League sources say Lurie has taken a more active approach to leadership, particularly since ousting Chip Kelly as head coach in December 2015. Whether it is personnel decisions, coaching matters or day-to-day operations, there have been instances in which Lurie has demonstrated a higher level of involvement.
Lurie is working with an inexperienced coach in Doug Pederson during a time of transition for the team. There is more opportunity -- and you could argue, more of a need – for a guiding hand.
Lurie recently turned 65 and is said to be shocked and pained that the franchise has not won a Super Bowl during his time as steward. It is fair to say the sense of urgency is as high as it has ever been.
Given those factors, it is not surprising that Lurie has become a more proactive owner. The Eagles and Lurie declined comment for this story.
The most recent example of Lurie's increased level of involvement occurred days after the regular season ended. The New York Jets requested permission to interview Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo for their vacant offensive coordinator position. According to a league source, Lurie stepped in and denied the Jets permission, preventing Pederson from granting the request as his mentor, former Eagles coach Andy Reid, typically had done.
By athleticism, I'm mainly talking about mobility. I'm talking about his ability to get outside the pocket and extend plays. I'm talking about his ability to run for the occasional first down on a third-and-long when nobody's open.
That's what Wentz brings to the table that Bradford and his twice-shredded knee did not. That, and an $18 million difference in salary-cap numbers.
"A great deal of a quarterback's work has to be done in the pocket," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "But there's nothing more difficult for a defensive coach to deal with than that element that a scrambling quarterback (brings) after a play starts.
"That's the most difficult (thing) because it's so unpredictable. And we're seeing more and more of it. There's a certain style to the mobile guys. And you don't have to be a runner to be effective, to use that mobility effectively."
The Eagles have an interesting draft slot, at 14 or 15, depending on the coin toss. I think that one position to watch closely before the Eagles' pick is quarterback, which the Eagles obviously don't need. On the one hand, if, say, three quarterbacks are taken before the Eagles' pick at 14/15, that will push better prospects down the board to them. On the other hand, if there is still a first-round-worthy quarterback on the board when the Eagles are on the clock, maybe they get lucky and have a team willing to pay the cost to move up and get one.
I think the Eagles are in a good position in this draft, in that they can "just let it come to them." If there's a prospect they love at 14/15, like Corey Davis as you mentioned or someone else, then just take him. If you have a team that makes you an offer you can't refuse, then sure, acquiring more picks and filling holes in a draft that aligns with your needs also makes a lot of sense.
"The only fear I have," Mathis said about his post-football years, "is whether or not [chronic traumatic encephalopathy] will creep up on me."
Mathis has a sardonic sense of humor, but he doesn't believe CTE - a progressive degenerative disease found often in former football players who have had severe or repeated blows to the head - to be a joking matter. A series of injuries over the last several years ultimately led to his retirement, but he said, "I also don't want any more brain damage."
The 35-year-old Mathis said via text message that he doesn't know if he has any symptoms related to CTE, but he added, "There usually aren't symptoms this early." He may not have sons, but if he did, he said, he wouldn't want them to play football.
"I would let them know why . . . but the choice is theirs," Mathis said in the email.
During his time with the Eagles, Mathis was the most physically fit of the offensive linemen. But despite a sculpted physique, he said he would spend the next several months shedding pounds as so many big-bodied NFL players often do in retirement.
"I weighed 310.54 pounds on January 1st," Mathis said. "In April I plan on being in the 260s."