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In Replacing Reid, Eagles Need “First Who, Then What” Mentality

Eagles GM Howie Roseman and owner Jeff Lurie (Staff: Ryan Messick)

The end-all axiom in business management? “First Who, Then What.”

It means, basically, when you’re making super big, potentially life (of your business) altering decisions — like, say, who’ll replace Andy Reid — it’s best to, as the guy who coined it puts it, “get the right people on the bus first, then drive it.”

In other words: Get the right guy, and the rest will just come. Schemes, run-to-pass ratios, Super Bowls — the works. So long as you get the right guy.

That said, with the Eagles on the precipice of a coaching change and, arguably, organizational direction altogether, it’s really important to remember what matters.

Nothing superficial, like coaching trees or offensive vs. defensive specialties or what have you.

But who, simply, is the master motivator and manager you absolutely need to succeed, whatever his credentials.

(In other words: Don’t be the Lakers and hire Mike D’Antoni just because he’s the anti-Mike Brown. Especially not when Phil Freaking Jackson, the essence of what we’re describing here, is available.)

Be it a household name (Jon Gruden, Bill Cowher), it-thing assistant (Vic Fangio) or up-and-comer from the college ranks (Chip Kelly), the Eagles need a guy to captivate their uninspired locker room and, maybe just as important, liberate undermined executives (i.e. Howie Roseman) that weren’t allowed to, you know, do their jobs under Reid.

(It should be noted, with a sweeping change likely to include armfuls of players, this applies as much to followers as it does leaders. Though whether they can cover, sack and block better than Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin and, well, everybody, is pretty important, too.)

If only there were someone in the organization who got that.

Someone, like, say, Joe Banner.

Here’s an excerpt of the lengthy chat Banner had with the Cleveland Plain-Dealer:

When we hired Andy Reid in Philadelphia we did a study on every coach who had led a team to two Super Bowls (appearances) to find the common denominator. We went in looking for things like offensive philosophy, did they come from defense, did they come from college? Had they been a coordinator? We found nothing. Then we accidentally realized they were all exactly the same when we took football out of the equation — they were all incredibly strong leaders, they all had hired great staffs, they managed them well and were all very detail-oriented.

Strong leaders. Good decision-makers. Better managers. Attention to detail.

Nothing about football. Not at first, anyway.

Here’s to hoping Jeffrey Lurie gets it the way the guy he shooed out of town does.

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