Optimism Abounds

Posted: February 1st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 27 Comments »

The 2013 season was a great ride with a frustrating finish. Because there was so much new and different about the Eagles, the loss to the Saints didn’t leave a sense of doom, but rather a sense of optimism.

Donovan McNabb, doing radio work for NBC, interviewed Jeff Lurie in New York. Les Bowen wrote about the interview.

McNabb asked Lurie “how excited” the chairman is about Kelly, and surprisingly enough, the answer was, pretty darned excited.

“He’s an incredible leader. He brings everybody together. He wants to make players have long, healthy careers, and he’s got a plan,” Lurie said. “And, boy, when you buy into that plan, you don’t get hurt very often, and you can really feel your body at the end of the year. Every player came to me at the end of the year and said, ‘I’ve never felt like this before.’

“So, good young team, and he’s been a linchpin in really doing so many things that are dynamic.”

McNabb asked what Lurie foresees for the Eagles in 2014.

“I just think his program will take hold – it’ll be an entire offseason based around his program. Nick Foles, you know, did such a great job, and he didn’t really have a chance to practice with the first team until the middle of the season, and you saw what he did with the team. So, I think it’s a good young team that completely buys in, loves playing in Philly and loves playing under Chip and the coaching staff, so it should only get better,” Lurie said.

I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely excited.

What about the players?

Jimmy Bama wrote about Connor Barwin and the topic of defensive improvement came up.

“I think there’s going to be a lot of growth from year 1 to year 2,” said Barwin. “Our defense got better and evolved as the season went on, and I like where we ended at. We’ll have a better starting point from where we were last year. We’re just going to grow, and it’s not going to take the 8 weeks or whatever it took to install all of this, that we had to do with new coaches.”

While there is optimism, there is also a sense of reality. Listen to some of Nick Foles comments from his interview with Dan Patrick.

Foles made sure to say that you have to keep working. He’s not getting caught up in the hype of 2013’s success.

The last few teams of the Reid era were too quick to self-praise. The word “great” was thrown around left and right, despite the fact the team had nothing to show for it. There was a lot of talk about the Super Bowl.

This team feels different. Kelly has been able to keep them focused so far. Being optimistic is good. Being over-confident is how a good season doesn’t get repeated. Chip Kelly has preached the right message to this team and they’ve really bought in. As for any talk of the Super Bowl, Kelly has all but banned players and coaches from saying those two words.

Time is the ultimate test for Kelly’s message and the team’s attitude. The Eagles have to produce results on the field. Saying all the right things is good, but those words won’t mean anything without wins to back them up.

We’ve talked a lot about how the 2014 Eagles need to be different than the 2013 Skins. Foles is staying more grounded than RG3, who really got caught up in the hype. That made coming back from an ACL tear even more complicated than it should have been. The Eagles also have unity between the coaches and players. That is huge.

2014 should be one interesting season.

* * * * *

Speaking of unity…

Here is a good blurb from Les Bowen’s article on the McNabb-Lurie interview.

McNabb, the Eagles’ all-time passing leader, here working for NBC Radio, asked Lurie about turmoil in Washington and Dallas, and how he has been able to keep things “in house in Philadelphia.”

“Well, you know, we’ve always been able to do that pretty well, except for 1 year with 81,” Lurie said. “I think when you have strong leadership at the coaching level, and you empower the coach and the coaching staff, you have a lot more stability. The players know who to turn to. With Andy Reid and [then] Chip Kelly, there’s no question who the boss is of the players; that’s who can help them and develop them and protect them. We’ve always believed in that. I think we’ve got a good young team, a real good young quarterback, but we’ve got to get better. If we’re complacent, we’re going to go downhill.”

And here’s a good nugget from an article on former Eagle Winston Justice and his departure from the team.

The trade to Indianapolis didn’t come as a surprise to anyone, including Justice.

“You’d like to finish your career where you started it, but it seldom works out like that,” Justice said. “I was traded, but it wasn’t like a disrespectful get-him-out-of-here trade. Andy Reid and Howie Roseman, they treated me better than I ever could have expected.

“They actually asked me, ‘Do you want to go [to the Colts]? Are you sure?’ They didn’t just say, ‘Hey, you’ve been traded to the Colts. It’s been nice knowing you. To me, [Reid and Roseman] really cared. You don’t really find that in the NFL a lot as far as what I experienced with those two guys.”

No one is trying to make the Eagles out to be Mother Teresa, but you can see the value in having organizational structure and everyone being on the same page. Everyone knows their role. You then make consensus decisions and that should help you treat the players well. There is value in that. Players talk. They spread the word about which teams you want to play for and which ones you don’t.

I don’t think we give Jeffrey Lurie enough credit for being a good owner. He creates the right environment for the coaches and executives. Lurie lets the football people do football things. He’s involved with key decisions, but isn’t going to micro-manage men who are specialists at what they do.

