Eagles

Jeff Lurie deserves more credit

Jeff Lurie deserves more credit

Updated: Jan. 22, 9 a.m.

There’s one person who’s been here for all of it. From the wild-card win over the Lions at the Vet in 1995 to the win over the Vikings last night at the Linc. 

There’s one constant over the years with the Eagles, and that’s owner Jeff Lurie, and I don’t think he’s ever been appreciated enough for the organization he’s built, and I don’t think he’s ever been given enough credit for the way he’s built it.

Since 1995, the first year that Lurie had complete control of the franchise, the Eagles have reached the playoffs 13 times, and only the Packers, Colts, Steelers and Patriots have gotten there more. 

Sunday's game against the Vikings was the Eagles’ sixth conference championship game under Lurie’s ownership, and only the Patriots have been to more during that 23-year span.

We’re all aware the Eagles have never won a Super Bowl and haven’t won a championship since 1960, but Lurie has done absolutely everything in his power to build a winner since the day he got here.

He has never hesitated to spend money — tons of money — for free agents. Somewhere along the line, Lurie gained the reputation for being cheap when nothing could be farther from the truth. 

From Troy Vincent and Irving Fryar in the mid-1990s to Jevon Kearse and Jon Runyan and Asante Samuel and Nnamdi Asomugha and Stacy Andrews, the Eagles have always out-spent everybody in their pursuit of talent. 

Now, all those guys didn’t pan out. We know all about the Eagles’ free agent busts over the years. There have been plenty of them. But that’s not Lurie’s fault. He always trusted his personnel guys, and that’s what a good owner does. When they wanted a player, he wrote the check. 

He gave fans one of the nicest stadiums in the NFL. He got the NovaCare Complex built, helping make Philly an attractive destination for free agents. He's hired four head coaches, and the first two — Ray Rhodes and Andy Reid — were named Coach of the Year within their first few seasons. Chip Kelly could have been in 2013. Doug Pederson should be this year.

He approved the Michael Vick signing after a long and careful evaluation period when no other owner wanted anything to do with him, facilitating Vick's reinvention as a playoff quarterback as well as a productive member of society.

He navigated the franchise through a stormy transition from Joe Banner's stewardship of the front office to Howie Roseman's. He went out and hired Joe Douglas, which has paid immediate dividends in terms of talent.

He's brilliantly reconnected the franchise with its past, something his predecessor, Norman Braman, refused to do. Guys who gave everything they had for this franchise years ago and decades ago are once more made to feel a part of things instead of being forgotten and ignored. The historical displays at the Linc give real meaning to the 85-year history of one of the NFL's original franchises.

And he was in the middle of one of the most important decisions in Eagles history — the decision to move up to the No. 2 spot in the 2016 draft by any means necessary, whatever the cost, to draft Carson Wentz.

The organization's realization that until it had an elite franchise quarterback in place it wasn't likely to make a Super Bowl run was critical, and Lurie led that charge.

There have been mistakes and misjudgments along the way. That's going to happen when you run a franchise for a quarter of a century.

He allowed Brian Dawkins to leave after the 2008 season. He stuck with Reid one year too long. He shouldn't have given Chip Kelly unlimited power after the 2014 season. 

But the overall body of work? Overwhelmingly positive.

Since 1995, the Eagles have won 10 or more games 13 times in 23 seasons. Their overall record since Lurie took over — 206-160-2 (.563) — is sixth-best in the NFL during that span, second only to the Packers in the NFC.

And now they'll play in their second Super Bowl under Lurie, having won the NFC with Pederson coaching and Nick Foles quarterbacking.

All the criticisms we've always heard about Lurie — he's an outsider, he's only in it to get rich, he's too cheap — are so ridiculously off-base and always have been.

Without Lurie there is no Reid or Pederson, which means there is no Tom Modrak or Howie Roseman, which means there is no Donovan McNabb or Wentz, there is no Dawk or Hugh or Trott, there is no Brian Westbrook or Jason Peters.

No, the Eagles haven't won a championship since Lurie bought the team, but he's done everything he could to make it happen.

And if not this year, the Eagles sure are in a tremendous position to keep making deep playoff runs for the foreseeable future.

Lurie wants this as bad as you do. He really does. 

It's time to appreciate what he's done for this franchise and recognize that without him, Jan. 21 would probably have been just another lazy January Sunday where we all sat in front of the TV and watched somebody else play football.

Eagles see honor of White House visit, but players still undecided

Eagles see honor of White House visit, but players still undecided

The Eagles organization accepted an invitation to the White House to commemorate its Super Bowl LII championship on June 5. The question is how many of the flock will be migrating to the nation’s capital that day? 

The decision was a hot topic of discussion on Tuesday, Day 1 of voluntary OTAs. 

