Perspective From the Old Days

Posted: July 2nd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 93 Comments »

I was doing a bit of research when I stumbled across an interesting old article. This is Jeff Lurie talking about what went wrong with the Ray Rhodes era.

In the best National Football League franchises success breeds success. But Eagles Owner Jeffrey Lurie said Monday that with his team success bred failure.

On a day when he did the expected and fired Head Coach Ray Rhodes, Lurie admitted he did things backward when he first hired him.

“I don’t think we had it right,” Lurie said Monday at a packed press conference in the press lounge at Veterans Stadium.

Lurie said he made a “player personnel mistake” when he first hired Rhodes by not first putting together a staff to run the team headed by someone like current Director of Football Operations Tom Modrak.

“We had some immediate success with Ray that obscured that mistake,” Lurie continued. “We believed we were headed in the right direction.”

Lurie said with Rhodes’ selection as NFL Coach of the Year after a 10-6 first season plus a playoff win, then another 10-6 season the year after, he took the easy course and allowed Rhodes to take over personnel decisions.

“In a way, I would have chosen structure over personality,” he said.

Lurie said if he was tougher perhaps he would have withstood the pressure and named a strong personnel man despite Rhodes’ popularity.

“To me, that was my fault,” he admitted.

At first, Lurie said it was “very difficult,” then added, “there is no way” a head coach can handle the team, the draft, the hiring of free agents and the waiver wire.

“When you have too much on your plate, too much responsibility, you tend to make decisions based on personalities,” Lurie said.

Discussing the position he found himself in having to fire the man he hired, Lurie said, “I hate it.”

He then added that it was a far different situation than when he fired Rich Kotite after just one season.

“Football is a tough business; sports is a tough business,” Lurie said.

Rhodes spoke briefly and did not take questions.

“I’d just like to thank Jeffrey for giving me my first opportunity,” Rhodes said.

Rhodes thanked the Eagles players, staff and administration, even the media, and wished the organization well.

“Tom Modrak will do a good job of turning this thing around,” he said. “Give him a chance.

Lurie outlined a six-step program to bring his team back to respectability, adding that with the staff Modrak has built, “I think we’re well-structured at the moment.”

Four of the six points deal with finding and keeping talent from the draft, free agency and the waiver wire and by signing “core players” to extended contracts.

The other two points dealt with searching “out and finding a dynamic, talented, passionate head coach” and then “coach the heck out of these players.”

Modrak is already preparing a list of coaching candidates, according to Lurie, although the process will be held up by the fact that some of them are coaching playoff teams and can’t be tampered with until their season is over.

Lurie said he would retain the right to have final say over the head coach explaining that he’s not aware of any organization in football where that’s not the case.

“Ownership has to be accountable,” he said.

Lurie added, “I think Tom will have a major impact on the choice.”

Modrak is to meet the press some time today.

Lurie trotted out his old complaints about needing a new stadium and practice facility and how difficult the lack of both makes it to acquire free agents. But he did say if it’s necessary to attract talent to play in Philadelphia, he’s willing to overpay to get it.

He said it’s a misperception that he lacks the funds to compete with the rest of the league, saying only three or four teams are in a position to outspend him.

And asked if he’d consider selling the team if the new coaching regime doesn’t work out, Lurie said, “That’s not in the plan.”

Lurie said all of Rhodes’ assistants remain under contract and that he’ll encourage any new coach to interview them for jobs. He also said if the assistant coaches find new jobs elsewhere, the Eagles won’t stand in their way.

Saying he had “an inkling” at the end of training camp that this might be a disastrous season, Lurie said he stuck with Rhodes because football teams are such complex operations that changing coaches in the middle of the season probably wouldn’t have saved it.

And he said he stuck with Rhodes after last year’s 6-9-1 disappointment because he didn’t think it was fair to fire him after one bad season.

“To me, it was very clear that Ray deserved to coach another year,” Lurie said.

Lurie’s solo press conference came about 45 minutes after he and Rhodes appeared jointly to announce what Rhodes said he knew was coming almost two weeks ago.

Things got off to a rocky start when Lurie looked at the packed house of notepads, microphones and cameras and said something rather out of place for the somber occasion about it resembling a Rolling Stones concert.

“As expected, the Eagles are making a change of head coach,” Lurie said, then noting that he hopes he and Rhodes can remain good friends.

He added that despite his recent problems, Rhodes “will have a great coaching career.”

This year notwithstanding.

“I didn’t get it done this year,” Rhodes said.

Lots of interesting stuff there.

It really is crazy to think that Lurie hired Rhodes in 1995 without having a sound overall front office structure in place. Lurie was talking to some big names and may have felt that the coaching job would be more attractive if those guys could select their own people. Lurie had interest in Jimmy Johnson, but that never came close to anything. Lurie looked into Mike Shanahan, but lost him to Denver. There were also serious talks with Dick Vermeil.

The whole Rhodes situation benefited Lurie and the Eagles long term. Lurie learned that you need structure. There must be a specific plan in place.

I’m sure some of you will see these comments and wonder about Andy Reid.

At first, Lurie said it was “very difficult,” then added, “there is no way” a head coach can handle the team, the draft, the hiring of free agents and the waiver wire.

“When you have too much on your plate, too much responsibility, you tend to make decisions based on personalities,” Lurie said.

The Rhodes and Reid situations were very, very different. Rhodes didn’t have the same infrastructure in place. He had to do more busy-work as well as decision-making.

Reid made decisions, but he had a big staff providing him with tons of information. The scouts provided detailed reports and sent up “hit tapes” for Reid to watch so he could quickly get a feel for key prospects.

Technology also played a huge role. Computers were normal in the Reid era. Rhodes took over when the Internet was a mixture of science fiction and reality. Computers were used extensively in scouting players and building in-depth reports, but it still didn’t come close to the way computers were in the Reid era.

Lurie isn’t a perfect owner, but he’s pretty darn good. And it encouraging that he’s learned some lessons over the years.

_


  • Daniel Norman Richwine

    Accountability is a word Lurie repeats often. I have found it to be a key to self improvement for a person or a company.

    • P_P_K

      It seems like Lurie takes this seriously, unlike two of his peers in the NFC East, Snider and Jones.

  • Sean

    If there were a Bill Simmons-esque karma rankings for owners deserving of a championship, Lurie would have to be near the top. Of course, if Simmons himself did them, Lurie would be last because Philadelphia is the worst city on Earth and makes Calcutta look like Beverly Hills.

    • Cafone

      Philadelphia is an awesome city and you sound like you haven’t traveled very much, particularly I doubt you’ve seen either Calcutta or Beverly Hills.

      • Baloophi

        I think Sean is suggesting that’s how Bill Simmons views Philadelphia… as in, if Simmons did in fact do karma rankings for owners deserving of championships, he would downgrade Lurie because he is so biased against the city.

        • Baloophi

          Also – for what it’s worth – I drive through Beverly Hills on my way to work and from what I’ve seen of Calcutta on television, I know they at least have traffic in common…

        • Cafone

          Maybe Simmons gets defensive because Philly is so much better than his hometown, Boston.

          No city in the US can compete with Manhattan, but after New York I’ll put Philadelphia over any other city in the US other than San Francisco (Or New Orleans, depending on how you feel about it)

          • Baloophi

            I have no doubt about that. Bill Simmons built his
            reputation and writing style around the myth of the long-suffering Boston area
            sports fan. His early articles would list things like “The Top Ten
            Stomach Punch Games in All of Sports” and no less than 5 would be Red Sox
            or Patriots (…the Celtics were curiously left out of the historical loser
            category).

            In particular, he focused on the Red Sox / Yankees dynamic which – at the time
            - was a David / Goliath construct in which the Red Sox organization refused to
            spend big like the evil Yankees. The Red Sox would try to win fair and
            square and not by buying championships. The implication was that Red Sox
            fans were more deserving and passionate than other sports fans and the
            “no World Series title since 1918″ was almost worn as a martyr’s
            badge with little to no acknowledgement of Cubs fans, Bills fans, or the
            cities of Cleveland, San Diego, Baltimore, or Philadelphia.

            When the Patriots started winning and suddenly adopted 6 states worth of fans
            who couldn’t pick Steve Grogan out of a line-up let alone appreciate the rarity
            and depravity of the “tuck rule,” AND the Red Sox started winning
            after finally embracing the Yankees “spend” model, it became very
            difficult for Simmons to continue painting Boston area sports fans as the
            beleaguered-yet-loyal masses who trudge out to support their righteous yet
            loser teams… especially when they do things like boo three-time Super Bowl
            champion Tom Brady in the first quarter of a playoff game and leave before the
            half (Ravens, 2010).

            Compounding matters for Simmons and his “long-suffering Boston fans”
            thesis were the legions of banner-baggers who materialized from the woodwork to
            dress up like Colonials in Gillette Stadium, don pink Red Sox hats, look the
            other way when Belichick gets caught cheating and says he’s not going to talk
            about it anymore, pretend that singing “Sweet Caroline” during the
            7th inning stretch is a hallowed tradition that pre-dates the Rally Monkey, sell
            out TD Garden to watch newly acquired KG and Ray Allen wake Paul Pierce up in
            time for the playoffs, give their Golden Retrievers names like Papi in honor of
            his PED abuse, and line-up early to get a good seat for Drew Barrymore / Jimmy
            Fallon rom-coms set in Fenway.

            It was hard for Simmons to sell this duck boat of a bandwagon as deserving when just a
            scant 300 miles down 95 an actual suffering-yet-loyal fan-base was getting
            kicked in the nuts by Ronde Barber, Greg Favors’ helmet, nauseous quarterbacks,
            driveway sit-ups, missed field goals, flag-less Rod Hood trips and improvised
            Vick heaves into the end zone. To help preserve the myth of the
            long-suffering Boston fan, Simmons has bought whole-hog into the
            battery-throwing, Santa Claus-hating, McNabb-booing narrative of the
            “stupid Philly fan” in an effort to erode any “deserving”
            argument. During the NBA Draft Lottery selection you saw him giggle with
            glee like King Joffrey during a little-person fight when the Cavs were awarded
            the number one pick. He
            immediately suggested that karma had just punished the Sixers for losing 26
            games in a row… because by losing 6 more games than the Celtics, Philadelphia was guilty of tanking and dishonoring the game. Eat me.