Lurie hasn’t won a Super Bowl yet, but he’s proven to be a good owner in his 20 years with the Eagles.

* * * * *

The other topic of note is Philadelphia getting to host a Super Bowl. That would be cool, but I can’t say I would get overly fired up one way or the other. I’m more interested in the Eagles getting to play in the game than the city of Philly getting to host it.


27 Comments on “Optimism Abounds”

  1. 1 Media Mike said at 1:42 PM on February 1st, 2014:

    2014 should be another exciting year. We have a QB playing the correct style football, young talent in a lot of other positions, a coach who has guys following his lead, and an owner who stays out of the way.

  2. 2 Weapon Y said at 2:52 PM on February 1st, 2014:

    It’s very convenient that the Eagles are in the NFC East, where at least one of those flaws (perhaps all three in some cases) are found in the other NFC East teams.

  3. 3 Charlie Kelly said at 2:05 PM on February 1st, 2014:

    urgh… i cant wait for the combine… free agency… the draft…. mini camps… training camp.. preseason… regular season and the super bowl we will next season… CANT WAIT!!!!! *bart scott voice

  4. 4 SteveH said at 2:07 PM on February 1st, 2014:

    I can’t wait for the 2014 season to get here, strait up. Can’t remember the last time I felt this way going into an offseason, maybe never. All hail the Chippah.

  5. 5 Baloophi said at 2:08 PM on February 1st, 2014:

    If Philly hosts the Super Bowl, forces will align to have the Eagles go undefeated that year, face an AFC team that loses its QB in the championship game, and then choke.

  6. 6 SteveH said at 2:09 PM on February 1st, 2014:

    “And in comes Joe Webb to take over for Peyton Manning…”

  7. 7 Baloophi said at 2:10 PM on February 1st, 2014:

    Ugh. Then we’d have to stomach an entire off-season of people championing the merits of an athletic quarterback.


  8. 8 A Roy said at 4:44 AM on February 2nd, 2014:

    Much like the other 15 “up” voters, I was going to comment until I saw the “Wait…” at the bottom. Would be interesting to see who was the “down” voter.

  9. 9 Cafone said at 4:03 PM on February 1st, 2014:

    In the end, it turns out Mother Theresa and Joe Banner had a lot in common: making everyone around them miserable for an extra buck. Google it.

  10. 10 Insomniac said at 4:23 PM on February 1st, 2014:

    OT: Attaochu vs Morgan Moses video is now on draftbreakdown.

    Moses pretty much handled Attaochu for the entire game. He kept his QB clean until Attaochu popped him for a fumble. Other than that Moses, looked pretty good. I wonder if he could be of interest in the mid-rounds for us to replace Lane when he slides over to the left.

  11. 11 GENETiC-FREAK said at 4:54 PM on February 1st, 2014:

    Noticed youre a big fan of Attaochu huh.. Either way Attaochu n Van Noy would have to be selected with Eagles first pick as i dont see either lasting to Eagles 2nd pick unless they trade up

  12. 12 Insomniac said at 5:58 PM on February 1st, 2014:

    And I noticed you’re a huge KVN fan. I just mentioned that tidbit because the Saints run an unconventional 3-4.

  13. 13 ACViking said at 5:21 PM on February 1st, 2014:

    From the “for what it’s worth” file . . . Daniel Jeremiah (former Eagles scout) has Moses going late in Rd 1. Pre-combine prediction, obviously.

  14. 14 Insomniac said at 5:53 PM on February 1st, 2014:

    He’s graded pretty high but I just have that gut feeling that he won’t be drafted at where he’s projected. I’m not sure how far he’ll fall since there’s a bunch of OL needy teams though.

  15. 15 ACViking said at 5:24 PM on February 1st, 2014:

    The odd thing about pass rushers is they spend most of the game getting pushed around the QB or stood up by the OT on passing plays.

    You just need 2-3 big plays per game from an edge rusher — and he’s in the Pro Bowl.

    No other position seems to be measured quite the same.

  16. 16 livingonapear said at 10:23 AM on February 2nd, 2014:

    Yeah, people always say that Strahan got the better of Runyan, but that was because Strahan would hit home once or twice a game. Runyan usually had him except for those one or two let downs.

  17. 17 CTAZPA said at 5:57 PM on February 1st, 2014:

    I agree that Lurie is a great owner. He hasn’t won a Superbowl, but when he does, he’ll get the credit he deserves. All Tommy said is true. He strives to make the Eagles the “gold standard”. At the same time, he doesn’t have a lot of ego for an owner. He’s smart about the organizational stuff, but he knows enough to stay away from football decisions. I look around at the owners in our division, knowing I have NO CONTROL over who our owner is, and I think how much I’d hate having them. Chip Kelly loved being at Oregon and wouldn’t have left for many NFL situations. Lurie is doing something a lot right!

