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Thursday, January 05, 2012

What Jeffrey Lurie Really Said

His press conference was a mixed bag, but listening closely, one concept keeps coming back to me -- he's the best coach for us to win a championship next year. That's what Lurie said, so let's consider the comment.

First, if you agree with the premise that this team can win a championship next year, then logically it might follow that Reid knows the personnel the best and, therefore, is best situated to continue with his team and win a championship.

Second, if you agree with the premise that over the past couple of years the Eagles needed to shift gears, get younger and re-tool, you might be more patient with Reid than others because at some point the team did need to get younger. But that doesn't mean that you agree with the next premise, that the re-tooled team is in a position to win a championship.

Third, if you listened closely, does Reid pretty much have an ultimatum -- push the rock up to the top of the hill or leave town?

I don't agree that this team can win a championship. The team lacks linebacking, had iffy safety play, has some holes in its offensive line, needs a seasoned defensive coordinator and more consistent play from its quarterback, who, yes, must learn how to slide to protect the team's investment. He also must learn how to play in the pocket more, because it's hard to name a QB who won a Super Bowl by not staying in the pocket. One does not exist. The team does have a bunch of talent, should improve next year, but win a title? Unlikely.

I do think that in saying that he did without being very blunt, Lurie has told us that if Big Red doesn't win a title, he might be gone. Or, perhaps the impression he wanted to give off, but no fan bit. And the reason that no fan has bit is because had the Birds gone 4-12 this year, Lurie might have had no choice but to fire Reid. But the Birds went 8-8, and, well, it's tough to argue with Reid's entire body of work. Especially if you are Jeffrey Lurie. So, it stands to reason that despite this "ultimatum," were the Birds to go 11-5 next year and lose in the NFC Championship game, well, Reid might just get another 5-year deal.

So. . . tea-leaf readers might infer that Lurie gave Reid and ultimatum. Or they just might infer that Lurie is bullish that the combination of the re-tooled team, another year of experience and Reid's helmsmanship might be able to win a title next year. That's probably the most logical inference.

But not one that makes any Birds' fan happy at all.

It's Lurie's team, the fans will keep on coming back and buying merchandise and expensive beer no matter what, so Eagles' fans shouldn't expect any dramatic changes. Drama, yes, but dramatic changes at the top? Probably not.

What they can expect is a steady state of 8-8 to 11-5 finishes, perhaps an appearance in a conference championship game, etc.

But not a Super Bowl title.


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