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Jack McCaffery is the lead sports columnist for the Daily Times and He has spent several decades covering everything from the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and Sixers, to college hoops, to high school sports in Delco.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

How Sixers, Eagles plans are alike

Into just about every one of his public monologues, Jeffrey Lurie injects a form of the same phrase. Lately, Howie Roseman has been providing the chorus.

Give or take an inflection, this is how it goes: “We don't want to be risk-averse.” It's the Eagles' justification for everything; they could hire a coach and later fire the guy, both times proud that they were willing to take a chance. Lurie, for one, says it so often that he must spend his weekends leaping from Acapulco cliffs.

But no matter how many times Roseman took pride in taking the risk of trading multiple draft picks over multiple years to acquire the rights to draft Carson Wentz, the truth was the Eagles were taking anything but the dangerous route to what they believed was a championship. Rather, not unlike the Sixers, they convinced themselves that there was only one way to NFL fulfillment, and that was to do whatever it took to land a prospective superstar. In the case of football, that would be a quarterback.

The Sixers did their tanking up front, losing for years and collecting Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor and other promises. The Eagles went back-door, forcing the move for Wentz, aware that they would not have many chances in future years to improve through the draft.

It's the way idealists have warped sports. Rather than letting something grow organically, they imagine a model and then try to make that model work. The Eagles have grown convinced, brainwashed even, that nothing will work without a superstar quarterback, and that once they have one, it's just a matter of how to arrange the parade chairs.

Carson Wentz may become a superstar. Or not. But the Eagles are not going to become champions just because they think they have figured out a system in a sport that is not so easily solved.


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