Eagles Wake-Up Call: Lurie Vs. Banner Intensifies

When Jeffrey Lurie addressed the media earlier this week, much was made about his ringing endorsement of general manager Howie Roseman.

“I keep voluminous notes on talent evaluation on not just who we draft, but who is valued in each draft by each person that is in the organization that’s working here,” Lurie said. “I came to the conclusion that the person that was providing by far the best talent evaluation in the building was Howie Roseman. I decided to streamline the whole decision-making process for the 2012 draft and offseason and that’s the first draft and offseason I hold Howie completely accountable for.”

The obvious follow-up question was this: If Roseman wasn’t responsible for the 2011 draft, which netted Danny Watkins and Jaiquawn Jarrett with the first two picks, then who was?

“I want to take a much higher road than that and just say that I’ve had to really go through exactly everyone’s talent evaluations and realized that we needed a real streamlining of the process,” Lurie said.

Some assumed he was referring to Andy Reid. But the better guess is he was talking about Joe Banner.

Remember, Lurie has the scorecard. He’s one of only a handful of people who knows which members of the organization were responsible for the decisions that have the Eagles where they are today – a team that just finished 4-12 and is 12-20 in the past two seasons.

So it’s important to look at actions as much as words. After last year’s 8-8 campaign, Banner was shown the door. And check out what the former Eagles president said about his involvement in the draft in Cleveland.

“I will be one of the four or five people in that room,” Banner told the Plain-Dealer. “I’ll have a voice. In some instances, it will go through me, but our goal is always to drive a consensus. That’s always been my role as it related to the football part of the operations.”

Sounds like someone who perhaps had lost his voice at his previous stop.

It’s certainly plausible that Roseman got overruled by Banner and Reid at times. Should the GM get a free pass? Of course not. That would suggest he’s just been sitting at his desk filling out crossword puzzles for the last three years. But he did have two decision-makers with more power above him.

And remember, Lurie has shown in the past year that he’s willing to cut ties with people who are not getting the job done. Part of this is definitely to put a positive spin on the future of the franchise. But Lurie has no clear motivation to give Roseman more power unless he thinks the GM can help him win. Couldn’t he just as easily have said, “We’re a 4-12 team. No one has done their job well, but we still think Howie has a bright future.”

The answer is yes, but he decided to offer a much stronger endorsement.

Going forward, it should come as no surprise that Lurie and Banner (now in Cleveland) are targeting the same candidates. They have been through this dance together with both Ray Rhodes and then Reid. They both know what they’re looking for and are highly motivated to find a great leader.

Yesterday, we found out both teams had already interviewed Bill O’Brien before he decided to go back to Penn State. That news is noteworthy, but perhaps more interesting is how the news got out. No one knew the Browns had interviewed O’Brien until about 6:30 last night. No one knew the Eagles had interviewed him until after O’Brien announced he was returning to Happy Valley.

The battle is very much on.

Now the attention shifts to Oregon coach Chip Kelly. The Browns are expected to interview him today. And the Eagles will reportedly talk to him before Sunday when they travel to Denver to meet with Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.

Can’t you just picture the scene in Glendale, Ariz.? Banner and Browns owner Jimmy Haslam having lunch with Kelly at some upscale restaurant. Lurie and Roseman sitting at the bar with fake mustaches and glasses on, holding newspapers in front of their faces as they spy on their competition.

After a season filled with tired storylines, things are about to get interesting around here. Stay tuned.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Bill O’Brien is staying put as the head coach of the Nittany Lions.

Peyton Manning says Mike McCoy is ready to be a head coach.

You can find all the latest coaching buzz in our special section.

Eagles center Jason Kelce is not concerned about being effective in a new scheme next year.

Tim weighs in on the Eagles’ character problem.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Kelly addressed his future after Oregon’s 35-17 Fiesta Bowl win. From Les Bowen of the Daily News:

Asked by the Daily News if he has an impression of Eagles general manager Howie Roseman, from Roseman’s scouting trips to Oregon, Kelly said: “I can’t do an impression of him. I’ve met Howie twice. He was here a couple of years ago and I think he was here in September — my interaction with those guys is really, 5, 10 minutes – ’these are the players you might want to look at.’ ”

It would have been pretty cool if Kelly did launch into a Roseman impression.

