Lurie: Kelly won't be judged on wins and losses

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie (left) said he will not judge Chip Kelly's first year on the coach's record. "We know his attention to winning each day," Lurie said.
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie (left) said he will not judge Chip Kelly's first year on the coach's record. "We know his attention to winning each day," Lurie said. (DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff)
Posted: September 09, 2013

The Eagles organization wants to win immediately with Chip Kelly, and Kelly has purposely eschewed the monologue about rebuilding often recited by new coaches. But Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, who is Kelly's only boss, will not judge Kelly's first year on how many wins the Eagles accumulate.

"I just think it's not in wins and losses," Lurie said in an interview with The Inquirer. "It's absolutely instilling a culture in the program that he brings to it, a sense of preparedness, a pride in being the best you can be for the fans and the team, and winning every day - winning the day, each day. And whatever happens, happens."

Lurie said there are too many unknowns. He cited injuries and turnovers as variables. The offensive and defensive schemes have also been dramatically changed. So Lurie's evaluation will be based on building a sustainable culture.

"We know his attention to winning each day," Lurie said. "If that can be completely instilled in the culture, it's going to make us better and better. 2014 will be better than 2013, and it will have a steamrolling effect and will sustain itself."

There were eight new head coaches in 2012, and only one of their teams (the Indianapolis Colts) made the postseason. Four of the teams had an increase in wins from the previous season.

Lurie emphasized that he had not done a coaching search in 14 years, and he was looking for someone who would be "the best possible coach" for long-term success. He added that there was an eye toward winning from "Day One," because that's Kelly's approach.

Interviews with Lurie during Kelly's first eight months in Philadelphia revealed evolving impressions. Early in Kelly's tenure, Lurie touted Kelly's innovative mind. Early in the summer, what resonated with Lurie was how much of a program-builder Kelly appeared to be. After observing training camp and preseason, what stood out to Lurie was how Kelly deals with people, even with an "obsession" with football.

"What maybe wasn't so obvious was we were getting somebody who seems to be a terrific leader, and a person who absolutely relates great to players, his coaching staff, and everyone else," Lurie said. "The impressions are a man not only very prepared, but who communicates that preparedness and strategy very well."

Balance of power

It's Lurie's responsibility to monitor the relationship between Kelly and general manager Howie Roseman, and Lurie described it as "incredibly collaborative" and a "really healthy situation." While Kelly watches film and evaluates talent, Lurie noted, Kelly realizes scouts are devoted full-time to that and respects their roles. Lurie wanted Kelly to have final say on the 53-man roster because of Kelly's head-coaching experience, but also to ensure the organization has a balance of power.

"It made sense to balance the player personnel and head coaching, and empower them both, and force a complete collaboration," Lurie said. "That was the strategy behind it. You didn't have to force it. Happened naturally."

Asked specifically about how Kelly handled the summer's quarterback competition, Lurie said there were days when even he did not know who would start. He appreciated the way Kelly promoted the competition and allowed it to develop.

"I couldn't have drawn it up any better," Lurie said. "First of all, he had an independent evaluation of everybody to begin with. Why we re-signed Michael Vick was he wanted the possibility of working with him to see what he could bring to what Chip brings to the NFL."

After eight months, though, Lurie's evaluation of Kelly will now include results. Kelly is reportedly the eighth-highest-paid coach in the NFL, so he's being compensated as a top coach. Lurie has staked the franchise's future on Kelly, and he's expecting Kelly to transfer the philosophy that was successful at Oregon to the NFL. Lurie often echoed Kelly's "Win the Day" mantra when describing his new coach.

"That's the attitude he brought. And it's the attitude we now have," Lurie said. "Because that's his approach. He feels very confident. At the same time, he's looking out for short-term, mid-term, long-term, as we all are. And that's why we picked him, because he can do all that."


Contact Zach Berman at zberman@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @ZBerm.

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