McMullen on the Eagles: Lurie Lacks a Sense of Urgency
(973espn.com) — For a team that hasn't won a championship since 1960, the Philadelphia Eagles sure aren't showing the sense of urgency you might expect.
Or more specifically, their owner isn't.
In the laid-back atmosphere of Boca Raton at the NFL's annual spring meeting Tuesday, Jeffrey Lurie addressed reporters and was very cavalier on his decision to hand Chip Kelly the keys to his football kingdom back in January of 2015.
In hindsight that decision can now be defined as disastrous after Lurie hit CTRL-ALT-DEL about 365 days later in the rare "Back to the Future" strategy that put his long-time confidante Howie Roseman back in charge of football operations and Andy Reid acolyte Doug Pederson in the head-coaching chair.
"The expense of a lesson is just time," the laissez-faire Lurie said when addressing the Kelly debacle. "It’s not money. We’re all about wanting to win big. No amount of money will ever prevent us. It’s really about winning championships for Philadelphia. So we lost some time. We didn’t lose in the classic way of expense. It was a time expense."
Describing Lurie as detached toward his fan base is probably being kind after those comments. Sure Eagles supporters don't want their team to be the cheapskate but that 55-year drought trumps that a bit on the list of worries.
And none of it begins to explain how Lurie went from believing Kelly was the answer to a cancer in record time.
When announcing the hiring of Pederson, Lurie at least intimated that he was tiring of Kelly's autocratic ways before he promoted the ex-coach but wanted to hold him accountable and removing any perceived impediments (read that Roseman) meant Kelly would sink-or-swim sans excuses.
He doubled down on that thought process in Boca Raton.
"I think it was a necessary way to go to find out if Chip was the right guy," Lurie claimed. "Let him be responsible for all the decisions he wanted to inject and make. ...it was the right way to dissect whether Chip was going to be the right guy going forward or not.
"We dissected it, and decided that (even) with some of the great things he brought (to the organization), he wasn’t the right person going forward, and it was helpful to have him be accountable for those decisions so we could move forward in a great way."
It seems counterproductive and a wasteful use of resources to use your own football team as some kind of psychological experiment, however.
If Lurie really did know Kelly wasn't as advertised before the power struggle of '15, he should have shown the courage of his own convictions and called the coach's bluff. Let the chips -- pun intended -- fall where they may.
Instead Lurie set the franchise back at least 12 months and likely more because even if they are ultimately successful it will take time for the Roseman-Pederson duo to rebuild all the damage Kelly did to the organization.
Time, however, isn't a problem for Lurie.
CONFIRMING THE OBVIOUS
Lurie also finally confirmed what we all already knew, that Roseman is officially back in charge of the team's personnel department.
"He is responsible for the football operations," Lurie admitted. "...And he will be held responsible for how the player personnel does in the future. He will be held responsible for the quality of that department."
Roseman has been lauded this offseason by many in the NFL for quickly getting the Eagles out of some of the bad contracts Kelly put on the organization, namely those of cornerback Byron Maxwell and running back DeMarco Murray.
"What Howie has been able to do has been pretty outstanding in terms of a league that values salary cap space and draft choice, to be able to make those trades, align our resources the way we preferred and move forward from there," Lurie said. "He's had a great plan."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen