Lurie: ‘Chip Had A Vision’

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

PHOENIX, Ariz. — The last time Jeffrey Lurie addressed the media, he was very clear about his intentions to bring back Howie Roseman as general manager.

“Is that a question? Yes,” he said when asked if Roseman would remain GM.

He made a sharp turn in the opposite direction just days later, bumping Roseman out of the personnel business while handing Chip Kelly the keys to the Cadillac. What happened?

“I changed my mind,” Lurie said with a laugh to open up his 40-minute session with reporters at the owners meetings Tuesday.

Or, more accurately, Kelly changed his mind. The head coach suggested it was Lurie’s call to alter the power structure. While that’s technically true — Lurie would of course have to approve such a move — this was not Lurie’s idea. It was Kelly’s.

“There was a vision I wanted to support,” said Lurie. “Chip had a vision of exactly how he thought we could get from good to great. I thought it was a really sound vision, that he’s a very bright guy, he’s all about football, he’s all about wanting to win big and it made so much sense.”

What is that vision?

Lurie spoke of a detailed, seamless process where the scouting staff is trained by the coaches to understand the exact type of players they need.

“It’s so defined in Chip’s system; I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s incredibly detailed, both psychologically, athletically, in so many categories,” said Lurie. “There’s notebooks you could read. It’s incredibly defined. In order to really to maximize Chip, I think this was the best way to go.”

Kelly felt it was best to have a hand-picked personnel man — which turned out to be Ed Marynowitz — help him with this integration, rather than Roseman.

“It wasn’t Howie. I think it was much more Chip’s requirement to sort of have a football guy that he was comfortable with in terms of helping him day to day and minute by minute,” he said.

Lurie said he doesn’t believe Roseman feels he’s been stabbed in the back, and suggested his selflessness and team-first mentality will allow him to adapt to his new role. He said he didn’t have to put out any fires behind the scenes, while also noting that you don’t have to be best friends to work together. Lurie indicated that the Tom Gamble firing was unrelated to the events that followed and was a long time coming.

The Eagles owner acknowledged the risk involved in all of these offseason decisions, but says they were made in the name of supporting his coach and trying to get this organization to the next level.

“As an owner, you gotta make a decision. You want to be bold in your choice of coach? Do you want to just hire somebody who is not a bold choice? Do you want to hire someone, you really respect their intelligence, their work ethic and all that? And do you want to support them fully? That doesn’t mean blindly,” said Lurie. “That means give them the most resources possible, be sound about your future salary cap management so you’re never sacrificing the future for any short term decisions, and do you want basically say to the world and to your fans, ‘I support Chip Kelly. I support what he’s all about,’ and give him the best chance to succeed? You can always look back on it as (having provided) the best chance to succeed. I hope he takes us really far.”