  18. 18 Maggie said at 6:18 PM on February 1st, 2014:

    Root for the Seahawks on Sunday. Here’s why.

    I am the Eagle, I live in high country
    In rocky cathedrals that reach to the sky.
    I am the Hawk and there’s blood on my feathers
    But time is still turning they soon will be dry.
    And all of those who see me, all who believe in me
    Share in the freedom I feel when I fly

    Come dance with the west wind and touch on the mountain tops
    Sail o’er the canyons and up to the stars.
    And reach for the heavens and hope for the future,
    And all that we can be and not what we are.
    This was sung and co-written by John Denver
    Also posted on Eagles 24/7

  19. 19 A_T_G said at 10:16 PM on February 1st, 2014:

    Sung and co-written by whom? John DENVER, did you say? Clearly these lyrics signal we should be rooting for the Broncos.

  20. 20 Maggie said at 11:48 PM on February 1st, 2014:

    I was thinking a lot more about the Eagle and Hawk. And the last 2 lines. And, of course, Colorado is not the only place to have mountains, even the Rockies.

  21. 21 Maggie said at 4:25 PM on February 2nd, 2014:

    The attached pics, hopefully, show that Seattle has mountains too. The first pic is a view from Vancouver of the north end of the Cascades. AND, about 1/3 of the population of bald eagles of North America live within 100 miles of my home.

  22. 22 Donald Kalinowski said at 6:58 PM on February 1st, 2014:

    His coaching selections have been pretty solid- Ray Rhodes, Andy Reid and Chip Kelly. Rhodes and Reid both won AP coaches of the year. I like how he’s not a vocal owner and he doesn’t serve as a GM. (At least I think he doesn’t. I’m not sure what really goes on)

    A good owner hires competent people, lets them make the decisions, and knows when to put his foot down and stop something when it’s not working out. Guys like Dan Snyder, Al Davis, and Jerry Jones make good moves from time to time but coaching styles and strategies change. I can’t blame these owners for being this way. I know if I was an owner I would have a hard time letting someone else make these decisions.

    I can’t wait for the 2014 NFL draft. It’s going to be interesting to see how well the Eagles do this year since they’re not going to be drafting in the top half of each round like they have been in the past two years.

  23. 23 theycallmerob said at 7:25 PM on February 1st, 2014:

    Around the 5:00 mark, when Dan asks about the sideline cards, Foles says something to the tune of “I don’t pay attention, they’re for the defens—“, before cutting himself off and just saying he has a headset anyway.

    This came up a bunch during the season as well, and guys on both sides of the ball would always say it was for the other.

    “I saw that stuff at Oregon, so I knew it was coming but I didn’t know which pictures they would choose,” Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks said. “When I saw the Fresh Prince, I started laughing. Everything has to do with Philly. I don’t even know what they mean. It’s for the offense.”

    Rookie left tackle Lane Johnson says otherwise.
    “I’m telling you, man, they’re all for the defense,” Johnson said with a straight face.
    Even newcomer Brad Smith wouldn’t slip up. “I’m just trying to find my own way,” Smith said. “I don’t know what they are, but I know it means something to the defense.”


    Wonder if Nick let the truth slip? Or he’s just mastered the game?

  24. 24 mtn_green said at 10:17 PM on February 1st, 2014:

    They’re obviously only for special teams.

  25. 25 Maggie said at 11:51 PM on February 1st, 2014:

    Maybe they’re complete camouflage, not really “for” anybody.

  26. 26 dislikedisqus said at 1:44 PM on February 2nd, 2014:

    Ya gotta believe!

  27. 27 Jerry Pomroy said at 1:19 PM on February 4th, 2014:

    There is definitely optimism going into season 2 of the Chip Kelly era. I will admit that I was not to keen on Lurie & the team brass for a number of years. Mainly due to the smug persona they portrayed to the public & most notably to the fans. Almost as if they were above everyone else & didn’t feel they owed anyone anything, including their customers…the fans. I have to say that my view has changed the past few years as Lurie has finally put a halt to the “gold standard” meaning more than just building a competitive football team, but also disengaging themselves from anyone that questioned them and their decisions. The team and the owner have been much more open to accept that they are not above criticism, especially from a fan base that loves this team probably more than they do. I think that Lurie’s heart has always been in the right place, but it just seems that things have been so so different since Banner has been gone. I think Lurie finally realized that for so long they’ve been creating the perception that they’ve been fighting the fan base to just accept their way, rather than embracing their common ground. The aura of the team has certainly gone full turn from the owner, to the coach, on down to the players. I salute Lurie in coming to terms with the fact that they not only needed to blow up the previous regime, but also needed to change the way they were viewed publicly amongst the fans, media & also the players.