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December 03, 2020

John McMullen: Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie has lost his way

Opinion Eagles

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Jeffrey-Lurie_071320_usat Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie.

Jeffrey Lurie has every right to meddle with his own football team if he likes and the thought of a long-time owner still caring so deeply after over a quarter-century and finally capturing a Lombardi Trophy is a hell of a lot better than the alternative of apathy.

That said, there are other avenues than that black and white definition of what might be going on with the Philadelphia Eagles right now.

Multiple reports over the past two weeks have the Eagles owner thinking about breaking the cardinal rule of smart people — the ability to know what he doesn't know.

More so, time, and way too little of it not to be concerning, has seemingly robbed Lurie of his ability to discern why he made a mistake with Chip Kelly and by extension how he corrected it with Doug Pederson.

If Lurie truly skipped Cleveland because his team stinks. If he walked out of practice in disgust, and if he ordered, or even encouraged Pederson to give more playing time to Jalen Hurts, none of this is going to end well.

So where do we start?

To be fair it's at least plausible that the Hurts aspect of this is wrong and Pederson had no intention of ramping up the rookie quarterback's snaps against Seattle nor did Lurie order him to do so.

However, if angst over a 3-7-1 team with massive personnel holes is fueling emotional decision-making, Lurie's stuck in the weeds.

His core belief when it comes to the modern NFL is being ahead of the curve with offensive football and there is somewhat of a preoccupation at the NovaCare Complex with being "innovative" when it relates to the passing game.

A two-quarterback offense for instance is something for the think tank in South Philadelphia during the offseason, not the practicality of beating Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay on a December Sunday.

That kind of academic approach is how Lurie got caught buying Kelly's snake-oil in the first place, bamboozled to believe the former coach's smoothies and sleep monitors weren't the illusion hiding the one-trick pony of tempo.

And remember Lurie had Andy Reid, a certain future Hall of Fame coach who is the offensive mind of a generation, for nearly 15 years.

Reid’s shelf life ran its course in Philadelphia but that doesn’t mean the organization shouldn’t have recognized what Big Red was and went forward with a similar path repackaged with a new voice, something it ultimately did do by bringing back Pederson, a Reid acolyte, after Kelly was exposed.

Has Lurie really blocked all of that out?

Emperors with no clothes can't say things like "nutrition and taking care of your body are important" because the response might be "duh," forcing them to move into more substantive parts of a plan.

So, the goal of any con is to dress it up with a fancy title like sports science and throw some bells and whistles in like monitoring the color of urine, and voila you've hoodwinked that guy who doesn't know what he doesn't know.

It's becoming increasingly clear that Lurie didn't even fire Kelly for the right reasons and even though the boss lived through it, Lurie doesn't seem to understand the difference between his last two coaches is as clear as day — his much-mocked corporate phrase “emotional intelligence.”

Kelly's ultimate sin was his personality and nothing else. He wasn’t fired for his leadership deficiencies, he was jettisoned for his inability to get along with people on a personal level, and by people I mean Lurie.

You'd like to give Lurie the benefit of the doubt here but he's acted like a WIP caller with money over the past year, already forcing his Super Bowl-winning coach to fire assistants he didn't want to jettison in favor of outside voices with new ideas that Pederson had no reason to trust never mind need considering he actually provided the one thing even Reid couldn't less than 36 months ago.

Forget the deference. Where’s the common sense?

The Eagles are less than 36 months off a Super Bowl LII championship and Lurie is presumably better informed about offensive football than the man who was the architect of that because why?

Is he really "disgusted" on the sidelines of practices because he can evaluate what's going on or perhaps due to in-fighting like Howie Roseman and Zach Ertz's feud?

Both sides of this morality play — the Lurie/Roseman cabal and Pederson — seem to be pondering greener grass on the other side of the fence.

One might even be right.



John McMullen is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media, the host of “Extending the Play” on AM1490 in South Jersey and also contributes Eagles and NFL coverage for SI.com. You can reach him here.

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