The Eagles’ offseason has appeared to outsiders as a series of random and unconnected events. First Chip Kelly rose to the chief decision-maker and thenone-by-one he traded or let go many of the Birds’ main pieces and made questionable acquisitions.
After nearly three months, Eagles’ owner Jeffrey Luriefinally spoke to the media at the NFL coaches meetings Tuesday, revealing his thought-process and shedding light on the vision for a team that he hopes can make the difficult jump “from good to great.”
“I’ve lived through lot of division championships, a lot of playoff appearances and trips to the final four, but our goal is further than that,” Lurie said.”Sometimes, maybe I am influenced by the fact that it is very difficult to get from good to great, You have to take some serious looks at yourself. It’s a gamble to go from good to great, you can go to mediocre.”
After a 4-12 season to end the Andy Reid era in Philly, a tenure that saw the Eagles sustain their best success in nearly 30 years but failed to net them a Super Bowl title, Lurie decided to make a bold choice.
With the help of then GM Howie Roseman, who has since been relegated to more of a background role in the wake of Kelly’s ascension to power, the Eagles recruitedKelly to transform the Eagles into a 3-4 defense and spread offense.
“Chip had a vision of exactly how we could get from good to great,” the owner continued. “It’s a very sound vision. … It made so much sense. When we hired Chip, his style of play is very differentfrom what we had before. We were notorganized and designedin that way, we had finesse and fast players. We had, overtwo years, to understand how we could maximize Chip Kelly’s system.”
“He felt he could be maximized best with a senior personnel executive that was of his choosing, with my approval. I felt it was important to back him on that.”
If it hasn’t been made clear by Kelly and the Eagles’ decisions to shed LeSean McCoy and focus on defensive free agents, swap Nick Foles for Sam Bradford and ink a duo of superstar running backs in Ryan Matthews and DeMarco Murray, Lurie wants to be bold.
“I’m an owner who tends to absolutely be supportive of a coach and his vision if it’s a real smart vision,” Lurie said.”As an owner you have a choice — do you want to adopt a vision that you think is real sharp and cutting edge andcould get you from good to great?”
The Bradford move was unexpected and has thus far been controversial. Not only did the Birds acquire nearly $12 million more in salary (compared to Foles) but also a guy who has twice had a serious ACL injury in recent years.
“We’ve been talking about Sam Bradford for about a month or so,” Luriesaid, also stating that he believed Bradford was the best quarterback to enter the draft since Peyton Manning.”We’ve been talking about the asset value of McCoy for a long time.”
The Eagles appear to be all in on Bradford, just like Lurie is all in on Chip Kelly.
“He’s about all football all thetime and as a fan we have someone working in our best interests,” Lurie said.”He studies. …these are very studied decisions, He watched Sam Bradford hundreds of times, talked to every coach he ever had. This was well researched.”
Lurie also finally spoke out about his decision to promote Kelly and demote Roseman.
“Howie is a very valuable member of the organization,” Lurie said. He’s a really sharp guy. … He was a big part of the process of getting Chip. … He is such a valued member of our organization, but the future, I can’t tell you. He’s so selfless, he just wants to participate, he is so valuable to us.”