Lurie's List: Looks for Leader, Not Gimmicks
Eagles chairman Jeffrey Lurie denied a report Monday that he had already scheduled an interview with Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, but Lurie said he has a definite list of people he wants to talk to about coaching the Eagles.
Lurie said he is looking for a strong leader, rather than someone who runs a particular scheme, or has some hot idea of the moment. He said college coaches and NFL assistants are on his list. Both Lurie and team president Don Smolenski said getting the right person is more important than getting something done quickly; it's conceivable the Eagles wouldn't be able to hire an assistant from a Super Bowl team until February.
Speaking after his lengthy news conference, in which he explained his decision to move on from 14-year head coach Andy Reid, Lurie agreed with a questioner that college coaches perhaps face less of an adjustment than they would have back when Lurie hired Reid, who was the Packers' quarterbacks coach at the time.
"I think right now, the NFL tends to borrow more (strategy) from college than the other way around, but I think it's more about leadership," Lurie said. "Some of these coaches in college are outstanding leaders, and they just go from a younger roster to a slightly older roster -- still the average age is 26, 27 in the NFL, they're dealing with 19-year-olds, it's not that big a difference. There's no question I'm not the only one who thinks college coaches are well trained and have experienced tremendous pressure and can handle it, and are smart. On the other hand, that's not to diminish, most of the successful coaches come from the coordinator ranks, and some ex-NFL coaches as well.
"Again, I said (in the news conference), no stone unturned. We've got our target list, and it's from all sides."
Earlier, Lurie said he felt the Reid era deteriorated when the team kept coming close without winning it all, and frustration led to moves that did not reflect the organizational philosophy that built the initial success. It was hard not to think he was critiquing himself at least a little for setting 2012 up as win-or-else for Reid.
"In the last year or so, the last couple of years, we've done things that have not been as consistent, they've been more scattered, in terms of decision-making ... you will start to reach, thinking, 'that's the player, that's the method, that's the mechanism, that's the coach that's going to put us over the top.' "
Lurie said part of that desperation was that in Vick, the Eagles had "a franchise quarterback that was descending."
Signing a bunch of free agents, such as Nnamdi Asomugha, and bringing in Jim Washburn and the Wide 9 might have been a few of the sorts of things Lurie was referencing.
'I take some responsibility for that, because I was right out in the forefront for 'let's do anything we can to try to win a Super Bowl, for our city and our fans.' At times, you probably had to be a little more self disciplined and say, 'you know, doing that, injecting that into the locker room, affecting the chemistry of the team in some way, that's not the best thing to do,'" Lurie said.
Lurie strongly defended general manager Howie Roseman, whose role he said has been misrepresented. Lurie said early in 2012, he analyzed the recent draft and personnel opinions of his top brass -- presumably Roseman, Reid, former team president Joe Banner and former personnel chief Ryan Grigson -- and found that Roseman's evaluations were "far and away" the most accurate. This led Lurie to "streamline" the decision-making process, he said, giving Roseman more say. Lurie said the 2012 draft, which seems much better than the previous two, was the first in which Roseman had an equal role with Reid (and the first in which Banner, now running the Browns, had no role).
Lurie and Roseman said the new coach will have the final say on rookie quarterback Nick Foles, but they extolled his promise. Lurie said the same goes for Michael Vick.
"We're used to winning, and we're used to winning big," said Lurie, who said, not surprisingly, that he considers his head coaching job the most attractive in the league. That could be a factor going forward, with no fewer than 7 NFL coaches getting the ax Monday. Lurie cited the size of the fan base and market, the facilities and the commitment to winning.
Lurie said when he decided to bring Reid back after a disappointing 2011, he strongly believed the Eagles would be "a double-digit win, playoff team ... nobody is more disappointed or crushed than myself."
Lurie said he has been "heavily leaning" toward change ever since it became official that the 2012 Eagles, who finished 4-12, were not going to better last season's 8-8 record. He said he informed Reid of his decision around 9 a.m. Monday.
Lurie said Reid "wanted to stay," and is "very excited about the future of this team and this franchise ... he's energized and excited. Someone's going to get one heckuva football coach."