Jeffrey Lurie addressed the media in the wake of the team’s 26-24 playoff loss to the Saints. Though disappointed by the outcome Saturday night, the Eagles owner is clearly very encouraged about the state of the program after one year under Chip Kelly.
“My expectations were more about making sure we had a terriffic coaching staff that could transform a roster and a group of young players into something special,” he said. “It was not about wins and losses. I was incredibly impressed by how quickly Chip and his staff were able to get this group together and perform extremely well. There is just so many good, young players around this locker room that will be incredibly dedicated when they come back next spring. We know that.
“There were a lot of high points. I would say, to see this team come together was a high point. When you make a coaching change, you have to transform to a new culture. These players and the coaching staff just formed an incredible bond, ability to prepare and ability to win,” said Lurie. “That can take years and they did it in six months. That is what is so great here. We are all crushed to be eliminated. We are in this because we love it so much, but I have no doubt that we will be back and that we are more confident than ever, now that we know what we can accomplish.”
Lurie has been a big advocate for Nick Foles, and is surely an even bigger one now after the second-year quarterback finished the season with an amazing 29 touchdowns to two interceptions. Has the team found their franchise quarterback?
“I don’t want to comment on any player, but how can you not be impressed with Nick, with everything he accomplished, including tonight? He had no turnovers and led us back from 20-7,” said Lurie. “He is incredibly impressive.”
Lurie referenced the quality young players on this roster on multiple occassions, and praised general manager Howie Roseman for the job he has done over the last two drafts.
“It’s been the unwritten story of the season. When we streamlined the draft process, allowed Howie to bring in great people and the last two draft classes speak for themselves. We are poised for a really good draft this year. At the same time, the atmosphere is great and I think it will attract terriffic players around the league. If you are a young player,wouldn’t you want to play for Chip?”
Lurie believes he has the right coach, a promising young quarterback and plenty of good players blooming around them. That had him sounding very optimistic, even in the moments immediately following a tough-to-swallow postseason loss.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Lurie. “It’s a missed opportunity and it’s the tip of the iceberg. I think everyone in this room knows it. It’s a very young team and at the same time, they already learned what it takes. Now they just have to execute a little bit better, have a better start to the season, and I think they clearly feel as though they have what it takes.”