            On a personal level, I lived in New England from 1992 – 2001 and knew very few
            diehard Patriot or Red Sox fans… let’s just say they weren’t exactly paying twice face value
            to see Scott Zolak fire the pigskin around Foxboro or Tim Naehring man the hot
            corner in Fenway. A couple Super Bowls and World Championships later and
            suddenly Boston is a historical “sports town.”

            I actually think Bill Simmons is quite funny and I used to look forward to
            reading his articles back on ESPN’s Page 2… I just reached a point where I could no longer stomach the
            Boston-centric prism through which he sees the sports world… especially since
            that seems to necessarily require a bias against Philly fans. Oddly enough, I suspect had
            Simmons grown up saddled with Philadelphian teams like us, he would absolutely loathe Boston fans, too.

          • RobNE

            This is really well said. I grew up outside of, and then lived in Philly for a few years then moved to Boston in 2000. Read Simmons even before he was on espn’s Page 2. I loved him. Really in depth, great movie references etc. But when Boston began winning everything it’s harder to keep that same angle. He also stopped most of his interesting (to me) writing in order to write about the NBA every other day. Then recently (last few years) his anti-Philly bias has gotten out of hand.

            In a way, it’s hard to root for a winner and not end up disliked by fans of the other teams. You end up looking (or being) pompous.

          • teltschikfakeout88

            tremendous post Baloophi…..I worked up in Boston for 16 months during 2006 and 2007….the day after they lost the SB to the Giants….it was like a ghost town…..in any event….the Boston schtick of being lovable losers is over and tired….

          • Baloophi

            Ranking cities is obviously a subjective venture but since I can’t sleep it might be fun to simply generate a list of “cool” cities (rather than rank).

            I’d like to add Chicago to your list: easy to get around, nice people (provided you don’t get shot), fantastic architecture and public spaces, delicious / carb-loaded foods, great music, great history, knowledgeable sports fans…

            If you can divorce yourself from the nauseating “12th man” / “yay, sports!” factor, Seattle looks pretty cool, too. I’ve never been, but would love to get up there and see what drives all those people to become serial killers and/or software mavens.

            Denver might appeal to the outdoorsmen and women in the group…

            Also out west is Portland which by many accounts is a very liveable city… European, perhaps, in it’s bicycle-ness…

            Growing up outside of the “other” Portland (Maine) I’m compelled to throw that on that list, too. Not as big or as entitled as Boston, but cobblestone streets and access to beautiful country… in the summer, or “summah.”

            Obviously anything in Texas is right out the window, but concealed-gun to my head I’d start with San Antonio and then maybe Austin? Though I get the sense that they might be trying too hard.

            Nashville… music and food?

            Memphis… see above.

            I’ll let Tommy choose a North Carolina winner…

            Miami, Houston, L.A. are all too physically spread out to have a singular identity…in their own ways they really stretch the definition of a city – and not in a good way.

            Honolulu? The city itself is compact, crowded and poor, yet rich with history and geography. We’d be remiss in not including our 50th state in the list.

            Also outside the contiguous 48 I’m going to throw in Dutch Harbor – the home port of the Deadliest Catch boats. Yes – not a city – but I bet drinking with sea dogs is a good time… especially if you don’t have to get up at 4 in the morning to sail in the Bering Sea or develop a meth addiction.

          • bsuperfi

            Chicago rules. I grew up in Philly but have lived in chicago for almost a decade at this point. Other benefits of chicago; it’s like Philly in many ways but on PEDs. It’s blue collar but cosmopolitan. People love their sports here. The Blackhawks really have the city. I’d argue it has the best restaurants in the country. And it has a love affair with all things pork and especially bacon. Glorious bacon.

            Though as for getting around… The el is great when a train car isn’t on fire, but the traffic here is actually a beast.

          • Ark87

            Chicago’s music scene is pretty on point. My top musicians from my favorite genres are almost all from Chicago. Rise Against for hardcore punk, Chevelle for rock, Lupe for rap.

          • Ben Hert

            If you like those kinds of genre’s you should consider going to Riot Fest. Went last year, it was phenomenal.

            http://riotfest.org/chicago/lineup/

          • Ark87

            I wanted to go so bad!

          • bsuperfi

            Though at risk of sounding hipster, the festival is getting more mainstream and IMO worse every year. Same thing happened to pitchfork. Really a shame.

          • Ben Hert

            You’re absolutely right. Pitchfork is a real shame as well. Thats become a running joke.

            I thoroughly enjoyed the sight of what looked like a rainbow massacre last year after all the teenie boppers hair coloring washed out in all the rain. But the Pixies and The Replacements live right after one another last year was one of my 2013 highlights, so I’ll put up with it again to see Wu-Tang, The Cure, and Weezer performing the entire Blue Album.

          • bsuperfi

            Yeah, some of those older bands are still playing hard. I saw weezer play the blue album at the congress a few years back. Tons of fun.

