Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie met with the media on Tuesday, only two days after the conclusion to the 2011 regular season. After an extensive explanation that at one point seemed like it could result in an announcement of a termination, Lurie announced that coach Andy Reid will be back.
But Lurie’s comments make clear that Lurie expects more in 2012. “If I didn’t think next year would be substantially better, I’d be standing up here announcing a coaching change,” Lurie said.
In other words, if it’s not what Lurie thinks it will be in 2012, Lurie very well could be making a change.
Bolstering the notion that Reid faces an up-or-out mandate in 2012 is the fact that Lurie explained that his assessment of Reid included an acknowledgement that, after each of the prior seasons when the Eagles failed to get to the playoffs, they made it the very next year.
Before stating that Reid will stay, Lurie used various strong words — multiple times each — to express his feelings regarding the failure to qualify for the postseason. From “disappointing” to “anger” to “frustration” to “unacceptable” to “dismal” to “unfathomable,” Lurie seemed to be using the press conference as an occasion to vent, even if his words seemed far stronger than his demeanor.
During questioning from the assembled media, Lurie spent time defending the perception that Reid is arrogant, based on his manner of communicating with the press. Lurie said that Reid’s approach to interviews and press conferences comes from a desire to protect his players, and that Reid communicates in a far different manner with his players and other members of the organization. Lurie actually praised Reid for sacrificing popularity in order to protect his players, but Lurie acknowledged that Reid can find a way to protect his players without sacrificing popularity.
Though Lurie didn’t go out of his way to protect Reid on Tuesday, Lurie made clear that he continues to believe in the man who has coached the team since 1999. With a 14th year secured, whether Reid makes it to a 15th season will depend on what he does in 2012.