Firing a head coach on the Tuesday before the final game of the regular season is a rare occurrence.
But the Eagles have been doing things in unconventional ways for quite some time now.
And according to Eagles Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie, there was a big strategic advantage to making a move early.
“[It gives us a] head start on our coaching search, having extra days, it helps, it’s chaotic,” Lurie said in his Wednesday pressconference. “In fairness to Chip [Kelly] it was a good way for him to view the marketplace in terms of employers. Most important, however, was the opportunity to spend a lot of time with our players. I had a players only meeting withthe players today.
“That was the defining decision in terms of when you make a decision, the Monday after thelast regular season game or a playoff loss, the players go for some physicals and dispense. They are anxious to go home. I want to hear from the players, I want to engage them and have them understand what they felt was lacking. I need them to understand and take accountability but at the same time be a sponge for whatleadership is like in the football world today.”
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Lurie said the committee to hire a new coach, led by one-time GM Howie Roseman, has already started its search.
But he does not regret the decision that was made nearly three seasons ago to hire Kelly, saying, “we knew what the potential pitfalls were.”
“It was a clear and important decision that had to be made,” the owner said. “I look forward to a real improvement in where we’re headed. I look forward to the 2016 season where we will have a new head coach and new leadership.
“Nobody worked harder the last threeyears [than Kelly]. A smart guy, it was a bold decision to hire him.I wish him the very best as I did yesterday.He wanted to lead the way to try and go from good to great.The end result was mediocrity.”
As Kelly alluded to himself in one of his final press conferences as Eagles’ head coach, Lurie was extremely disappointed in the 6-9 campaign (with one game to go in New York Sunday). And he made this move as a reaction to that big letdown — the same letdown that tortured Eagles fans this season.
“This has been one of the most disappointing seasons I have ever endured,” Lurie said.”It was surprising because I thought we were on the verge of something that was very very special… The difference between winning the division and not may have been slight, but you have to look at things outside of winning the NFC East.”