Only so many egos can co-exist in one confined space, and when losses mount and championship banners aren’t added, the walls slowly start to creep in around an NFL front office and locker room.
That’s why the Eagles can apply whatever spin they choose, but the move today involving now former team president Joe Banner is a reflection of their ego congestion. Owner Jeffrey Lurie’s long time business partner is stepping down to an advisory role, but part of his demotion also removes his Eagles shackles. He’s a free agent of sorts, and is permitted to pursue opportunities elsewhere.
Lurie said that the decision was made in the best interests of everyone involved. That’s funny, because ending a long-rumored struggle at the top of the Eagles power pyramid between Lurie, Banner, head coach Andy Reid, and general manager Howie Roseman also benefits everyone. Well, everyone except Banner.
Banner may or may not have meddled, and the Eagles did everything in their power to make you aware that he wasn’t controlling personnel decisions. A statement was issued through a press release after a report of discontent at the top of the Eagles hierarchy surfaced through Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles times. The mere existence of that press release and the Eagles’ desire to publicly announce that their chain of command is functioning properly is a classic sign of a fatal flaw.
So Banner exits, likely and hopefully ending that struggle. The initial reaction is to assume that Reid now has far more job security today than he did yesterday, especially since when he was given his last contract in 2010 (which expires in 2013) Banner said he expected championships. Reid hasn’t delivered on that goal, and last year despite signing the dream team during free agency, the Eagles struggled mightily, finishing 8-8.
Although there was a vast improvement near the end of the season, the hole that was dug early was largely a result of Juan Castillo’s learning curve as the new defensive coordinator. Whose idea was it to promote the offensive line coach to that position? Reid’s. Philly’s mistakes all flow back to Reid.
Despite his recent missteps, it makes sense to think Reid now has more life given Banner’s strict championship aspirations. But Jonathan Tamari of the Philadelphia Inquirer has a different reaction:
If owner Jeffrey Lurie can move on without his long-time friend, an adviser who has been with him every step of the way with the Eagles, is there anyone he won’t part ways with? Maybe Reid suddenly gets an extension, but to me this says no one has a job with the Eagles for life and that Reid has to show vast improvement this year, as Lurie said he expected in his January press conference.
And now the links part of the links post…
- NFL Network’s top 100 list is far more annoying than intriguing, mostly because it’s taken far too seriously by, well, everyone. Fans often fail to realize that it’s just a blatant troll job, and ranking players who play completely different positions is such an arbitrary exercise that its only function is to make you angry, and to force you to talk and debate. Making random lists is a tired but highly effective TV/writing trick, and one that we’ll eventually dust of later this summer once the dog days of the offseason get even doggier. Lists are fun to write and fun to talk about, but their meaning doesn’t get too far past the surface. So please, everyone, calm down about Eli Manning’s ranking last night. [Ralph Vacchiano]
- Dez Bryant is well-versed in bad early-career decisions due to the mind mangling effect of entering the NFL as a highly touted and highly paid rookie. Just a few years ago he was on the same field as Justin Blackmon at Oklahoma State, and he thinks his former teammate will be just fine. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]
- With the support system he has both at home and within the Jaguars organization, there will be no excuse and very little tolerance for future stumbles by Blackmon. [Gene Frenette]
- Matt Forte just wants respect, man, and he doesn’t care about being the league’s highest-paid running back. [Around The League]
- Dexter McCluster is in love…with Brian Daboll. [Arrowhead Addict]
- Brian Cushing’s knee is fine. Nothing to see here. [Battle Red Blog]
- Andre Rison will be featured in an ESPN documentary about really rich athletes who enjoy spending money. [Orlando Ledbetter]
- Tim Tebow is teaming up with Chipper Jones to open a sports facility in Orlando, and they’ve never met. [New York Daily News]