          • Dominik

            Holy sh*t. Feel jealous right now. Dropkicks, Wu Tang, The National – great line up. Not a big fan of Slayer or Rise Against (went to a concert here in Germany with a friend who is a huge fan of them and was never so disappointed), but you can skip those, I think.

          • Ben Hert

            Its a fantastic line-up this year, great festival if you can make it state-side for a weekend haha.

          • Ben Hert

            Where’s a good place to catch Eagles games here? I’ve heard Mad River is Philly centric, but the service sucks there. I have Sunday ticket, but sometimes I just want to go somewhere surrounded by Midnight green to enjoy the game.

          • bsuperfi

            Mad river is the only place I know for eagles fans, and I agree that the service stinks. It should actually be my spot because it’s a University of Michigan bar too, and that’s my college team (Jason Avant, I’ll always love you; Brandon graham, they done you wrong).

            I’ve just started to entice my more native friends over to my ace for big eagles games with the deep fryer. Though, they’re pretty sick about hearing how this years the year.

          • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

            bmore!!

          • Dominik

            If you don’t trust this guy: watch The Wire. If you have watched The Wire already, how could you not love this city?

            Basically I’m saying you should watch The Wire. ;)

          • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

            But of course! Although I spent time working in the city jail as a counselor and still do anti-violence work….so I live it every day :)

            http://www.300menmarch.com

          • Dominik

            Lol, “the white guy” pretty much tells who you are. Literally. Wonder what David Simon is doing these days. Wouldn’t such a march be something for him?

          • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

            Uh…Thanks I guess.
            And he’s just you’re classic internet pessimist these days. http://davidsimon.com

          • Dominik

            It wasn’t meant to be offensive, pal. I just thought it was funny that you wrote “I’m the white guy” and there are 5 pictures or so with many people, and really only one of them being white.

          • Tumtum

            It is pretty sad I have never seen The Wire, living just outside Baltimore.

            I personally love the city, the down-town and surrounding bar districts have a great layout and getting around is a breeze. The bad part comes from the rest/majority of the city that looks like a post-apocalyptic waste land. The harbor water quality is among the worst in the nation, and there are some filthy people that pollute the beautiful waterways.

            On a positive note the city has done a ton to help rebuilding efforts of developers and construction companies. There is a bunch of capital being invested in redevelopment of the city, property values are skyrocketing, and in 20 years it could very well be at the top of this list.

            Lets not forget we have the Os….with our O in the star spangled banner.

          • Dominik

            When I watched The Wire, or read what you as a citizen (of outside Baltimore) have to say about the inner-city, I feel like I understand the storyteller in this great, legendary GMF song:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4o8TeqKhgY

            And since we already are discussing movies and music here, it’s not even that much OT. ;)

          • Tumtum

            Haha that explains parts of the city pretty darn well.

          • Tumtum

            Raleigh is a pretty darn cool town in N.C., but like I said before nothing touches Denver in my book.

            San Diego also very underrated if not for the very walkable sprawling design and close proximity to such a wide range of activities. You can literally surf in the morning and be skiing by the evening (pretty close to year round). The people there are also BY FAR the nicest I have happened across in this country.

          • Tumtum

            Depends on what you want in a city! I hate New York, am not big on D.C, Philly is solid, Boston is Pleasant. None of them hold a candle to Denver in my book though.

      • A Roy

        Didn’t Fresh Prince move to Beverly Hills? Or was that Jed Clampett?

  • Baloophi

    I can’t recall there ever being a time when Andy Reid had too much on his plate…

  • Baloophi

    “Rhodes took over when the Internet was a mixture of science fiction and reality.”

    Fantastic quote… and very true. Two Internet-themed movies from 1995 that jump out to me are “Virtuosity” – in which a serial killer manages to escape virtual reality – and “The Net” – in which a software programmer looks like this:

    Science fiction indeed.

    • TommyLawlor

      I re-watched The Net last year. It doesn’t hold up all that well. It wasn’t exactly Citizen Kane when it came out, but the floppy disks and dial up connections really make it seem silly at times.

      • Baloophi

        Don’t forget Dennis Miller in a major supporting role…

      • Ark87

        I rewatched “Hackers” recently(ish) and it didn’t hold up too bad. But maybe that’s the nostalgia

  • JakFTW

    I also think this section is a little analogous to the end of the Reid era:

    “And he said he stuck with Rhodes after last year’s 6-9-1 disappointment because he didn’t think it was fair to fire him after one bad season.

    “To me, it was very clear that Ray deserved to coach another year,” Lurie said.”

    I think Lurie understands that it’s possible for a good coach/team to have a bad year, so it takes more than one trending badly before he’ll change direction.

    • Dominik

      Thought the same while reading it.

      I like the philosophy behind it, teams who fire their HC too often never win anything, it’s like changing your QB too often, but it’s tough. I’m sure there are teams who were good, had one mediocre or even bad season and turned it around with their current HC. F.e., I totally get that Smith is still the HC in Atlanta and I didn’t understand the Texans firing Kubiak (both as outsider, I don’t know exactly what was going on in these Franchises).