Bill Barnwell of Grantland.com looks at the Eagles’ options for replacing Reid:

Philadelphia will look at a variety of candidates. They would be a nice fit for Chip Kelly, who would allow the Eagles to give Michael Vick one final shot in an offense that could play to his strengths. If they follow the head coaching maxim, they would follow the Reid era by targeting a defensive-minded disciplinarian, which would lead them toward Cowher or Lovie Smith. I think whoever they hire will be a short-term upgrade on Reid, just by virtue of bringing in some fresh ideas and new motivational tactics to a group of players who had been used to the Reid Way. In the long-term, though, it’s going to be very difficult for the Eagles to find somebody who represents an upgrade on their departed head coach.

COMING UP

Nothing scheduled, lots to cover. That’s how it’ll be around here for awhile.

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  • barry_nic

    Well it looks like Roseman’s first real solo test is getting a head coach. I hope he does great w/out Reid and Banner, because that will mean the team is doing well. Good luck Howie!

  • JohnGiam

    I have been as critical of howie as anyone,..everyone makes mistakes, but the key is to learn from them and not be stuborn enough to keep repeating the same mistakes. Howie stood up, took the bullets for mistakes, but then also talked about what a learning lesson it as been…who am I to say that a bright, ambitious, young dude like Howie cant learn from his mistakes and become a good GM. i was thrillled with last years draft, so I am done bashing Howie,….gonna fall back and see what he can do!

    • MAC

      I just have zero interest in Chip Kelley and the spread option. I just pray the Browns do not let him leave Cleveland. I want a coach who will play to our roster strength and run the ball with Shady and Brown. I feel like Kelly will keep Vick and play a gimmick offense and set us back 3 or 4 more years. Just my opionion.

      • Johngiam

        I used to feel that way…but I’m starting to warm to the idea, but only of he scraps most of his spread and option crap, and adapts…He has been tutored by some explosive offensive coaches, as well as some real Old school ball coaches, so he should be scheme flexible, which is all that really matters to me at the end of the day. Reid was a coach who had his system, and that’s how we were going to play regardless of what we had on our roster..offensively, just get me a well versed, knowledgable offensive mind, quick on his feet with in game adjustments, SCHEME FLEXABLE….who doesn’t have a system. Who’s system happens to be, what’s best for his current roster!

        I thik I would rather have McCoy. But if Chip is coming to Philly, he better get serious NFL lIfers as coordinators on both sides of the ball to help him transition.

      • knighn

        Chip Kelley isn’t Andy Reid and he certainly doesn’t RUN the same version of the spread offense as other coaches. If anything, Chip Kelley is RUN heavy, and we’re not talking about with the QB.
        Lawlor has some great stuff, Facts first, and then opinion on Kelley. http://igglesblitz.com/
        Based on this, it doesn’t look like Kelley would like Vick – he turns the ball over and takes too many sacks. In the NFL, Kelley might prefer the immobile QB over the one who takes sacks and turns the ball over.

      • Keith Petres

        Agreed. I would really hate to get a coach that depends on a mobile QB to win in the NFL. RGIII ran a very exciting offense until he got a concussion and sprained his knee (whoops – turns out the defenses in the NFL hit pretty darn hard).

        After Randall, early Donovan (before he became slower and a good passer), and Vick, I would really love to finally get a franchise QB that’s a pure pocket passer, like what it should be back there.

        (this post probably isn’t fair to Chip Kelly, but I don’t do college football, this is just based on what I’ve heard people say about him)

  • Johngiam

    What really make this interesting is the fact that Obrien is off the market…Now Lurie, and Banner will be fighting over the same Bone, instead of fighting over 2 bones, there was a consolation prize in place…I imagine that Kelly and McCoy stand alone onto of the eagles wish list….if we don’t pounce, and pull a coup by Monday, this can turn into an ugly process in which we are picking from left overs…snatch up McCoy or Chip now, so they can put together a good staff before not only the best HC candidates are snatched up, but also the good assistance for the HC staff, which to me is almost as important as the HC. Today is the day Howie…Today you need to make moves, and the rest of the weekend you iron out the contract, announce the signing on Monday..

    I also hear that Jay Grudn is a dark hrse. WE HAVE ZERO INTEREST IN JON GRUDEN, that has been made official, but we do have Jay on our Radar…so he is probably the fall back plan if we don’t get Kely, or McCoy in the next two days…can’t even talk to jay til the bengals lose

    • 1972

      The last coach we picked was unexpected. Obrien and kelly could be smoke screens for another candidate.

