When evaluating what Jeffrey Lurie said yesterday, it’s important to examine what he didn’t say. While he didn’t announce any changes to the front office structure, it’s worth noting that he didn’t take the easy outs either.
Lurie could have made a simple argument about bad luck, acknowledged some vague mistakes, and how it’s important to stay the course through good and bad seasons.
Lurie could have used the late season surge against bad teams as a sign that everything is fine.
Lurie could have blamed the lockout and other circumstances beyond the front office’s control.
But he didn’t do any of that. Instead, Lurie expressed anger, frustration, and disappointment over this season’s failures. He suggested that the Juan Castillo promotion and other scheme and personnel changes were misguided at best. He described how missing the playoffs is unacceptable. Furthermore, he clearly considered his decision on Andy Reid with the utmost due diligence.
Given all of that, I find myself, if not agreeing with his conclusions (in particular the quick and unequivocal support of Howie Roseman), at least accepting them. This year was undoubtedly a failure, and legitimately Lurie’s “most disappointing season” since he’s owned the team. I’m glad that he isn’t fine with those results, and that he’s likely resolved to shake things up if there’s no playoff win next year.
Skeptics will posit that Lurie only said what he needed to in order to placate the fan base and keep the money flowing in from paint customers. But the truth is that he could have assured widespread fan interest and positive local media coverage by firing Reid, a prospect that large swaths of the city have openly salivated over for years.
All this said, I’m not sure that Lurie did what was best for this team — especially long term. But I do respect the man who made the decision, because while he stuck with the status quo, he doesn’t seem to have arrived at that place by the easy and obstinate path.
Photo from Getty.