“I’m excited to be going to be honored as world champions. It’s a great honor,” Doug Pederson said. “We’re still working through some logistics right now, so we don’t have all the details today, but excited to be going.”

So the head coach will be attending. As for Carson Wentz, “I know for me, personally, if the team decides as a whole, most guys want to go or be a part of it, I’ll be attending with them,” he said. “I think it’s just a cool way to receive the honor nationally and be recognized. I don’t personally view it — I know some people do and everyone has their opinion on it — but I don’t view it as a political thing whatsoever. I don’t mess with politics very often.”

Wentz may not mess with politics, but Donald Trump’s short tenure in office is the definition of polarizing and it’s impossible for some of his teammates to be apolitical when it comes to visiting the White House. 

“Because of the political climate we’re in, it will be taken as a political statement one way or another, whether you want it to or not,” said Brandon Brooks, who has yet to decide if he will be making the trip. “The biggest thing is you have to separate politics from the experience of going to the White House. Me, personally, it really is a tough decision because the president we have now, I agree with some things and some I don’t, so I’ll be looking within myself.” 

Some players such as Chris Long and Malcolm Jenkins are on record as saying they will not be going to the White House regardless of what the team as a whole decides. 

“For me, there’s a lot going on with that administration and I don’t think it’s the time to really have any kind of productive or constructive conversations about policy,” Jenkins said. “I definitely want to avoid being used as some kind of pawn. The way things have gone the last few months, I don’t think the time is right for that.”

Long and several other players made it very clear that whatever your choice, it will have no ill effect in the locker room. 

“As far as teammates, yeah, we all have a choice, so nobody’s judging anybody,” Long said. “It’s an honor to get to go to the White House and it means something different to everybody else.” 

Zach Ertz echoed Long’s sentiments about staying unified. 

“I’m still deciding. This isn’t going to be a divisive moment in the locker room,” Ertz said. “Guys are going to respect one another’s opinion. One of the things I’ve spoken about is my wife (U.S. women’s soccer player Julie Ertz) had gone in the past after they won the World Cup and she spoke about how fun it was to go there and to learn so much, see the history. So just an opportunity to go there whether you agree with the organization that’s in there or not. It’s the premiere building in this nation.”

Eagles reportedly turned down a Nick Foles trade offer from Browns

usa_nick_foles_browns_front_office.jpg
USA Today Images

Eagles reportedly turned down a Nick Foles trade offer from Browns

Earlier this offseason, Eagles vice president of football operations Howie Roseman explained why the price tag for Nick Foles would be high if they ever decided to trade him.

Turns out, he wasn’t kidding. 

Because according to NFL Network’s Mike Silver, the Eagles turned down an offer from the Cleveland Browns for the No. 35 pick in the 2018 draft.

That seems like a more-than-fair price for the 29-year-old quarterback who will be a backup if everything goes as planned in Carson Wentz’s rehab. But the Eagles have been consistent in their valuation of Foles, first by not trading him and then giving him more money with a mutual option for the 2019 season.

While Wentz was on the practice field Tuesday and looked great throwing the football and showing off some footwork (see story), it’s clear the Eagles still have some concerns about Wentz’s health in 2018. And having the Super Bowl MVP as a backup is the best insurance policy going. 

The report from Silver says that after the Eagles received the offer for Foles, they ran it by the quarterback, who told them he’d prefer to stay in Philadelphia. That also jives with Foles’ public comments about wanting to remain in Philly. He said that he’d obviously like to be a starter again, but in the right situation. He became a starter in a bad situation once in St. Louis. 

When talking about not trading Foles in March, Roseman mentioned the hit rate for certain rounds of the draft while weighing the prospect of trading an important piece like Foles. The Browns ended up keeping that No. 35 pick and took running back Nick Chubb out of Georgia. 

And it seems like the Eagles weren’t in love with that general area of this year’s draft. You’ll remember, they traded back from their No. 32 pick all the way to 49 to take tight end Dallas Goedert out of South Dakota State. While the No. 35 pick seems like it’s just out of the first round, it’s clear the Eagles, based on moving out of 32, didn’t value that area this year. At least not enough to part ways with Foles. 

“He’s still on the team because he’s an incredibly valuable member of the Philadelphia Eagles,” Roseman said at the annual NFL meetings in late March. “When you talk about that position and what’s gone on, you’ve seen it in the free-agent market, you’ve seen it in the trade market. We’re in the business of making sure we get the right value for the player. What our value is for a player is going to stick.”

During that same interview in March, Roseman was asked if he could see a situation unfold like the one that netted a first-round pick for Sam Bradford a few years ago. Roseman used his generic “we’ll do anything we think makes the team better” response. But if that type of opportunity arose, the Eagles would likely listen. 

With all the information we have, though, we know it would take a lot.