      A watched your guy elam the other night( he looked good) no way he’s dropping to the 2nd round now.

      ALot of the draft boards have us getting tony jefferson, but id rather have eric reid.

      Im ready to start over with jarius byrd or landry, eric reid, boykin and marsh.

      Marsh cant be any worse than nnamdi At least he’s young and can run

      • Dawkins20Fan

        Reid wasn’t so unexpected. The initial reports last time focused on four candidates the Eagles plan to interview: Jim Haslett (then DC of Stelelers); Dom Capers (then recently fired HC of Panthers); Reid and Willie Shaw (then DC of Raiders). Reid was considered the most intriguing because he was the least known of the four but was speculated to have the highest ceiling.

      • MAC

        I would love Byrd also guys but there is zero chance we do. The franchise tag for a safety is only around $9 million and the bills will absolutly at the very least franchise him. I lived in Buffalo up until 2 years ago and I know how they value Byrd from people I still talk to there. It has been reported that Buffalo priority this off season is Byrd either with a long term deal or franchise tag. Either way we have no chance at him unfortunately.

        • Johngiam

          I wouldn’t be so sure MAC! Bills also have a road grading Olineman hat they call their secret weapon in the run game who needs to be re-signed..I’m not sure that Buffalo wants to make any player, one of the top two paid guys at a certain position in the league…Does small market Buffalo really want to make Byrd the highest paid safety in the game? Which is what it will take to keep him. don’t tell me there is no shot we get Byrd when we pried the best Olineman in football away from them. They didn’t want to make Peters the highest paid tackle in the league, so I don’t think you can say with certainty that there is no shot we can get Byrd…If he played for a regular to big sized market, I would def agree….but I don’t put it past buffalo to let him wak, or try and get something for him. They are one of the few teams capable of such stupidity.

          For me, Byrd should be by far, Howie’s number 1 target in Free agency! airing him with Elam in EAGLES GREEN has to be a major priority…I don’t think it’s it of the question for Elam to last til the 4th pick of the 2nd round…Guys like Vaccaro will still be rated higher then him, and won’t be taken til ATleast pick number 15… then again, when you pick so high in the second round, it isnt very hard to trade back into the end f the first…it’s important thathOwie knows exactly which teams will take Elam if he falls to them, so we can trade up if needed to get him. he absolutely has to be an EAGLE!

          it’s IMPERATIVE THat we get out of this draft with a stud for every phase of the defense…star Latululei, Matt Elam, chase Thomas……I wouldn’t care what happens in the rest of the draft if we came away with those 3…If we had to package the rest of our draft to get those 3, i would be ok(you wouldnt have to give up all your picks to do it anywa). I’m still furious that we couldn’t use a 6th round pick on Vontaze Burfict! A lot of scouts around the league should be fired because of him, when there were a lot of fans CONVINCED that he would translate like a beast in the nfl.

          There are a lot of really good Olineman in free agency, sure things that you don’t have to wait to develope. We need to come away from fee agency with a top Olineman, and Jarius Byrd….I also think its important, but I don’t know if possible, to trade one of our veterans to AQUIRE a 2nd or 3rd round pick, such as Trent cole, Macklin, I’d gladly give up Celek…and then go after a Dustin Keller, better yet Jared Cook. the way Celek came up small, when it was his time to lead when our starting QB got hurt nd the rookie came in, told me all I need to know about Brent Celek!!! The fact that he is always being held back by injuries, and was pathetic at b
          Oking this year doesn’t help his case either. he was abused everytime he tried to block. Then again, Mudd had him blocking dudes, he had no business blocking to begin with..iF we have to keep Celek one rode yea, fine. We got bigger fish to fry…but I would love to upgrade him, and if we can’t this offseason, it will have to happen NEXT OFFSEASON!

