Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie addressed the firing of Chip Kelly on Wednesday less than 24 hours after making one of the most stunning moves of the season.
In March at the owner's meetings, Lurie extolled the idea of maximizing Kelly's power spread offense, which included handing Kelly full control of the personnel department. Heading toward a season well below .500, Lurie was at the podium saying that he wanted to make Kelly "accountable," and noted that Kelly "insisted" on the control. Kelly had told reporters previously that it was Lurie's idea.
"I wanted to make Chip accountable for everything he wanted to happen," Lurie said.
Lurie said that Kelly was not offered a chance to return without personnel control.
He opened his press conference by essentially admitting it was time to cut bait. The Kelly experiment was supposed to lift the team from a 10-win, borderline playoff club to a Super Bowl champion. It ended in the Eagles bottoming out on prime time against the Redskins with the playoffs on the line.
"With a coach, with almost any key executive, it's important to really carefully evaluate and analyze, not to be impatient, not to react to a series of games, so every season I have to carefully look over everything," he said. "And this was really a three-year evaluation - a three-year evaluation of where we're heading, what is the trajectory, what is the progress or lack thereof and what did I anticipate for the foreseeable future and that's why the decision was made."
Lurie introduced the idea of a more traditional "collaborative" structure between the team's coaching department and personnel moving forward, including giving former general manager Howie Roseman say in personnel again. He noted the importance of a coach that will establish a heart-to-heart connection with his players, describing an "emotional intelligence" that the next coach of the Eagles has to have. This was Lurie's way of saying that everyone's fears about Kelly heading into this season were true.
Over the next week, the owner plans on meeting with all of his players, a process that he said has already started with a players-only meeting on Wednesday. Though Lurie would not say that Kelly lost the locker room, he stressed the importance of learning what kind of coach his players want.
"I want to engage them and have them understand and what they felt was lacking, I need to understand," he said. "Have them understand and take accountability but also at the same time be a sponge for what is leadership like in today's football world. You're dealing with 22 to 35 or more aged people and people who are elite athletes, trying to perform at the very peak of their profession and there's a lot of issues. And what is leadership like in today's world? It's very, very different than it was 10, 15 years ago. I would like to think that we're always gonna try and be on the progressive end of how to lead and that's top-down, but it's also through the head coach and people the head coach surrounds himself with. It's a real opportunity and if I wait until Monday, there'd be so much less of that opportunity."