Eagles Wake-Up Call: Lurie Calls 2011 a ‘Catch-Up Year’

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy ReidIt’s tough to get an exact read on what Jeffrey Lurie’s expectations were in 2011.

The simplest way to put it is probably this: The Eagles owner was disappointed with the results, but he understands why the team wasn’t more successful.

“It didn’t create the kind of season we expected last year,” Lurie said Thursday, after mentioning how the team added Nnamdi Asomugha, Cullen Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Evan Mathis and Jason Babin last summer. “But we didn’t do it for a single year advancement. We did it for the long term and how to elevate a team. That was a unique chance to do that.”

Last summer, Lurie tried to temper expectations when the Eagles were receiving a lot of hype – both locally and nationally – for their moves. Thanks to Vince Young and others, that effort didn’t really work.

“I’ll reiterate what I said last year when everyone was calling us a team that was the best in the NFL going into the season: I saw it as a catch-up year,” Lurie said. “I saw us as needing to catch up, as I told you in this press conference last year, to Green Bay and New Orleans. I thought they were the two teams we had to catch because of those dynamic passing offenses.”

After the 2010 season, Andy Reid indicated that the Eagles did a good job of re-tooling in the first year post-Donovan McNabb. The Birds had won the division and earned a home playoff game, which they lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.

And after 2011, Lurie says the team’s 8-8 record was “unacceptable.” But he also acknowledges it was a “catch-up year.”

By all indications, there will be no valid excuse if the Eagles underachieve in 2012. And changes will be made.

Then again, it’s probably wiser just to wait and see what everyone’s saying after the season.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Tim caught up with Trent Edwards after Thursday night’s game. Has the veteran earned a spot over Mike Kafka as the No. 3 QB?

We had a lot of Lurie coverage. The owner held pretty firm that Reid would not return if he finished 8-8 or worse. T-Mac’s got details.

Lurie also made it clear that the team needs more from Michael Vick. And when asked about Juan Castillo, he brought up the leadership of Todd Bowles.

Meanwhile, Tim’s mailbag compared the 2012 Eagles wide receivers to the 2004 group. Tim also unveiled his 53-man roster projection.

And finally, could the Eagles look to deal one of their running backs?

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano has the Eagles going 11-5 and finishing second in the division to the Giants (12-4):

I just feel like the gap between best-case and worst-case scenarios at the quarterback position is significant enough to merit a slight downgrade in preseason predictions. I still have the Eagles making the NFC playoff field as a wild card, and one no one would want to play if they go in healthy.

Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com has quarterback power rankings out. The categories, from best to worst, are Top Shelf, Next Level, Knocking on the Door, Good Enough, Middle of the Pack, The Hope and Prove us Wrong. Vick falls in the Good Enough category with Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco and Andrew Luck. There are 11 quarterbacks ahead of him.

“Vick is too unpredictable and injury-prone to rank higher,” writes Rosenthal.

Bloomberg looked at the smartest spenders in sports, using payroll to figure out how much teams have spent for wins in the past five seasons. The Eagles ranked 46th out of 122 franchises. The Phillies were 22nd, the Flyers 24th and the Sixers 57th.

COMING UP

No practice, but the Eagles have until 9 p.m. tonight to get their roster down to 53. The next 72 hours could be busy with trades, cuts and waiver-wire pickups. We’ll have it all covered right here.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.