      But: you could end up losing one year of rebuilding with this attitude. I think that’s what happens to the Giants at the moment. There is no right or wrong, I guess (at the moment you make this decision, in hindsight there is, obv.). You must rely on your gut feeling as an owner. Do the players still believe in the coach? Has he the fire left in him to turn this thing around?

      • GEAGLE

        Yup…the giants are letting us get an even bigger head start. They are making the same exact mistake we made with Andy, retooling and thinking he had one left run in him. Like the eagles, Giants are making the same mistake. Instead of building then the draft like they always did, they signed a welfare version of the dream team…giants added like 25 new players….25 new players aren’t going to click and come together over night, especially when all the veterans on offense are busy learning a new offense…. This season will blow up in the giants face….nTHEY will never again be a threat until they hire the next RIGHT coach, who find the RIGHT next QB…

        Giants should have learned from out mistake with Andy…instead they rare headed down the same exact road

        • Dominik

          I tend to think you’re right, but the Giants are in a strange situation. Their D can carry them to some extend (#8 since Beason was aquired) and Eli showed he can have a playoff run under the right circumstances. Coughlin is a SB winning coach.

          I get the thinking in giving those two one more shot (Eli is too young to retire), but my gut tells me it won’t have much success (although I still see the Giants as our biggest rival for the East crown, which doesn’t speak for the Division overall).

          The Giants were always hit or miss under Coughlin. That’s why it’s so difficult for their FO/ownership to make a good decision. And don’t forget, the 7-9 record is the first losing record since 2004 and without the last minute FG against the Cowboys, they are 8-8.

          • GEAGLE

            Beason injury hurts them. They did some weird shit this offseason like letting such a young stud like Linvale Joseph go to the Vikings, and replace him with Randy ayers ..they running their mouth about how deep they are AT CB, but they all suck if you ask me. Antrel can no longer take advantage of Vicks low football IQ..
            ..
            How is the fairy DRC going to do when we stick Cooper or Ertz in front of him? They will bully the shit out of him, unless they let DRC follow Maclin around. DRC probably would do well against Maclin, I’ll give them that… Lil Walter Thurmond gonna get Bullied by saint Jordon in the slot…
            ..
            They got a stud in ODB and they are expecting a monster sophmore year out of Jonathon Hankins..I think Damontre Moore is a stone cold bum..JPP I don’t even worry about anymore…

            They will be an interesting team, now that you got me thinking. Bout it…but they won’t have time to Gel having to incorporate too many new players, and I have seen how dysfunctional it can get when you don’t have strong team unity and personalities like DRC acting a fool in your locker room… Curious to see how their season unfolds..

        • Tumtum

          I don’t know… the last time I thought that they went out and won the Super Bowl.

          • GEAGLE

            You don’t get 25 new players, snap your fingers and they just magically Gel and go on to win a Super Bowl. Their welfare version of the dream team is going to blow up in their face…. You don’t win SB with character like DRC in your locker room lol
            ,..
            This year is a desperation attempt, COUGHLIN is going away from everything that made him successful like building thru the draft, his offense, and is throwing a Hail Mary signing 25 new players, implementing a Westcoast offense…
            ..
            So not only does he literally have to incorporate over 20 new players, but his returning offensive players will be busy learning a new a offense, so it’s not like they can help the new players much……

            Giants are probably better in the trenches than the skins or cowboys, so they should be able to compete with the skins and cowboys…but there is no reason we shouldn’t beat the giants twice this year… I want to Embarress them so bad!! Idiots had the audacity to talk about how they shut us down when Matt Barkley was playing in his first game….funny they don’t mention FOles coming in at half time, cold off the bench and led us to a win over them in their house with FOles seeing his first action of the season….
            ..
            Figure we dominate our division. More than one or two losses in the division and this year will have been a failure, need to dominate the NFC east slop… Figure the other 3 teams will beat on each other and split the series between the 3 teams… We all face tough outside division schedule, but we are equipped to steal a couple games outside the division where as the other 3 teams are going to get their asses handed to them

            I think Eli is done….but he will have a built in excuse with this being his first year in a west coast offense

          • Tumtum

            Didn’t realize how many new players they added. The way you describe them makes them sound almost like the 13′ Eagles.

          • GEAGLE

            They added two or three times more players than we did during the dream team year, or chips first year here… They went crazy, I don’t think I ever seen a team add so many new players…they added like 3 new RBs, like 3 DL, 3 DBs, TEs, WRs, OL ,…almost half of the 53 man roster will be new giants……I place too much value in continuity, gelling and playing as a cohesive unit to be worried about a team that made so many changes

      • Tumtum

        The only thing with Kubiak is that he was on the cusp of being fired for a very long time. When they finally made the play-offs and lost to the Ravens in the first round, I feel like had the Ravens not won it all he would been fired.

        In reality that team had better than .500 talent for a long time but never really got there. I think that was probably a good firing.

    • tag1555

      Very possible that Hoying’s strong finish that year helped save Rhodes’ job, too. It really looked like we’d solved the QB problem after the Detmer/Peete competition to succeed Randall had flickered out without either of them impressing.

      • JakFTW

        A bit similar to the effect of Vick’s re-emergence under Reid.

