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Chairman/CEO Jeffrey Lurie

Posted Dec 31, 2012

Injury Report: Casey Mathews has a concussion, Ryan Rau has a high ankle sprain.

Opening Remarks: "Today is, every year, my least favorite day in the National Football League. Usually, for 14 years, I'm at home watching teams have to make changes with their head coaches. These are the best of the best in their profession (and) that's why they are NFL coaches. They work so hard at it and every year for 14 years I sit there and I feel for many of them who I know quite well. Several of them have worked in this building and you just feel for them. Today we're in that position and this is the first time in 14 years that (it has been) the case.
 
"We decided to make a change as you all know. We're going to be saying goodbye to the winningest coach in the history of the Philadelphia Eagles. That's the main point. That's not said lightly. There is only one coach who can be the winningest coach in the history of an NFL franchise, especially one that goes that far back as the Philadelphia Eagles, and that's Andy Reid.
 
"Andy, I don't want to understate it or overstate it, (is) not only an outstanding coach but an outstanding person. You have no idea because he many times didn't want to share himself with the press or in a way in which he had to protect his own players (and) protect the way he was as a coach. Having worked side by side with him for 14 years, this is a gem of a person and incredibly dedicated to making the Eagles the franchise we have been. It was no easy task, he left no stone unturned, and his dedication was incredible. His work ethic was incredible and his ability to work with others was incredible. He had the love and respect of every individual in this organization. And I don't say that lightly because I think if you were to interview owners and other franchise operations around the league, not everybody could say that. This man is amazing to work with, smart and dedicated himself, and the record will speak for itself. History will focus on exactly what he's been able to accomplish and what the team has been able to accomplish. I look forward to the day we all welcome him back and introduce him as  a member of the Eagles Hall of Fame, because that's inevitable.
 
"With that, we are going forward (and) I'm excited about the opportunity. I think in life, whenever you have either a downturn or a problem or something that you've got to face (like a) challenge, it should, if you are healthy about it, make you stronger. That's exactly what's going to happen here. We're used to winning and we're used to winning big. It's rare that we're not in the playoffs or playing in the (conference) championship game, and that's what we've got to return to. And then for our incredible fan base that have been so supportive, every ounce of our effort and my effort goes towards not only having that excellence of being in the playoffs, but the ultimate goal of winning a championship for Philadelphia. (We have) an amazing fan base here, they've been supportive. I love the way they responded at the end of Andy Reid's career, with respect and class, and I applaud all of you who communicated that as well because that's been a special history over the last 14 years."
 
On whether he regrets not dismissing Reid after last season: "I think, as you know, I stood up here last year and went through some of the arguments for making a change, and decided not to. One of the key arguments, for me, for not making a change at the end of last year was that every time our team under Andy Reid was 8-8 or less, and it wasn't very often, but every single time after that the next season we were a double-digit playoff team. (We were a) double-digit and playoff team (or) advancing to the NFC Championship. That was the history. I really believed that this season, with our talent, that we would be a strong contender and a double-digit win team. Nobody is more disappointed or crushed than myself because I fully believed that that's exactly where we were at in August as we started the season."
 
On when he decided to ultimately dismiss Reid: "The final decision to fire Andy was today. There's been a lot of leaning in that direction over the last month. When we were (3-9) and I realized and faced up to the fact that we were not going to be improved over last year at all, I was leaning in that direction but I promised myself that I would wait until all of the games were played, every factor was taken into consideration, and literally I informed Andy this morning about nine in the morning."
 
On whether Reid was offered any other position within the team's front office: "I did not (offer Reid any other position). I know it's been rumored a bit but I think Andy is an outstanding football coach. That's what Andy wants to do. He doesn't want to transition to other aspects of football operations. He's a football coach. He wants to coach right now. He was very excited about the future of this team and this franchise. He wanted to stay. We spent some time on Friday going over exactly what his plans would be for the team, knowing that there was a very good chance that he was going to be let go. And yet, I can't tell you how excited he is about a lot of aspects of the team and what needs to be done to both turn it around, and return to the excellence and go further. He's really energized and excited and someone is going to get one heck of a football coach."
 
