The message from Jeffrey Lurie was clear Wednesday afternoon: He likes the direction his franchise is headed, but he’s not ready to make any grand proclamations.
Speaking to reporters on the practice fields at the NovaCare Complex, Lurie touched on a variety of topics like Chip Kelly’s second year, Howie Roseman’s role with the organization and Nick Foles’ promise.
“He spent the whole year with our players, with the organization, with the NFL, and he’s a guy that’s always thinking, always asking why, analyzing,” Lurie said when asked how Kelly has evolved. “It’s more information for him to be better himself. And it’s a lot easier when you’re in your second year of any situation where everyone has expectations of the way you’re gonna operate – the players, his staff, everyone… in terms of you’re not installing nearly as much. You’re able to just execute. So on both ends, I think he has much more information, and he’ll use that to the best of his ability because he’s smart. And everyone around him will understand better exactly what he was trying to accomplish.”
That’s been a common theme around the Eagles this offseason. Everyone knows what to expect out of Kelly. Those that don’t buy in may have trouble sticking around.
Lurie was also asked about Kelly’s power within the organization. The head coach reports directly to the owner, as does Roseman. Kelly’s fingerprints have been all over the team’s offseason moves, but Lurie disputed the notion that Kelly has all the power.
“It’s funny because within the building, it’s just such a team approach,” he said. “I think one of the reasons he’s been successful, his staff has been successful is it’s been such an excellent team approach – whether it’s dealing with player personnel, dealing with the trainers, dealing with sports science. It is really a team approach. Everyone is humble about it. Nobody’s trying to take responsibility for anything. It’s strictly to be better than 31 other teams, you better be a really good team. It’s just not about one person in the slightest.”
Asked specifically about Roseman, Lurie added: “I couldn’t be more excited about having a very smart young general manager. He’s someone who analyzes everything and sees the big picture. Works really well – whether it was with Andy Reid or Chip Kelly. He’s trying to find players to fit exactly what the coaches are looking for, but at the same time, you’ve gotta remain your own person and speak up about what you think the value is of your own players and other players. You’ve gotta have that big picture mentality. He’s got that. He’s got a great work ethic. There’s a chance we’ve really had three excellent drafts in a row and if you can do that and have the kind of committed players we have, you’re gonna get better and better.”
During the Reid era, the “window of opportunity” topic was raised annually. The Eagles won the division last year and have a starting quarterback playing on his rookie deal. With those things in mind, Lurie was asked if he thinks the window to make a Super Bowl run is small.
“No, I don’t,” he responded. “If you can have a really good coaching staff and you can have a really good young quarterback and do a really good job in player personnel and string together multiple successful drafts, your window is not small in the NFL because of the quarterback. That’s the thing. That’s what’s different.”
Do you have a franchise quarterback?
“I have no idea. But I think he’s got a lot of the elements you look for and he’s a great person and he’s a hard worker and he’s gonna have an amazing opportunity to get better and better. And I think with the offense we have and the people that we have around him, the hard workers around him and the talent, he’s got a great opportunity to have an excellent year.”
The names around Lurie – Joe Banner, Reid, Donovan McNabb – have changed, but the Eagles’ owner is still seeking his first Lombardi Trophy.
“I’m obsessed with it,” Lurie said. “I think if you love the sport as much as I do and you love this team and the city as much as I do, that’s the ultimate goal. So until that happens, it’s a hunger. And even if it does happen, it’ll be a hunger because you don’t want to be just satisfied because you happened to have one. So yeah, it’s my obsession and try hard to make it happen with everyone around me.”