          I really hope thenext coach values a real blocking TE! That will tell us a whole lot about his offensive Philosophies. Reid simply never valued one, then again why would he waste a roster spot on one if we refuse to run the ball. No matter how good our backs are? there is a huge difference between a TE that is a good blocker, and a REAL BLOCKING TE who essentially acts as a 6th lineman. efficient ones come un drafted and cheap, so there is no reason we. Can’t have one on our roster…If we do, or not will tell us a heckuva lot about our new coaches offensive philosophies and how much he values the run

  • Dan

    I assumed that Lurie was talking about Banner immediately. While Reid was in charge and should be held accountable, the man was coaching football for 7 months (and more) of the year and probably evaluating his own team, not watching hours and hours of film on some 400 college players that he would never coach. I wasn’t a fan of Roseman, but if you do read between the lines of what Lurie said, Banner was the problem and Roseman didn’t get a fair shake. All in all…it hard to say how good a draft is after the first year, but when you can say that 6 (Cox, Kendricks, Foles, Boykin, Brown, Kelly) or your 9 picks contributed significantly, that’s pretty good.

  • Johnny Domino

    Sign Kelly, trade Vick for Tebow.
    Now that would be something.

    • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

      “We are not a Tim Tebow type of quarterback team.” –Chip Kelly

  • BadNewsPoe

    I’m not too worried about the browns, their talent pool is lacking since they got relocated to Baltimore the year Baltimore won the Superbowl. Sad situation for any Browns fan but if you look at what the Eagles have to offer; big media market, fans worldwide, prime time games, great fan support and great facilities. Anyone who lives in Philly or has been there knows Philly is a football town so the Eagles are truly a no-brainer for any coach unless money plays the biggest factor than it is up to fate. Saying this I would love to see the Eagles take a chance on Chip Kelly given the RB’s that we have in McCoy and Brown, who were impressive in running behind a non existent offensive line. Imagine them with a O-Line that is healthy? I’m tired of seeing the Eagles “air-raid” offense constantly fail and I’m tired of pass happy coaches. What I want to see in Philadelphia? a hard nosed ground team which we have the talent at RB and a short pass QB who will see around 30 passes a game the rest is running with a try and stop us if you can attitude. However to be honest I’m a little more interested who each coach would bring in for a Defensive coordinator and bring back to the fans of Philly a defensive team that WR’s are afraid to catch in the middle with shut down corners whom we have in DRC if he decides to play and then Nnamdi; if his skill one day decides to show back up or maybe he looked good in Oakland because they really have no one else? When I think of Philadelphia defense I think of the BODY BAG GAME! When I see the Eagles defense last couple of years I think they are the body bags. With all that said; I’m not worried about Banner but Eagles need to stay focused on a coach who will utilize their talent on offense which is at RB and a coach who will bring in a DC that will bring back the spirit of the body bag game.

    Lurie if your reading this please dont let money be an option when selecting a coach that can fill these needs because you have the Browns beat in every aspect for who a coach would want to play for. The only thing in your way is the chance that your outbid. Don’t let that happen when getting what the eagles need.

  • Joe D

    Right now Howie is probably visiting local fire departments to interview captains for the head coach position. I mean it worked so well with Danny Watkins. What’s that? Howie didn’t pick Danny? Is that right Jeffrey?

    Oh wait, what? He didn’t. So this wasn’t Howie?

    Roseman started watching tape on Watkins in September after a
    conversation with Baylor head coach Art Briles. “He was one of the
    players that the minute you watch you want on your team,” Roseman said.
    “[Watkins] was the best available guy when we picked, and it just so
    happened that it hit a need.”

  • Bob A

    All Lurie has to do is give Kelly the number of a few player agents and ask him to inquire how many players feel that Banner took care of them as opposed to Howie. One of the reasons Banner is out the door is because Eagles players thought he was a liar and showed a lack of integrity in negotiating their contracts. Kelly can’t recruit anyone he wants now, he has to make sure he doesn’t lose former draft picks to free agency or free agents period because Banner has no people skills. Once Kelly sees that the best chance to acquire and retain talent is in Philly, he’ll go with the Eagles. I agree with johngiam below though, if they don’t get Kelly it looks bleak as far as any coach that can make an impact.

  • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

    I don’t think that Banner was pushed out. Where is the evidence? Why is it just safe to assume that he and everyone else was lying? He said he left because he wanted to do something new and that he had been working to join an ownership group for a long time.

    Apparently every reporter was too “savvy” or jaded to take that at face value, but subsequent events have only shown that Banner did exactly what he said he would do.

    As for his comments about consensus, that’s what the Banner and the Eagles have ALWAYS said (until Lurie’s press conference). Banner hasn’t changed his tune. Why are we supposed to stop believing him now?