On what things went wrong over the past few years that led to this organizational decision: "I think when you ask, ‘Where did things go wrong?' it's a great question and I don't think there's a short answer or an answer for headlines of a newspaper or internet site. It's a complicated one. But I think if you had to point to anything, it's when you had as much success as we had and are so close to winning a Super Bowl, (that) at some stage you have an opportunity to think that the next move, even if it's not consistent with all of your previous moves, will be the one that gives you the chance to win the Lombardi Trophy. I think that in the last couple years we've done things that have not been as consistent. They've been more scattered in terms of decision making. You notice it with any organization that has had a lot of success that you will start to reach thinking, ‘That's the thing that's going to (get us over the top), that's the player, that's the method, that's the mechanism, that's the coach, that's the thing that is going to put us over the top.' At the same time you're dealing with a franchise quarterback that was descending and therefore you're even more motivated before a player hits rock bottom or you're without a franchise quarterback, that you're going to reach and do certain things. So I think we lost some of the exact nature of the method that we've all shared that created the success, which was discipline, strategic thinking, and don't do necessarily what is popular but do what's right. It's kind of a human thing and I take some responsibility for that because I was right out in the forefront for (the thought of), ‘Let's do anything we can to try to win a Super Bowl for the city and our fans.' At times you probably had to be a little more self disciplined and say, ‘Doing that and injecting that into the locker room, affecting the chemistry of the team maybe in some way, that's not the best thing to do.' And yet, you're so able to do it because of whatever opportunities we had, maybe in free agency, that it's kind of like indigestion. You have the capability of ingesting more and more but there's a point of diminishing returns and indigestion. I think that's (it) in a nutshell and there is no simple answer to that question. That's my long-winded answer to some of the problems."
 
On whether he thinks the team has the talent level to make a quick turnaround: "I do and I think we have a lot of good young players on the team. That doesn't mean we don't have significant holes as well. The NFL is a changed league than it was 14 years ago. Last year everybody laughed and thought that the Indianapolis Colts were years away no matter if they get a young quarterback or not. They're a strong team right now (and) the Redskins as well. It's a league that is changing rapidly. The rules have changed rapidly. They've allowed for a lot of advancement for what you can do. I think it's reflected by the young quarterbacks coming into the league and I think we've got a lot of young talent here. I think we have to take it further."
 
On whether he has compiled a list of head coaching candidates yet: "Yes. While you're trying to decide what you're going to do with your coach, at least the way I operate, is doing a lot of research over the past month or so. That is done meticulously and in great detail. We do have a very, very defined list of candidates. We hope to be able to meet with some of them as soon as possible. I think it's better to find the right leader than it is to make the fastest decision. The rules are such in the NFL that you have to interview people according to the guidelines (such as) teams in and out of the playoffs, (and) you may have to wait until a team has completed their Super Bowl run. The important thing is to find the right coach, not to make the fastest decision. That's our priority."
 
On what gives him confidence that general manager Howie Roseman is the right fit at general manager moving forward: "A lot of the analysis of what we have here has taken place over the last 12 months. It's not been reported properly because the information hasn't been communicated properly. What I had to do was really look at the 2010, 2011, 2012 drafts, offseasons; I really wanted to evaluate everything. I keep voluminous notes on talent evaluation on not just who we draft, but who is valued in each draft by each person that is in the organization that's working here. I came to the conclusion that the person that was providing by far the best talent evaluation in the building was Howie Roseman. I decided to streamline the whole decision-making process for the 2012 draft and offseason and that's the first draft and offseason I hold Howie completely accountable for. The mistakes that were made in the 2011 draft have little or nothing to do with Howie's evaluations and I think it was important for me to own up to the mistakes that were made and understand where they were coming from and it was awfully clear. So, an effort was made to streamline the entire operation and, as it turned out and it was nothing I could easily communicate to all of you, but Howie has assembled an excellent team around him. He's meticulous in his evaluations. He has great relationships with players, coaches and agents around the league and this was a very easy decision once the facts are in."
 
On whether Roseman will have final say on all roster decisions moving forward: "The way I've operated is the way I'm going to operate and that is the new head coach, whoever that is, will report directly to me and that's the only structure that I insist upon. As we go through the process, we have the flexibility to finalize personnel decisions and everything else that goes with the coach-G.M. relationship. But my goal is to have the coach and the general manager work hand-in-hand and work collaboratively and work in a very, very terrific way together. But there's no question in my mind the head coach will report directly to me as every head coach has and that's important. It's important in terms of attracting the right coach, it's important in terms of the autonomy that coach will have and it also fosters an owner-coach relationship that I think benefits a football team in many, many ways. That shared responsibility with the coach and the ultimate support for a coach when it's coming directly from the owner and you build an organization that is supportive and give the coach all the resources possible and have the G.M. collaborate very, very moment-to-moment and day-to-day with that coach, that's a great support system and that's what we have here."
 
