When It Comes To QB Situation, Lurie Can Assert Power

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie has made it clear that Andy Reid holds the hammer when it comes to personnel decisions. Under normal circumstances, he tries not to upset the power structure.

This is what Lurie had to say last January when asked essentially if he would influence Reid’s decision when it came to defensive coordinator. It had yet to be announced that Juan Castillo was coming back for another year.

“You know it’s a constant discussion, but I think one of the important things —  and it’s important in our locker room — is for Andy to have the final say,” said Lurie. “I want our players to understand that he’s responsible for selecting his staff. If I had to tell Andy Reid what to do for offensive or defensive coordinator or something like that I have the wrong coach. I just have the wrong coach if I didn’t trust his judgment.”

We know how the story has played out. Castillo was retained and later fired. The Eagles are 3-5.  The trust has to have taken a hit. The genuine optimism that Reid would restore order and get this team on a track towards the Lombardi Trophy has given way to the reality that the era is nearing its completion.

With that reality comes a shift in dynamics. Lurie has granted Reid final say on football matters in the name of stability, but stability is already 30 miles down the road. This baby is about to get shaken up. Reid and the players’  peace-of-mind is secondary to the viability of this franchise moving forward.

Which brings us to the quarterback situation.

After much hemming and hawing, Reid tied himself to Vick for the remainder of this season. The purpose was to give the QB confidence and the team direction. After a fourth straight loss the direction is pretty well established and Vick’s mindset — much like Reid’s peace-of-mind — is no longer the priority. The priority is to establish a plan at quarterback moving forward.

When it comes to Vick, the Eagles could pay him $16.5 million next season and continue to carry his hefty contract, or they can slip out of it for a sum of $3 million at the end of this season. Seems pretty obvious what they’ll do until you consider that they don’t have a real Plan B. Fans and coaches alike have been encouraged by what they have seen out of Nick Foles, but no one can say with certainty that he is the solution. This is the fate of your franchise you’re talking about; a couple preseason games should not be the basis for a decision this big.

It would be nice to know what you have in No. 9. And there is only one way to figure that out.

Because of Reid’s tenuous position, he is not able to look past the next eight games. He has to coach for the here and now, and it makes sense to choose the veteran over the rookie. But is it in the best interest of the organization?

Lurie’s edict hangs over his head; Reid is no longer able to look big picture. Lurie has to, and therefore might have to break one of his own rules. If he wants to see the kid, he will have to reach beyond his self-imposed confines and order the move.

There is a lot to weigh. Would you be setting a bad precedent — one that could turn off a future head-coaching candidate? Would you be able to win Vick back psychologically if you conclude that you would like to keep him?  Would playing Foles do more harm than good considering the state of the offensive line?

It is a tough decision. But as the team slips further out of playoff contention and with a new era on the horizon, it is a decision that falls to Lurie to make.

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  • dan gleesac

    matt flynn

    • limodriver2750

      Sorry Dan, no more retreads. There are what? 4-5 rookie QB’s playing now? with little or only preseason experience. Even given the state of the Oline, at what point do we find out what he can do? The new regime will be just as reluctant to try him if he isn’t given some snaps. This is another example of Red exhibiting his trademark stubbornness. Keep in mind that he showed this same behavior before he eventually pulled #5 for Kolb.

      • JofreyRice

        It’s a bad year to need a QB from the draft. Some crazy-high percentage of Barkley’s passes are within 10 yards of the LOS–by design. That leads me to believe 1 of 2 things: 1. USC is constructing an offense around what they believe Barkley can do or 2. Barkley has the ability to run a meaningful offense, and take shots, but we won’t know that until after he’s in the NFL.

        Neither one of those sounds good. I was very high on Geno Smith, but he’s come back down to earth a bit. I still believe he’s the best QB that will be available, but he’s got some issues with field vision as well.

        ’13 might be a “bridge year” to draft a QB in ’14 if Foles doesn’t pan out. Tough time to be an Eagles fan.

  • barry_nic

    Tim, are you saying you want Jeff Lurie to make the call on which quarterback plays? You’ve just asked for Jerry Jones. The one good thing about Lurie is that hires and trusts his staff, if this season is a bust, he’ll get a new staff, that’s how it should be.

