It may not have been his intention going in, but Jeffrey Lurie defined the level of success he needs to see in 2012 in order to keep Andy Reid as his head coach. At a minimum, this team has to be .500 for Reid to keep his job.
Lurie, at his annual state of the team address, reiterated that he expects to see a substantially improved team from last season.
Would an 8-8 record, a reporter asked, be good enough for the longtime head coach to come back?
“No, it would not,” Lurie replied.
As a follow-up, Lurie was asked if there are any qualifiers to that statement.
“You just have to make the best decisions you can after the season,” Lurie responded. “As I said, 8-8 was unacceptable.
“I’m not going to make blanket statements, but I really wanted to try and explain to you that 8-8 was unacceptable. I guess if two-thirds of the team is not playing, or…there’s always exceptions, but that was a really unacceptable outcome.”
Reid’s contract runs through 2013. Lurie added that there will be no extension given or decisions made regarding Reid’s contract in-season.
And with that, we jump into the 2012 Eagles campaign.
Speaking in the bowels of Lincoln Financial field in front of the preseason finale against the Jets, Lurie spent much of the time throwing his support around the head coach, particularly in light of the family tragedy that Reid is going through. Lurie said he felt a personal responsibility to be there for the Reids this year, and that the city has responded by rallying around the coach.
“The team, the organization, the players and our fans, the Philadelphia community, have been galvanized to support this family. It’s an unmentionable pain that they are going through,” said Lurie. “It provides a terrific sense of common purpose to have everybody so wanting this to be successful. It’s kind of like ‘Team Andy.’ We so much want this to work out in a great way and maximize the talent we have. And I think we’ll know at the end of the season whether that unity has occurred, and whether that common purpose that we all share and excitement for the season that we all share, comes to fruition. But there’s a real opportunity for success.”
Still, Lurie said that the NFL is a business, and Reid will be evaluated purely as a coach.
“There’s no question that we need substantial improvement. We have a very good team I think on paper, and paper doesn’t get you that far if you can’t maximize it,” said Lurie. “I’m so excited about this season, I think everybody in this organization and this fan base is very excited, but it’s a difficult league and you have to beat the teams that are also very good.”
Reid’s agent, Bob Lamonte, recently suggested that his client would be the Eagles’ head coach as long as he wanted, or at least as long as Lurie was the owner. Lurie immediately issued a statement throwing cold water on that notion. He had this to say about it on Thursday.
“That’s not the way I operate,” said Lurie. “We have a very set philosophy. We don’t talk publicly about contracts with coaches; we don’t talk about the performance of the key executives and coaches. We don’t do that. And there would never have been a situation where I would make a commitment that was not philosophically consistent with what I’ve always done, which is be very analytical and stand back and make judgments.
“It’s the nature of the coaching profession. It’s not the most stable profession.”
Lamonte also threw out the idea of Reid transitioning to the front office at some point. Lurie said that he and Reid have never discussed the idea.