On who was responsible for the 2011 draft if Roseman was not: "I want to take a much higher road than that and just say that I've had to really go through exactly everyone's talent evaluations and realized that we needed a real streamlining of the process. I think the 2012 draft, it's promising. We'll know in three years how that is. I want everyone to understand: Howie is accountable, responsible and that's the way it is. But I'm looking at the 2012 draft and offseason as the beginning of when he was given enough responsibility to put his mark on the team in a very dramatic way."
 
On whether Roseman had final say in the 2012 draft: "No. He and Andy worked very well together in the 2012 draft."
 
On whether Reid had final say in the 2012 draft: "That's right. But I think Andy recognized, as did I, the talent evaluation ability of Howie. Virtually every decision was certainly supported by Howie."
 
On which players in the 2012 draft Roseman was responsible for drafting: "I'm not going to go into details, but you can take the 2012 draft for exactly the way it is."
 
On how competitive the process of hiring a new coach will be: "I'm very confident that this is the most attractive place for a head coach to work in the National Football League. Other teams can argue the same thing, but I am very confident that we have an incredible fan base. There are incredible fan bases in a few other cities, maybe many other cities. This one's amazing. They want what we want and that's an obsession not just to be good, but to be great and that's big. This is a huge media market; prime-time games. If you want to be at the forefront of NFL in America, this is a top-four, top-five media market. That's great. Facilities, about the best facilities in the National Football League. History of an owner-coach relationship, I think virtually unmatched. I think that the resources, any coach coming here knows there's no limitation on the resources in any direction, financial or otherwise, that's put towards the football program. Everyone knows that in the league. I think that a winning culture, to come into an organization that is used to winning, used to winning big and it's part of the mantra and the culture in an organization, that's huge because when Andy came, we had to change the culture, turn it around and that's a much harder job. This job is taking a culture that exists. There's been some negative turns in the performance of the team, especially this season and last, and I think that it's ripe for a real smart, forward-thinking coach who wants to get his hand on a great situation. To me, this is the best situation for a coach to look at."
 
On what lessons he has learned in the processes of hiring former head coach Ray Rhodes to hiring Reid to now looking for a new coach: "Good question. I think the most important thing is to find the right leader. I'm not one who wants to buy schemes, wants to buy approaches that are necessarily finite. What you've got to find is somebody who is strategic. Somebody who is a strong leader. Somebody who is very comfortable in his own skin. That, to me, is probably one of the one or two top traits because players today see right through if you're not. If you're a salesman coach, that's not going to work. Somebody who is completely comfortable in his role and in who they are as a person, that's the most important thing. But there's a lot of other characteristics that go into it. How well does the person hire? Is he going to surround himself with strong coordinators and good assistant coaches? In this league, that's one of the most underrated aspects. If you don't hire the best around you, they may not be name coaches but you've got to hire great teachers and strong coordinators, I think you're operating at a disadvantage and I'm looking for that. I'm looking for someone that's innovative. Somebody that is not afraid to take risks. Somebody that looks (at) and studies the league and studies the college world and decides what the best inefficiencies are on offense and defense and special teams and can execute it with their coaches so that you take advantage of trends and take advantage of, again, inefficiencies in terms of where the game is at and understand where it's going. So, a student of the game who is obsessed and who absolutely and, on his own, is completely driven to be the best, that's what you're looking for."
 
On whether there was any point this year where he second-guessed his decision to retain Reid through the year: "No, I really believed in my decision to keep him because I thought after going 8-8, every single year after that we were a double-digit win team and in the playoffs. So I was absolutely certain that's what was going to happen this year and I was very wrong."
 
On whether he has set up any interviews with potential coaching candidates: "We have not set up any interviews with anybody yet, no."
 
On how a new coach can change the attitude of the team if he believes that the players that are in place are able to compete: "I think a new coach is going to evaluate, watch every piece of tape possible, get to know the personnel on the team and they will have a big say on moving forward because any given year, you're going to have 12, 14, 15 new players. This coach will have the opportunity with Howie to transform the roster; change whatever needs to be changed. I think one of the key elements of both picking a coach and having a coach choose to be the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, I think to be really successful in this league, you've got to be able to have the freedom to make short-term plans, mid-term plans and long-term plans and if you feel like you're under the gun where you're going to be given two years and that's it or this year has to be absolutely the panacea to every problem you have, you're not going to get the best coaching. So, when a coach comes to the Philadelphia Eagles and the next coach will feel this way, he knows he's going to have the owner's support to both plan in the short run, plan in the midterm and have long-term strategy as well. That, to me, is crucial because every decision you make needs to balance the three and when you start to reach for short-term panaceas or short-term solutions that are not consistent with your culture and your football program, that's when you end up 4-12."
 
