough to turn things around almost immediately. The Eagles were 7-9 a year ago, so they probably did not lead the league in holes needed to be filled. Wentz is 24 and showed glimpses of greatness in his first season with the Eagles. If he's as elite as the Eagles believe he is, it's not too soon or too much to ask for him to take a giant leap forward in 2017.