        • tag1555

          I’m just hoping we’re not going to be adding “…or Foles in Kelly’s first year…” to that list down the line.

  • Cafone

    On one hand, Lurie was saying the smart thing there.

    On the other hand, did the hiring of Tom Modrak really improve the talent the Eagles were drafting? Google “Eagles draft history” and look at those first three drafts after Rhodes. Sure, the Eagles were able to do ok by selecting McNabb with the 2nd pick in the draft, and Corey Simon with the 6th, but after those high picks it’s a pretty ugly collection of bums.

    They did turn it around in the 4th year with the Sheppard/Lewis/Brown/Westbrook draft, but it’s not like the Modrak hiring paid instant dividends.

    • TommyLawlor

      Modrak was key in identifying who to re-sign. Eagles became very good about keeping talent and not obsessing on other teams players.

      And the Eagles were good in FA. Brian Mitchell. Carlos Emmons. Jon Runyan. Etc. Drafting was erratic, but I think a lot of that was due to Modrak being a 3-4/power run game coach and Reid being a 4-3/passing coach.

      • tag1555

        If memory serves, before Modrak the front office was heavily divided between Mike Lombardi (Rhodes’ guy) and Dick Daniels (the incumbent), and the two of them didn’t get along. Made the competition between Banner and Roseman look small by comparison. The front office mess got to the point that the final Rhodes draft in 1998 was run by Bryan Broaddus, the college scouting administrator, because Daniels had left and Lombardi was only the pro personnel director, not a GM. http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1955&dat=19980415&id=G38xAAAAIBAJ&sjid=laYFAAAAIBAJ&pg=1166,9266640

  • Ark87

    Lurie is a hell of a thoughtful dude, also, was this a standout article back then or was writing just better? Great read.

    • A_T_G

      I notice that too. The five w’s have kinda fallen by the wayside in modern reporting.

  • Dominik

    Hey guys, a quick OT question. A friend of mine (huge College Football/SEC fan) here in Germany is thinking about buying the ESPN College pass. Will there be a problem now with the new SEC network?

    My friend said that the SEC network is owned by ESPN in some way and therefore the games will be on the College pass. Any of you guys know if that’s correct?

    • Birds4Life

      I went on the ESPN Gameplan site and it says that you can watch games from top conferences, and it lists the SEC. So it looks like he would be able to, but I can’t say for sure.

      • Dominik

        No one can say for sure at the moment, my buddy checked it, too. But it sure seems like it, so thank you!

  • Scott J

    As much as I’ve tried to wipe the Ray Rhodes era from my mind, I remember two things about him. 1. His special teams were horrible and he eventually had to take them over – which didn’t help. 2. His “inspirational” speech, “They’re coming to rape your wife.”

    • ICDogg

      For all his faults he did leave a few outstanding players on the roster.

  • GEAGLE

    Looks like trouble brewing in the big easy.., probably not a good idea to give Another teams safety 50million dollars, and then go be cheap with your best player. Jimmy Graham lost arbitration and he is basically lost 5milliion… Allegedly here is a real chance he skips training camp and the first 8 weeks of the NFL season. Do the saint even have the cap space to be able to make him happy? Probably doesn’t feel good to see your QB not stick up for you and help “the man” screw you out of 5milliom dollars….

    Looks like Howie was smart for taking into account how your locker room feels when you go and pay another teams player big money…. I’m not suggesting that we should never go pay for a big time addition to our team, but it might be a good idea not to go out and sign Jarius Byrd at the same time you are being cheap with one of your best players..if you are going to make a big free agent addition, do it at a time when your house is in order instead of doing it when you are having money disputes with a key player…..
    ..
    I think the saints screwed up, and there won’t be a happy ending. Curious to see which team Jimmy Graham plays for next

    • teltschikfakeout88

      Last sentence of the last paragraph…..that shizz is too funny…..surprised you didn’t make “salad tossing” comment…..

      • GEAGLE

        Lol… If I were Barwin! next time I played Jimmy I would torture him all game.. “Fresh Fish!!!!”

    • Maggie

      An allegedly neutral arbitrator made the decision, not the Saints. It’s the NFL displaying muscle and now the tone is set for all tight ends. this according to several knowledgeable football people who have been watching the situation closely.

  • GEAGLE

    What are some of the individual matchups that people look forward to this season?

    1) FOles vs. Luck …. I feel it in my bones that this is FOles national coming out party. Nick will be jacked up, he is going to out play luck and lead us to a win on the road in weak two, and this is when the national media will really start to accept the rainmaker as the boss that he is!

    2)One of the most fascinating but scary matchups of the season:
    The Mighty Robert Quinn vs. Jason Peters.
    ..
    Real talk, Robert Quinn is one of best players in the NFL and I’m glad he is starting to get recognized as such, the dude us a pass rush TERROR who has a big impact on games. The best in the business, hall of fame bound JP vs. one of the best young players in the game…I can’t wait to go back and review the Rams game and watch ever snap of their battle. Jason Peters will have to play one of the best games of his life, and our Oline needs to bring it! because we can’t let that nasty front 4 beat on FOles….Thankfully Lane won’t be suspended for that game!

