There have been plenty of changes with the Eagles this offseason. From Chip Kelly being in charge of player personnel, to Howie Roseman's reduced role to the departure of LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin, there has been no shortage of headlines with the Eagles in recent weeks. Tuesday afternoon, Jeffrey Lurie spoke to the media for the first time since the teams' flurry of moves. Here are some highlights from the interview transcript on Philly.com.
At the end of the season, you said Howie was your GM. What happened?
I changed my mind. What we do at the end of every season, which is why it’s probably not the greatest idea to talk about things in the visitor’s locker room after the final game, we sit down and have real serious conversations with all of the senior people. We were one of three teams in the NFC to have double-digit wins twice in a row. But that’s not what we’re about. And I think you all know that. That’s not what our goal is.
We really sat down and were as self-analytical as you could possibly be. After thinking about it, I just thought the best way to align ourselves was to try to do this in a relatively rational, seamless way with Chip taking scouting and integrating it into every aspect of the operation in terms of making it seamless with on-field performance and sports science and all that.
There was a vision that I wanted to support. It’s easy to say, well, you had it going well and you already said you were going to stick to the status quo. But I don’t think that’s the best way to operate. You learn after the season exactly how you might become better. And it was worth taking that alternative structure and acting on it.
Chip said it was your call. But was it all your call?
Yeah, it was all my call. I’ve lived through a lot of divisional championships, a lot of playoff appearances, a lot of final four appearances. But our goal is further than that. We want to deliver a Super Bowl. Sometimes, maybe I’m influenced by the notion that it’s very difficult to get from good to great. And you’ve got to take some serious looks at yourself when you want to try to take that step. It’s a gamble to try to go from good to great because you could go from good to mediocre with changes. But I decided it was important enough to adopt the vision and philosophy of integrating the scouting with the coaching on a daily basis.
On December 31, Tom Gamble was fired. What changed in those two days between Tom losing his job and Howie being demoted?
Completely unrelated. Totally unrelated. I wish Tom all the best. I hope he thrives in San Francisco. We’ve moved on and hopefully he’s moved on.
Were you not happy with the job Gamble had done while he was here
I think you have to decide who is going to be the best fits for the organization. I think it’s best that we all move on on that one.
Is there a risk in giving the head coach this much personnel control?
I think there’s a risk no matter how you structure it. The only model to me that correlates with big success in the NFL is having a Hall of Fame franchise quarterback. You can put any system around that player and you can rationalize that structure. No matter what other structure you pick in the NFL, whether it’s the structure the Patriots have and Seattle has and other teams. That’s fine. You can have a system like Green Bay has and Baltimore has. That’s fine. There’s no perfect structure. You have to always figure out how to maximize the people you have. And don’t think structure is the answer. It’s people. And try to manage and maximize the people you have. Try to pick the best head coach you can, the best evaluators your can. Don’t put your feather on structure because the best structure is a franchise quarterback who is going to play for 10-15 years for your franchise.
Was there any concern about giving so much power to a man with so little NFL experience?
No. You think it through very much. He’s bright. He’s hard-working. He’s obsessed with football. This man is all about winning. It doesn’t matter to him the public perception of a trade or the intention of where he’s coming from or trying to read in between the lines. He’s all about football and making us better. And that’s what you want in a coach as an owner.
What is about Bradford that makes the organization think he can be a franchise quarterback?
When he was scouted out of college, we thought he was the best young quarterback we had seen in a long, long time. Probably since Peyton Manning coming out of college. Rookie of the year his first year. Pat Shurmur had him in St. Louis. Extraordinary competitor. Incredibly accurate. And needs to stay healthy.
You mentioned that LeSean isn’t the type of runner Chip was looking for. Is there a concern that some of those requirements are a big too stringent when you have a limited pool of players you can acquire every year?
No, I don’t think so. Especially at the running back position. They’re findable. The hardest is the quarterback. LeSean is a great running back. All-time franchise leader. Great guy in every way. To maximize his power-spread offense, Chip always admired the one-cut runners. That’s what he admired. You have to let a coach try to bring in the players that fit best what he’s all about to maximize what he’s trying to accomplish. You have a decision as an owner. Do you want to fight that? Or do you want to adopt that? I went all out to try to get Chip as the coach. And I’m really happy we did. He has a great potential future and I’m happy to be able to provide him the resources to maximize what he’s all about.
For a transcript of Lurie's entire discussion with the media, click here.