As de facto head of football operations, however, Andy Reid was seen by most fans as the one to decide which players would be signed, drafted, or cut. In this regard, Reid has been lambasted for his moves of cutting older veterans who were fan favorites.
Banner’s main role, supposedly, was to help Reid build his roster in a cap friendly manner.
Now, though, it appears that Reid has lost some of the juice he had in decision making. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, members within the organization feel that Banner has become “the boss” and recent decisions were more of his choosing (as well as Banner protégé GM Howie Roseman) than Reid’s.
If this is the case, fans should be worrying about the qualifications of Banner and Roseman.
Reid, although a terrible game-day coach, is one of the best personnel guys in the business. He has to be, because the Eagles organization is unwilling to be flexible in accordance to issues with the salary cap.
He knows when to let people go. Everyone who fretted the losses of Bobby Taylor, Troy Vincent, Hugh Douglas, and others, soon forgot those names as they entered the twilight of their careers.
Reid knew that he had drafted the proper replacements to continue the success of his system. Obviously, he has not been perfect with his selections (i.e. Jerome McDougal, Freddie Mitchell), but overall he can be seen as someone who knows how to put together a roster.
Banner, on the other hand, has been both detrimental and helpful to the roster. His quest to win the salary cap championship every year ruined any chance for Donovan McNabb to succeed during the prime of his career.
Instead of drafting impact skill position players, Reid was forced to draft for the future, knowing that his star players were going into their mid-30s and they weren't going to keep them anyway.
Yes, they continued to be a successful franchise, but think of how many championships they could have won if they focused a little more on the present than on the future.
In 2004 (a year when Reid was still believed to be in charge), they spent money on free agents Terrell Owens and Jevon Kearse. As a result, they ended up going to their first Super Bowl in 24 years.
The addition of WR Terrell Owens allowed for Donovan McNabb to have one of his best years in the league. Now, some may talk of how the Jevon Kearse signing was a bust and how the T.O. situation blew up.
Factually, both statements are true. But it’s also arguable that signing Owens and Kearse became a statement to the team that the organization was finally serious about winning the elusive first Vince Lombardi Trophy.
In the past two years (the start of the Banner era), the team lost its leader on defense in Brian Dawkins. Eagles fans were appalled with the decision to let Dawkins go, and for good reason, as he went on to have another pro-bowl season playing for the Broncos.
The Eagles, meanwhile, struggled with the safety position all year, and some could argue that the loss of Dawkins’ leadership may have hurt the overall play of the defense as well.
Banner trading Donovan McNabb within the division is a risky move, but may end up helping the team. Kevin Kolb has looked impressive early on in his career and is drawing rave reviews from his teammates.
Still, the organization was clearly wrong in thinking that Dawkins was on the decline. Trading McNabb within the division leaves the fans with a cause for concern, as he will have a direct impact on the success of the Eagles' season.
If this was Reid’s decision, it makes sense. He knows him better than anyone, including his strengths and weaknesses.
It could potentially weaken a division rival, because he could exploit this knowledge twice a year against the Redskins. Hopefully, the latter is true and Reid actually gave his blessing to the trade, rather than just lip service to the media.
It’s highly doubtful that Banner or Roseman’s scouting acumen is as high as Reid’s, as neither of them has any experience playing football at any level.
They are essentially glorified accountants who need to stick to a budget. If the Eagles are going to continue calling themselves "The Gold Standard," it would behoove Mr. Lurie to remember who his “football people" are.