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March 30, 2017

What they’re saying about the Eagles: Lurie preaching patience, but not practicing it

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Jeffrey Lurie has been the Eagles owner for 23 years, and despite a nice run of contention in the early 2000s, he has yet to deliver Philadelphia sports fans the one thing they covet above everything else. Until the Eagles win a Lombardi Trophy, the lack of a Super Bowl title will be the first thing that comes to mind locally when Lurie’s name is brought up. Unfortunately for Lurie, that is the reality of the situation.

Lurie spoke on the record for the first time in a year at the owners meetings in Phoenix this week and preached patience, which is both understandable considering the state of the Eagles roster and also frustrating for fans of an organization that hasn’t won a playoff game since 2008.

As the Inquirer’s Jeff McLane points out, the focus on patience and drafting doesn’t exactly mesh with the Eagles’ activity in free agency over the past couple of years:

"We're not one player away. We have lots of holes," Lurie said. "And you've got to recognize that first. We've got lots of holes. We have to draft really well over the next few years to accomplish what we want to accomplish early on in Carson's career."

But the Eagles were once again significant players in free agency. They signed the top wide receiver in the market - Alshon Jeffery - to a one-year, $14 million contract with $9.5 million guaranteed.

The Eagles sure are preaching patience, but they have been very aggressive to make short-term moves (“Band-Aids”) that shore up the holes that Lurie is referring to. Combine Lurie’s support for Howie Roseman with what McLane refers to as “increasing evidence that the owner has taken on a more active role - an aggressive one - in football operations,” and it just feels like the Eagles’ message is confusing.

I’m not saying that the Eagles are going about this poorly. It’s just that when Lurie and Roseman talk, sometimes it feels like the team’s direction is a bit murkier than teams like the Phillies and Flyers.

But hey, nobody will care about Lurie’s public comments if the Eagles and Carson Wentz are Super Bowl contenders sooner rather than later. The emphasis there is on “sooner.”

In case you missed it at PhillyVoice

1.    MIXON: There will be many reports over the next few weeks about teams taking Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon off their respective draft boards due to character concerns stemming from an assault incident. It doesn’t sound like the Eagles, who of course famously signed Michael Vick after he was released from prison, will be one of those teams. And with the Eagles changing course back toward many elements of the Andy Reid era, it’s probably worth listening to what Big Red has to say about players with off-field issues.

Jimmy also wrote in-depth about Mixon and the Eagles earlier this week.

2.    In more positive off-field news, Malcolm Jenkins is pushing for criminal justice reform in Washington.

3.    MORE FREE AGENTS: Chris Long and Patrick Robinson (a signing that Jimmy broke, take that Schefter), come on down.

4.    The Eagles seem pretty excited about skinny second-year defensive end Alex McCalister. So there!

5.    Lurie also clarified a couple of housekeeping issues at the ol’ owners meetings, too. The Birds do indeed want to bring back the Kelly green (prayer hands emoji) but will not appear on “Hard Knocks” this year despite not meeting any of the criteria that allows teams to say no to the NFL.

6.    MOCK DRAFT MOCK DRAFT MOCK DRAFT MOCK DRAFT MOCK DRAFT.

7.    Goin’ back to Cali: The Birds are playing twice in Los Angeles this year, and they hope to play those games in back-to-back weeks. Have to say, that would be a pretty sweet arrangement for both reporters and fans.

Other Eagles news, notes and analysis from around the web

Grading how every NFL team fared in free agency: Mike Sando, ESPN Insider

Sando gave the Eagles a B for their work in free agency, tied with the Giants for their highest grade in the NFC East. Washington got an F:

It's easy to knock Philly for neglecting its defense in free agency, but the defensive strength of the draft gives them a remedy. The Eagles' makeover at wide receiver should serve them well if Jeffery and Smith stay on the field. Both have missed games for various reasons over the past couple of seasons. Jeffery is not Julio Jones, Dez Bryant or Demaryius Thomas, which is fine from an Eagles standpoint because they aren't paying him as though he were one of those guys.

What’s on Sale? Tommy Lawlor, Iggles Blitz

Lawlor breaks down the Long and Robinson signings:

Long played in a similar scheme during his time with the Rams. He was good at lining up out wide and attacking off the edge. He understands the rush angles and how to keep contain on run plays. He is a good fit on and off the field. Long is a veteran player and high character guy. He will fill the shoes of Connor Barwin. Don’t expect him to be as good off the field, but let’s hope he’s better on it (as a 4-3 DE).

The Eagles aren’t doing as they say: Dave Mangels, Bleeding Green Nation

Similar to McLane, Mangels argues that Howie Roseman’s words have been different than his actions when it comes to team-building:

So the Eagles haven’t done as they’ve said. But doing as they’ve done isn’t so bad. Having Jeffery for a year is better than not having him at all. Smith and Warmack are fine gambles, Robinson and Long won’t handcuff the team.

But own it. Don’t give us an ever changing explanation for sticking with the same, solid plan.

Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles announce joint festival: Eric Renner Brown, Entertainment Weekly

Oh wait, wrong Eagles. Still sounds like a pretty good show, though.


Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann

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