Originally posted Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012.
Jeffrey Lurie said that the Eagles must show "substantial improvement" for Andy Reid to return next season, and that another 8-8 record would not be enough for the long-time coach to see a 15th season in Philadelphia.
"I don't have a level or anything like that," Lurie said Thursday during his annual state of the Eagles press conference. "I want to be clear about that. You try to make the best judgement you can after the season."
Lurie said in January that the Eagles' 2011 8-8 finish was "unacceptable," although the owner chose to retain Reid. He was asked if a .500 record would be acceptable following this season.
"No, it would not," Lurie said.
Lurie was later asked if there would be qualifiers -- injuries, etc. -- if the Eagles finished at .500 or below.
"You just got to make the best decisions you can after the season," Lurie said. "As I said, 8-8 was unacceptable. ... Yeah, I guess, if two-thirds of the team is not playing, there's always exceptions."
The Eagles play the New York Jets tonight in their preseason finale. They open the season on Sept. 9 at Cleveland.
"There's no question what I said -- we need substantial improvement," Lurie said. "We have a very good team, I think, on paper. Paper doesn't get you that far if you can't maximize it."
It will be up to Reid to maximize the talent he and general manager Howie Roseman have assembled for this season. The team made a number of moves following the NFL lockout last summer and the Eagles, on paper, were considered one the best in the NFL. But they got off to a wretched start, were 4-8 in early December, and only a four-game winning streak to end the season saved the Eagles from a losing record.
After a 5-11 record in 1999 -- Reid's first season here -- the Eagles won no fewer than 11 games in the next five seasons. They reached the NFC championship four straight years, finally reaching the Super Bowl in 2004.
Reid's Eagles, though, have won 11 games in a season only once since. They advanced to the NFC title game only once -- in 2008.
Reid has two years left on his contract. Lurie was asked if it was accurate that he would not negotiate a contract extension during this season.
"That would be accurate," Lurie said. "I like to evaluate everything. There's just so many things to look at and I think that I always reserve the judgement to look at things after they unfolded. ... You won't hear me talking about this during the season."
Bob LaMonte, Reid's agent, showed up at training camp earlier this month and spoke candidly about his client's contract situation. He said that Lurie had always told him that as long as he owned the Eagles Reid would be his coach.
Lurie released a terse statement a few hours after LaMonte met with reporters at Lehigh University that said, "As much respect as all of us have for Andy Reid, it is the nature of the profession that all coaches, executives and players are evaluated each year."
Lurie spoke about the Eagles' offseason of change, one that including Joe Banner stepping down as team president in June and then the announcement on July 4 that he and his wife, Christina were divorcing after 19 years of marriage.
The Luries, in a statement, said that their split would not affect the ownership nor the operations of the Eagles.
"There is no change whatsoever in the operation of the Eagles, the ownership of the Eagles," Lurie reiterated Thursday. "I've always structured this franchise around having complete control, 100 percent voting and total, final decision-making."
There was a NFL Network report earlier this month that Lurie would maintain majority ownership of the franchise and that he would continue to have final say in all matters pertaining to the team following the Luries' settlement. Christina Lurie would own a minority share in the team.
"I've always had a couple of limited partners that were non-voting and not involved in football decisions, particularly," Lurie said. "That continues. Christina will also be a limited partner as she's been."