  • The Guru

    There is zero….let me repeat, ZERO chance the Eagles will bring Vick back. And seriously, why would you want to? If I’m Lurie (and let me preface this by saying he’d never do this) but I’d say to Reid, “Look you’ve been here 14 yrs, but you and I both know this is over. So I’m going to give you the chance to choose. Either you stay here and play Foles the rest of the season….or I fire you and make Marty do it. It’s your choice.”

    And don’t give me this crap about Foles not being able to move out of the pocket and escape the rush. Foles might actually check into the correct play!

    • jimnase

      Foles might actually check into the correct play!—
      the above is clearly a racist statement

      • The Guru

        It has nothing to do with race. It has to do with Michael Vick is dumb as a rock. Foles could be too for all we know, but I know Vick is just too stupid.

      • Dan Jacobs

        Racist? Are you kidding me? Its not an insult to say a stupid QB is stupid when you have the evidence over 2 years to look at. Get off your stupid PC horse and realize facts are facts

    • atlvickfan

      Most of Shady’s yards in the Saints game came from Vick audibling into run plays, but don’t let facts get in the way of your narrative.

      • UncleCarm

        In the first half it did look like Vick did some great audibles. I don’t know what happened to it in the second half, or where to direct the criticism, but somebody, whether coach or player, deserves some.

        • poetx99

          hard to check into a run from an empty backfield. #justsaying.

          • The Guru

            You ever see Manning Brady and Brees move guys into the backfield to block? Riiiiggght. Neither do I!

      • The Guru

        And he got sacked 7 times and hit countless others because he “checked into the right play”? Nice try genius.

  • defroe81

    yea man lets see what we got in foles i dont see no reason not too even if for just one game…

  • Tim Greene

    I get the reasoning but with this O line how much do you think we’d really find out about Foles. If you want to see how he reacts playing behind a bad O line just go watch his Arizona film. Again I get the reasoning,its legitimate reasoning,but I’d still wait for the last three or four games before throwing him out there…shrugs

  • dewey

    Are you NUTS? You are actually calling for the owner to make not just a small football decision, but a major one (perhaps the largest imaginable.) The owner? Who (best case) knows just barely more about Football than a hard-core fan.

  • One Smart Fan

    Lurie is a gutless embarrassment. I would rather have Cristina Lurie running the team. He is afraid to make a decision, afraid to show anger, afraid to kick some butt, more worried about stupid garbage like pink pompoms and solar panels. He is the Al Gore of the NFL…

  • morgan c

    Tim, great article. The reasoning and line of logic you use is exactly on point. I say once we lose that 7th game, we have to switch to Foles, just to see what we have. If Reid won’t do it, Lurie will have to make the call.

  • PhillyinBrasil

    What is Ironic is the Cowboys and the Panthers are actually worse then the Eagles and after RG3,the Redskins are not that good either. If you look at the schedule,guess who the next four games are. The Eagles could very easily be 7 -5 by Dec 2, with the Bucs, Bengals and Redskins again before finishing the season against the Gmen. This Foles talk right now is Ludicrous. Weren’t the Eagles undefeated in the Preseason which should only go to show you that preseason means diddly . I know they have let us down the last month but as long as I remember the Giants won the Superbowl last year at 9-7 beating Green Bay and New England I am not ready to give up or experiment and Andy shouldn’t either. anything is possible in the NFL. Honestly, I don’t think Andy, Marty , or Todd can coach any worse, and our O line cant play any worse. Vick, Shady and the receivers must now know that either day do it own their own or it ain’t getting done. Maybe this next month of rival games will inspire someone to do something right. All I am saying is it ain’t over til the fat man sings and it too soon to sing the ” Replace Michael Vick song”

    • Lew

      Yeah, exactly. The Eagles were undefeated in the preseason. Vick didn’t play in the preseason.

  • Wilbert M.

    Foles will play, but probably not until after the 7th loss, like Morgan said. That means he’ll start the 2nd Dallas game and get 5 starts under his belt, as long as he doesn’t get killed behind the offensive line turnstiles.