    3) Eagles top ranked rush defense(our front 7) vs the power run games of BEASTMODE and Frank Gore… If our front 7 shows up and can win those battles, we can steal a game or two against those powerhouses..

    4) Desean Jackson vs. our secondary.. Curious to see how we defend him…wouldn’t be surprised if we look to our bench and task Nolan Carrol with matching up with Jaccson(just a hunch). Malcolm is going to have help shut him down. Chip will know the best way to defend Desean..heck just look at the saints game.
    ….
    5) Saint Jordan vs. Walter Thurmond, giants slot CB who was running his mouth to Boykin. Hope to see Jordan use that 6’3 215lbs to bully that fool.
    ..
    6) Texans game should be fun on many levels, Barwin talked about how jacked up he will be to face the Texans, I’m sure Meco will feel the same as well as all the other Texans that play for us that were let go by that organization. Clowney vs. Lane Johnson should be fun. JJ Watt vs. Herremans,Lane,Kelce should be A crucial match up.
    ..
    7) Sproes and Shady vs. Luke Keachly(love this kid), dude had 24 tackles in a game against the saints last year. But I remember our offense making him look foolish in the preseason. Hopefully shady and Sproles can get the best of that match up

    8) I want to see what Ertz can do against the Seahawks elite safeties and coverage LBs.. This game will be late in Ertz second season, so it should be a good test for our young stud.

    9) our run game STAMPEDING the cowboys and redskins front 7

    10) Cox,Curry,Marcus,Barwin,Kruger!Cole, Kendrick vs. Tony Romos back! eagles front 7 is FEASTING on Romo turkey for thanksgiving this year…I’m trying to get tix to thanksgiving in dallas

    Some juicy matchups, and great tests to see where our young bucks are at next year… We are so damn fortunate to be playing the rams in the 5th game. playing that team without Lane Johnson would have been a nightmare

    • zbone95

      Man our offense will face against the best defenses 9ers, hawks, panthers, rams, texans, cardinals. This should really give a great indication of whether our offense is unstoppable or not. Great year to prove all doubters wrong. luck vs foles that should be a great one.

      • GEAGLE

        Yup….what I really like about the schedule is that if we get in the playoffs we will have been battle tested and we will have already experienced all the teams we could run into in the NFC playoffs. Get into the playoffs and try to go on a run…
        ..
        After the Giants won those two superbowls, there is no reason why we shouldn’t strive to win a Lombardi this year…if you make it to the playoffs,, then you are good enough to win SB.. New season starts January.. Get hot, and you don’t have to be the best team on paper

    • RobNE

      Eagles offense v. Seahawks D.

      Eagles v. AFC champion in Feb

      • GEAGLE

        Seahawks game will be interesting because they have the best defense to match up with us… Niners have a great defense, but I think we are a bad matchup for them and we will light them go and win that game…Hawks have elite safeties and good running backs that can run n cover…Seattle d is best suited to match up with Sproles, shady and Ertz! where as most teams won’t stand a chance against those 3

        • Insomniac

          That secondary outclasses our entire receiving corps…

          The Rams kinda remind me of the recent SB winning Giants team. Ferocious pass rush that will chew up any QB. I don’t like the idea of Donald vs Kelce. He’s faster and stronger than Kelce…notto mention he has good technique too.

          • GEAGLE

            I love Tharold Simon, but he is unproven,… Who starts across from Sherm? And who starts in the slot with Thurmond now a Giant? Browner is with the patriots.. Who replaced browner last year?

          • Insomniac

            Byron Maxwell started when Browner was suspended. Maxwell played pretty well in place of Browner and is expected to replace Browner. He’s another big corner that plays press. Idk who’ll replace Thurmond in the slot though.

          • GEAGLE

            That’s right….don’t quote me on this, but I think they move Maxwell inside and start Tharold Simon outside opposite Shem

    • Baloophi

      Phil Simms et al. v. Chip Kelly’s “Gimmicky” Offense

      I know these national pundits have difficulty analyzing every play from every game during the season, but after having access to a full season of our offense on tape I’m curious to see how the “college boy” myth morphs this coming season. Will they accept that the offense is not gimmicky and more of a physical, run-base system with window-dressings meant to spread the field? Or will they revert back to the old “NFL coordinators will figure it out” argument following our first bad game? Or perhaps pin any success on personnel – i.e. – “Without McCoy and Sproles and their ability to break tackles, this offense would be lucky to put up more than 10 points a week.” I’m guessing one of the latter two options…

      Nick Foles v. Media Perception

      Like the above (and kissing cousin to GEAGLE’s “Foles v. Luck” scenario), should Foles come anywhere close to repeating his performance from last season, how will the media respond? Even given the opportunity to review all of his throws and – perhaps more importantly – his overall decision-making, many in the media are still painting him as noodle-armed, lucky, and/or the product of the system. Perhaps some of it is simply a misunderstanding of how the offense works, but given the NFL’s idolatry of winning quarterbacks, how will they characterize him should Foles string together another great season? Is his “perception ceiling” that of Trent Dilfer – an operator who simply does what he’s told? Will he ever be able to escape the “stink” of being a third round pick? I know people have real difficulty letting go of draft position despite results (even around here with the “he was drafted in the 3rd round for a reason” argument), but is Foles doomed to play second fiddle to Luck, RG3, Tannehill, and Russell Wilson until he brings home the Lombardi? I don’t really care if that’s the case, I’m just curious how things will play out in the media.

