Home » Browns » The definitive review of Joe Banner in Philly

The definitive review of Joe Banner in Philly

We’re gonna get to Norv Turner and Mike Lombardi.  But in today’s Lombardi press conference, Joe Banner went to great lengths to differentiate between assembling talent and building a team.  He stressed that there is a big and important difference, one that Lombardi understands.  This got me thinking.

Just what the hell are you talking about with that jive?  And do you yourself understand the difference?  **cough** 3-4 defense transition **cough**

I haven’t liked how Banner carries himself in press conferences.  I believe the source of this post and find it plausible that his first choice HC candidates passed in large part because they didn’t want to work for Banner.  And I’ve always found the Eagles a non-great perennial playoff team if that makes any sense for a Browns fan of all people to make such a judgement.  But in fairness, I haven’t attempted to take an objective look.

So with that said, let’s get analytical with the data we can find while at the same time acknowledging we don’t know where Banner stops and Reid begins.


This is the flattering pic.

Joe Banner.

Dennison grad.  (All hail Woody.)

Sports radio intern, reporter, producer.  (All hail Fedor?)

Hired by his friend Jeff Lurie in 1994; EVP in 1997.

Following is what I could pull together on the Eagles from 1997 until his departure in June 2012.  Let’s review, I’ll grade each year on a 1-10 scale.


1997, 6-9-1.  Drafted DE Jon Harris in first round, bust (out of league in 1998).  Duce Staley in 3rd round had good career.
Grade:  3  (bad miss in 1st round.)

1998, 3-13.  Let (29 yr old) Ricky Watters leave, Watters averaged 1200 yds/year starting 36 straight games for Seahawks next three years.  Replaced Ty Detmer with Bobby Hoying.  Kept (36 yo) Irving Fryar.  Drafted Tra Thomas 7th overall (starting LT for next ten years); Jeremiah Trotter (S.F.Austin St.) in 3rd round.
Grade:  6  (good draft)

1999, 5-11.  Hired Andy Reid.  (Let QB coach Sean Payton leave.)  Brought in Doug Pederson at QB.  Brian Dawkins and Troy Vincent (pre Banner draft picks) emerge as pro-bowlers.  McNabb drafted, starts six games.  No other hits in the draft.
Grade:  10  (Reid + McNabb = 103-56-1; franchise defining year.)

2000, 11-5, wildcard.  McNabb era starts.  Drafted Corey Simon 6th overall, immediate starter.  Signed Hugh Douglas (all pro).  Trotter named all-pro.  Signed John Runyon, would start every game at RT for next nine years.  Beat Bucs in playoffs, lost to Giants.
Grade:  9 (strong signings, Simon good pick, flipped record, won playoff game.)

2001, 11-5, won NFC East.  Signed James Thrash, led WRs.  Drafted Derrick Burgess in 3rd round.  Undrafted rookie Hank Fraley starts 15 games at center and starts there through 2005.  Beat Bucs and Bears, lost to Rams in playoffs.
Grade:  8 (no huge rosters changes, allowed team to get settled, two playoff wins.)

2002, 12-4, won NFC East.  Three and a half pro-bowl o-linemen:  Thomas, Runyan, Mayberry (and TE Chad Lewis).  Signed short, old Blaine Bishop at safety.  Let Trotter leave for Redskins, replaced with (33 yo) Levon Kirkland.  Vincent, Dawkins all-pro.  Drafted Lito Sheppard, Michael Lewis, Sheldon Brown, Brian Westbrook, Raheem Brock.  Beat Falcons, lost to Bucs in playoffs.
Grade:  7 (nucleus of o-line buit, great draft, another playoff win; mistake on Trotter.)

2003, 12-4, won NFC East.  Westbrook starts eight games.  Drafted Jerome McDougle in 1st round (car accident).  Beat Packers, lost to Panthers in playoffs.
Grade:  6 (no big improvements, playoff win.)

2004, 13-3, NFC Champs.  Terrell Owens signed, named all-pro.  Sheppard, Dawkins also all-pro.  Trotter brought back, makes pro bowl.  Jevon Kearse signed, 7.5 sacks.  Beat Vikings, Falcons; lost to Pats in Super Bowl.
Grade:  9 (great signings, Super Bowl.)

McNabb-Owens doing McNabb-Owens.

Idiocy, thy name is Rosenhaus.

2005, 6-10.  Owens side-show; plays seven games.  McNabb injured, starts nine games.  Drafted in 1st round Mike Patterson, starting DT through 2011.  Drafted Trent Cole in 5th round, 4x 10+ sacks, current starting DE for Eagles.
Grade:  3 (Owens fiasco took whole team off tracks.  Mike McMahon as backup QB had 55 QB rating.  Bad management.)

2006, 10-6, won NFC East.  Beat Giants, lost to Saints in playoffs.
Grade:  5

2007, 8-8.  Westbrook with 2000+ total yards.  Trent Cole 12.5 sacks.  Drafted Kevin Kolb, Brent Celek.  Let Trotter leave again.  Signed Takeo Spikes.  Let John Harbaugh leave.
Grade:  4 (Good team but no improvement.)

2008, 9-6-1, wildcard.  Second round draft pick DeSean Jackson starts 15 games.  Asante Samuel signed for 59MM.  Signed Dan Klecko and attempted to convert him to FB.  Let Spikes leave and went onto five productive years for 49ers and Chargers.  Beat Vikings, Giants; lost to Cardinals in playoffs.
Grade:  6 (DeSean Jackson saves year, two playoff wins.)