On whether the prospective new coaches' evaluation of QB Nick Foles factors into the decision: "I think the new coach will have a big factor in evaluating Nick. Nick is obviously very promising. I think when you bring in a new coaching staff, you have the opportunity to really get to know him and evaluate him. He has only played six games behind an offensive line that's been really battered. I think they're going to have a great opportunity. I know Andy was very excited about Nick and that's an understatement."
 
On whether QB Nick Foles will be the team's quarterback in 2013: "The way I operate is not to make those football decisions. Nick has every opportunity, and everyone in the building thinks the world of him in terms of his promise and potential. This is going to be a decision made by the new head coach, not by the owner."
 
On whether there is any truth to the report that the Eagles have already contacted Dirk Koetter: "No. We have contacted no coaches. That is all starting today. There is no trips planned and there is nothing planned yet. That is all to be done."
 
On whether the Eagles will consider a college coach: "Absolutely. There is no certain formula here. Everything is on the table. There are some outstanding college coaches out there and some outstanding coordinators out there. There are outstanding coaches that used to coach in the National Football League out there. (We'll leave) no stone unturned, and we're open to it all."
 
On why he feels confidence in general manager Howie Roseman overseeing the franchise and personnel process: "I think, first of all, I'm not turning the franchise over to anybody. As I said to you before, I've already answered the question, by streamlining the process and allowing Howie to act on his player evaluations properly. It's going to be in very good hands."
 
On who will be a part of the head coaching search: "There will be three of us involved – it's going to be myself, Howie Roseman, and (president) Don Smolenski. I couldn't be more confident in having them be part of the process. Don is a breath of fresh air and is a real forward-thinking leader. He's been in the NFL for 15 years and he knows where they fail, where they succeed. I think he will be able to both present the Eagles in a terrific light and be able to help in the evaluation of the coaching world. Howie has a great relationship with every agent, and I think just has a mind that is very valuable in terms of evaluating people, evaluating coaches, and an understanding of where the league is at. He's been here 15 years. We have a very experienced group. In the end, it's going to be a subjective decision on my part. I take it very seriously, and there is no guarantee that I'll make a great decision. I'm confident I will. It is what it is – you're making judgements about people that you hope to work with for 15 years or more. Those are judgments made based on research, interviewing, and a real understanding of them, but you don't fully. With all that, I'm very confident in everything that has to take place."
 
On what will happen with Reid's current coaching staff: "With the coaches, most of them are under contract and we honor the contracts. They're going to do their player evaluations this week, which is important because it's always helpful to see how a position coach or a coordinator feels about certain players. They will be free to abide the anti-tampering rules and interview for other jobs. It's my priority that whoever we bring in as head coach will have an opportunity to meet them and for those who want to stay, consider them. There are some people there that are really deserving, they've worked hard, and they'll all have that opportunity."
 
On what promise Lurie would make to the fans about how he will turn the franchise around: "I think, first of all, you have an owner where I don't speak a lot, but I care deeply. I will do everything possible to turn away from the downturn and turn it around through the people that they surround themselves with. There is nobody who wants to win more than I do. Once you've experienced the success we've had and the division titles, it makes you just realize that there's nothing more that you want than a Super Bowl, and to deliver that to our fans. We've all experienced what it is like to be in the playoffs every year, and all those championship games and all that. If we didn't before, the goal is to try to win it all. Only one team can every year. I'm very confident that we can attract a very good head coach, and he's going to attract a very good staff. We have the people in place to work with them to be very, very impressive in terms of the future. I'm very confident."
 
On whether he has a sense of the pain fans are feeling: "I feel the pain. I feel the pain so much that I sometimes wonder, it's harder for me to lose than it is to win a game. I still play over, just to give you a feel for it, I will go back and go through a red zone series in New Orleans in a playoff game and I can't get it out of my mind. It could be a pass that is underthrown in a playoff game here against Green Bay a few years ago, or an early pass in the Super Bowl with a guy open that got intercepted. Things like that. I don't get it out of my mind. When we have a season like this year, it's embarrassing to me and it's personally crushing. Really, it's terrible. Our fans are the best fans in the country. We say that a lot. These fans deserve the very best. This year, they got a team that was not very good at all. I feel terrible about that."
 
On his evaluation of defensive coordinator Todd Bowles: "What I don't want to do is evaluate coach by coach. That's not fair. I don't want to go into that. Our team played very poorly this year, I will say that."

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