      ATTN: ACVike and others – Other than Brady (who had to win multiple Super Bowls), what other 3rd round and down QB’s in the modern age have been able to “overcome” their draft status? Romo, I guess…

      • ACViking

        I’ll use the 1979 season as the dividing line, because that’s when the NFL began limiting DBs’ contact with WRs to the first 5 yards.

        The NFL’s most dominant/successful QBs in the late 50s to late 60s were — as fate would have it — a 9th rd pick and a 17th rd pick: John Unitas (cut by the Steelers, signed by the Colts) and Bart Starr, combined to win 8 championships in 10 title-game starts.

        The NFL’s most prolific passer (until the current flag-football era) from ’60-’78: 3rd rd pick Fran Tarkenton. But “Scramblign Fran” was 0-3 in the SB. Not his fault . . . his Vikings ran into the ’73 Dolphins, Steelers ’74, and Raiders ’76. The AFC was truly dominant in the ’70s.

        The greatest deep passer of any era — but no SB wins — Oakland’s Mad Bomber, Daryle Lamonica — originally a 24th rd pick of the Bills in ’64 from Notre Dame. After joining the Raiders in ’67, Lamonica led Oakland — in consecutive seasons — to (i) the SB [loss to GB], (ii) AFL title game [loss to SB champ Jets], (iii) AFL title game [loss to SB champ Chiefs, (iv) AFC title game [loss to SB champ Colts], (v) missed the playoffs in ’71, (vi) loss in the Divisional round to Pittsburgh in the Immaculate Reception game in ’72.

        I don’t count Roger Staubach, a 10th rd “Futures” pick in the ’64 draft by the Cowboys because, but for his naval commitment, he’s a 1st Rd pick. Went 2-2 in the SB.

        Otherwise, the late ’60s and ’70s were dominated by 1st Rd picks (and one 2nd Rd pick): Griese, Bradshaw, Brodie, Gabriel, Kilmer, Bert Jones, Ken Stabler (2nd rd).
        _____________

        Then the rules changed.

        The greatest 3rd Rd pick? Very likely Joe Montana ’79, with his 4 SB titles.

        Greatest “tough luck” 3rd rd pick at QB? Maybe Dan Fouts . . . from Oregon. QB’d Air Coryell in SD. Lost in the ’79 Division Rd to the great Oilers w/ Earl Campbell and a suffocating 3-4 defense. Lost in the 1980 AFC title game to the Raiders. Lost in the 1981 AFC title game to the Bengals at Cincinnati — in a game that left Fouts forst-bitten and never the same.

        How ’bout 4th Rd pick Joe Thiesmann, originally selected in ’71 by the Dolphins. JT went to Canada instead, returned to the US in ’74. Later, under Joe Gibbs, won a SB and lost a SB. Career ended gruesomely, or he might have won another SB.

        Last QB I’ll put out there . . . Kurt Warner. 1-2 in the SB. Story well known to anyone over the age of 15.

        • Baloophi

          Fantastic as always, AC.

          So the takeaway is that Foles is Montana. I’ll take it.

  • ICDogg

    Another “perspective from the old days”

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bro4JBHIMAAL8Np.jpg

  • GEAGLE

    Shady says “FOles is one of the best QB in the NFL and he will prove it this year”…PREACH Pastor Shady!!!

  • GEAGLE

    Dion Jordon 4 game suspension for PEDs… So basically, no matter who we would have drafted last year, he wouldn’t be playing the first 4 games for us this year lol.

    I praised BANE Johnson for how cock diesel he looked…and Dion looked like “you took am air pump to his shoulders and arms”…

    Both suspended for PEDs… Dion actually released a statement taking responsibility…Lame hasn’t answered yet

    • McNabbulousness

      damn GEAGLE you’re fast, i just saw that on the self proclaimed worldwide leader and was about to comment on it here

    • Ark87

      makes me feel a little better in a weird way.

      • GEAGLE

        Yup…no matter what happened in last years draft we were destined to play the first 4 games without our number 1 pick..
        ..
        Be thankful we get Lane back for week 5 against the best Dline in the NFL…Rams…

    • anon

      Must have been training together b/c LJ looked rocked up too.

    • SteveH

      Dolphins shoulda dealt Dion when they had the chance.

      • GEAGLE

        Right!!! We will get him eventually. No way he goes his entire career without ROCKIN the midnight green

  • unhinged

    The situations between Rhodes and Reid may have been different, but Lurie was apparently blind to history repeating itself, and bears much of the responsibility for Reid’s disastrous handling of the defense after Jim Johnson died. Whether it was trusting in Joe Banner’s football acumen, or believing Reid was a genius, odds are a solid GM would have hired a proven DC who would never have accepted the trove of small, high-motor unknowns that Reid had a penchant for picking.