2009, 11-5, won NFC East.  First round pick Jeremy Maclin starts 13 games; 2nd rounder LeSean McCoy starts four games.  DeSean Jackson, Trent Cole pro bowl.  Sean Jones signed to replace (35 yo) Brian Dawkins.  Signed Jason Peters, pro-bowl/all-pro LT next three years.  Signed Stacy Andrews 6yr/40MM.  Lost to Cowboys (badly) in playoffs.
Grade:  7 (Good draft.  Stacy Andrews stings.)

2010, 10-6, won NFC East.  Let (30 yo) Brian Westbrook walk, replaced with LeSean McCoy.  Signed (30 yo dog torturer) Mike Vick, starts 11 games.  Signed Ernie Sims and Mike Bell.  Draft bust Brandon Graham in first round.  Nate Allen, 2nd round, starts 13 games.  Lost to Packers in playoffs.
NOTE:  signing Vick allowed Kolb to be traded for DRC + Vinny Curry + Brandon Boykins.
Grade:  4 (Here is where the 2012 Eagles are born.)

2011, 8-8.  McCoy, Peters are all-pro.  Sign Jason Babin, 18 sacks, pro-bowl.  Signed Nnamdi Asomugha, 5yr/60MM, 3 ints.  Signed Vince Young, Steve Smith (giants), and (30 yo) Ronnie Brown.  No notable draft picks.
Grade:  2 (Horrendous splashy signings, poor draft.)

2012, 4-12.  Complete and utter disarray.  Team quit on Thursday night national TV versus Bengals.  Signed Demetress Bell 5yr/34MM. Released Babin mid-year (this is not on Banner.).
Grade:  Incomplete.  Will not grade Banner on this.


Let’s add it up.

In the course of Banner’s time with the Eagles, it goes like this:

Record:  135-103-2 / .567;
Playoff record:  10-9;
Bad moves:  21;
Good moves:  27;
Grading average:  89/15 = 6.0.

Mitigating factors:  nine playoff years; seven NFC East wins; Super Bowl appearance.  Bumping overall grade 1.5 for these.

Reading between the lines: Eagles lost their way starting with the Vick signing and carrying through with the 2011 FA signings. Why the change in strategy? Did Lurie/Reid take the reins at this time? Is this why Banner shot his way out of town? I’m inclined to think yes. I’ll give Banner another 0.3 points on this assumption.

Gents,,, that is a 7.8 and I have Banner at a solid B grading.  Considering where we’ve been, that buys this guy some slack and I’m gonna give him some.


  1. Bias says:

    Why does he get a negative for signing “30 year old dog torturer” Mike Vick? Vick was way better than McNabb once he came to the Eagles. Unless you’re taking some moral high grounds I don’t see what was negative about bringing him in for the minimum.

    How can he get a minus for signing Takeo Spikes one year and a minus for letting Takeo Spikes leave after said year? Makes no sense

    Grade of this review (1-10): 2.4 #

    • jimkanicki says:

      there is moral component to vick, for me anyway. but i do acknowledge (below in comments) that signing vick enabled the kolb trade which looks ‘ok’ with a potential to be good (depending on curry and boykins).

      (i will update the post with this because it’s a good move for eagles.)

      regarding spikes, it’s easy: spikes was effective when he was there (good signing) and then spikes was effective for quite a few years after (bad non-signing). moveover, they had made an identical mistake with jeremiah trotter just a year or two before.

      thanks for stopping by!

    • jimkanicki says:

      and the red shading on ‘signed spikes’ was a mistake, fixed, thanks.

  2. willy loman says:

    Thanks for doing this, Banner’s record is better than I expected. I don’t think you’re giving him enough credit for the Vick signing (which I believe happened in 09, not 10); they took a flier on him and he performed better than anyone expected, it was the extension that warrants criticism. Can’t wait for the Norv/Lombardi posts!

    • jimkanicki says:

      yep yep, not a vick fan here.

      BUT. in the context that signing vick allowed the eagles to trade kolb for DRC and two picks (vinny curry-meh and brandon boykin-good); that’s a good transaction.

  3. Hey hey JK, that there is good stuff, thanks for doing the legwork and typing it up. It’s impossible to know, though, how much influence Banner had on these decisions, right? My impression was that he was basically the contracts guy (IE the guy in the “back room” at the auto dealer that tries to screw you over) and not so much involved with either pro or college scouting.

    • jimkanicki says:

      it really is unknow-able. for example, i doubt banner made the call on draft picks like tra thomas or jeremiah trotter. did he go out and get john runyon or just negotiate a contract with him? mcnabb just fell to the eagles, but yet, they did take him. we can’t even know if andy reid was his hire or lurie’s. BUT, we the eagles break form to sign vick and nnamdi.. that’s got the woody johnson-esque ‘make a splash’ feel to it. (best guess is that banner wanted no part of that after the owens mess.)
      i came away from the exercise more positive on banner than when i started,, that’s my take away.

  4. NeedsFoodBadly says:

    Hey! The one good thing about this Lombardi thing is it lead me here. Glad to know someone is carrying the torch while Frowns is on hiatus. Keep up the good work.

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