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Lurie revises Eagles history as he looks to the future

phil sheridan inquirer

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 09:56 AM

Sheridan

Lurie revises Eagles history as he looks to the future


Phil Sheridan, Inquirer Columnist
Posted: Monday, December 31, 2012, 5:48 PM


It is the future, not the past, that matters now for the Eagles.

This is a good thing, because Monday's attempt by Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman to revise recent team history would otherwise be deeply disturbing. They - the owner and his handpicked lieutenant - will have to sell their version of reality to potential head coaching candidates. So it was important to try it out on a room full of reporters with notebooks, cameras, and Twitter accounts.

That version of reality goes something like this: The Eagles are a great organization used to "winning and winning big," as Lurie put it. This little rough patch was the result of trying too hard to win it all. But now that Andy Reid and Joe Banner are gone, Roseman and a new coach will have every resource to put the team back on the fast track to the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

If we were grading on accuracy, there would be some problems. For three years now, the Eagles have publicly touted Roseman as the rising star in the organization. He was the whiz kid who was taking on more responsibility and power through the sheer force of his talents.

Now we're asked to forget that three-year spin campaign and accept the new official story.

"I decided to streamline the whole decision-making process for the 2012 draft and offseason," Lurie said. "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. It was important for me to own up to the mistakes that were made and where they were coming from."

So the mistakes of the past go on Reid and Banner's permanent record. Roseman gets a clean slate.

There is nothing new about this. Once upon a time, D Daniels and Ray Rhodes and Tom Modrak were assigned retroactive blame for what had been touted as organizational decisions in real time. Now Reid and Banner are the handy fall guys.

Why does this matter? Because Lurie and Roseman, with input from club president Don Smolenski, are about to hire a new head coach. Their judgment in this decision will dictate the success or failure of this franchise for the next five years.

Lurie's essential message to Eagles fans was to trust him on this. He will identify and hire the best possible leader to restore this team to contention. That makes Lurie's judgments in other matters - Roseman as GM, retaining Reid for 2012, signing Michael Vick - very relevant.

He is, after all, the owner. He is the one person in the organization who can't be fired. In the last year, Lurie has parted ways with his old friend and right-hand man, Banner, his wife of two decades, and his coach of 14 years. That is seismic change.

Lurie made it clear he sees great things in Roseman. He may well be right. He was right about Reid back in 1999, when most of the world was wondering why he hired a guy who had never been a coordinator. It would just be easier to trust his evaluation of Roseman if it didn't require so much rewriting of the past.

But it is about the future now. The past won't mean much at all if Lurie is able to make as good a hire now as he did in 1999.

If the head coach is Batman, it isn't going to matter who Robin and Alfred are. Reid was able to step in and work with Lurie and Banner and a succession of personnel people. He had confidence in where he was going and the ability to get the rest of the organization to fall in behind him.

That isn't easy to replace. There's a reason seven of the league's head coaches were dismissed Monday. But there are very capable coaches out there, waiting for the right situation. Lurie has two tasks: finding the right coach, and making sure this is the right situation.

Roseman can make himself part of that. He has been absolved of all blame for the recent past. And that will be just fine, if he's able to play a role in creating a better future.

Contact Phil Sheridan at psheridan@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @Sheridanscribe


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