Jeff Lurie spoke over 5,000 words during his virtual press conference on Monday afternoon and exactly zero of them were “rebuild.”
The Eagles are in a transition period.
The Eagles are re-allocating resources.
The Eagles are retooling.
Call it whatever you want, but the reality of the situation is the same. Lurie on Monday said his priority is to do what’s best for the Eagles over the next 3-5 years and not just in 2021. That, he said, was one of the main reasons Doug Pederson was fired.
“I would say the difference in vision is much more about where we're at as a franchise,” Lurie said. “As I said, we're at that point. It's a transition point and we've got to get younger and we have to have a lot more volume of draft picks and we have to accumulate as much talent as we possibly can that is going to work in the long run with a focus on the mid-term and the long term and not on how to maximize 2021.
“And it's almost not fair to Doug, because his vision has to be: What can I do to fix this right away and what coaches can I have that can help me get to a smoother 2021? My vision is much more: How can we get back to the success we've had and what we're used to in the next two, three, four, five years?”
Of course Pederson wanted to try to win in the 2021 season. That’s a coach’s job. While Lurie declined to divulge names, it seems like the major disagreement between the two sides was about Pederson’s coaching staff. He wanted to pretty much run it back and the Eagles’ brass wanted to bring in new coaches with different ideas. They disagreed to a level that led to his firing.
Doug’s way might have yielded slightly more short-term success, but the organization’s new goal is to build for the future by accumulating draft picks in an attempt to hit more and build a younger roster. The Eagles drafted 10 players last year and are expected to have around 10 picks this year.
It’s worth noting that rebuilds in the NFL don’t always take a long time. Lurie once said the NFL is a league of “non-linear progression” and he’s right.
Before the 2017 season, Lurie preached patience and we all know how that season ended.
“We're in the mode where we're not one player away," Lurie said at the 2017 owners meetings. "As an owner, I have to be really patient. We have to draft really well over the next few years to accomplish what we want to accomplish early in Carson (Wentz's) career."
Then the Eagles went out and won the Super Bowl less than a year later.
In any case, the Eagles are rebuilding … sorry … retooling, and Howie Roseman is going to be the guy leading this next phase. Lurie on Monday strongly supported his embattled general manager, largely exonerating Roseman for the past few years because the Eagles were in win-now mode as they tried to recapture Super Bowl glory.
Lurie admitted that in recent seasons the Eagles sacrificed their long-term well being in favor of short-term goals. It’s a similar explanation that Roseman offered just last week.
“I don't regret it because I really was hoping we could pull off another one and I owed it to the players that brought us one to be able to lean in that direction,” Lurie said.
Of course, this rebuilding … damn it, sorry … retooling phase brings up a ton of new questions. Because in case you haven’t noticed, the Eagles are exactly flush with young talent. Their best players are aging veterans who might not be on board for the long game. And then there’s Carson Wentz, who is 28 and should be entering his prime. Would the Eagles prefer to start over with a younger quarterback? Perhaps.
By the way Lurie explained it, Pederson wasn’t on board for this new phase with the Eagles. Now, they’ll have to find a coach who is.
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