PHILADELPHIA – Those who are fond of dismissing Andy Reid’s success in Philadelphia would often point out the dysfunction elsewhere in the NFC East.
And it’s always been fair to say that Jerry Jones and Daniel Snyder run their respective organizations in an unconventional fashion. It’s no longer legitimate, however, to claim that Jeffrey Lurie and the Eagles are not just as flawed in the way they do things.
The Eagles owner spent the last year letting the inmates run his asylum and his organization has been held hostage in the wake of a personal feud between Chip Kelly and one of the guys who hired the now ex-Eagles coach, Howie Roseman.
If you are keeping score, Roseman, a money guy who rose though the ranks to gain control over the Eagles’ personnel was–and is again–Lurie’s right-hand man. But the owner was forced to forsake his friend for an entire calendar year when Kelly rebelled against Roseman’s authority and football acumen.
Lurie’s thought was that no one could possibly duplicate what Kelly brought to the franchise, namely his revolutionary concepts regarding offensive football as well as the innovation he brought to the program off the field, a nod to the nebulous subject of sports science.
“You were either all-in or you should find a new coach in terms of the trust. So the choice was, let’s see if that’s going to work,” Lurie said. “In terms of the results? That’s why we’re here today.”
The problem is that a lot of people confuse innovation with new things and while any modernization by definition is contemporary, not everything straight out of the shrinkwrap is necessarily innovative.
Both Lurie and Roseman fell into that assumed-innovation trap when they hired Kelly, and Lurie doubled down when his two employees turned on each other
After 48 NFL games (just one of them a playoff encounter), the sample size was large enough to call Kelly more of an illusionist than anything else and all of his tricks were really based on one simple concept, going so fast that the opposing defense made a bunch of mistakes.
Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t, but like any other system it was dependent on talent, something Kelly seemingly never understood.
“The end result was mediocrity,” admitted Lurie. “As the owner of the team I’ve got to look at the progress and the trajectory of where it’s headed.”
So Lurie officially hit the rewind button on Wednesday, saying Roseman will once again lead the team’s football operations, meaning at the end of the day Kelly’s power-play “win” resulted in a promotion to vice president of football operations and a pay raise for the loser, although the actual power that comes with the title was deferred by one year.
The highly-respected Tom Donahoe will run day-to-day operations of the personnel department and report to Roseman. Those two, along with the eventual new coach, are supposed collaborate on all player-related decisions.
For older TV fans, the 2015 Eagles campaign will remind them of another soap opera, “Dallas,” which was so bad one season that it started the next one by claiming the prior year’s effort was all just Pamela Ewing’s imagination.
Well, if Pam was an Eagles fan, she’s be waking up and finding Lurie in the shower, telling her to forget the last 365 days. It was just dream.
— John McMullen is a national football columnist for FanRagSports.com and TodaysPigskin.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @jfmcmullen — Also catch John this season on ESPN Southwest Florida every Monday at 3 PM ET; on ESPN Lexington every Thursday at 6:05 ET, and live every Tuesday from 2 to 6 PM ET at the Golden Nugget Casino in Atlantic City for the The Sports Bash on ESPN South Jersey.
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