Eagles Wake-Up Call: Will Birds’ Job Attract Candidates?

When Jeffrey Lurie and his circle of trusted advisers decide on a head-coaching target this offseason, chance are, they could have some competition.

While there are still five games to go, we all know these are the final days with Andy Reid. But the Eagles are just one of several teams that could be looking for a new head coach.

Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com, who worked previously as a scout for the Eagles, Ravens and Browns, recently took a look at 11 potential head-coaching jobs that could be open this offseason. He ranked the positions based on personnel, from most attractive to least attractive. Here’s what he came up with:

1. Dallas Cowboys
2. San Diego Chargers
3. Carolina Panthers
4. Cleveland Browns
5. Arizona Cardinals
6. Buffalo Bills
7. Philadelphia Eagles
8. Tennessee Titans
9. Kansas City Chiefs
10. New York Jets
11. Jacksonville Jaguars

Again, this is based on personnel only. In other words, the weather in San Diego has nothing to do with the Chargers being ranked second. And Jeremiah is just guessing at which jobs might be open.

But his opinion holds weight. This is someone who has scouted players for three different organizations. And he’s clearly not crazy about the way the Eagles’ roster stacks up to some of the other teams, specifically at quarterback. Prospective coaches know it’s easier to have Tom Brady and figure the rest out than to have talent in other areas and need to find a quarterback.

The new coach in Philadelphia will have to decide among Nick Foles, Michael Vick (with a likely restructured contract) and whatever is behind door number three (draft pick, free agent, etc.). Of course, some of the teams ranked ahead of the Eagles here – specifically the Cardinals and Bills – don’t exactly have great quarterback situations either. And the Eagles do have some talent at other spots – LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Fletcher Cox, DeMeco Ryans and a few others.

While talent, and especially talent at quarterback, will play a role, there are other factors Lurie has going for him. As an owner, he’s shown the willingness to spend on players and assistant coaches. Over the years, he’s let the football people handle the football operations and stayed out of the spotlight.

And he’s been loyal. Lurie’s been the owner for 18 years and only had to hire two coaches – Ray Rhodes and Reid. Reid’s success over the years has had a lot to do with that, but still, it counts for something.

One other factor to keep in mind is timing. Coaching hires generally take place during the first three weeks of January. But remember, Vick is owed $3M two days into the waiver period, which will begin soon after the Super Bowl. Having a coach in place early and deciding on a plan of action at quarterback will be of the utmost importance.

Keeping all those things in mind – specifically the competitive marketplace and Vick’s contract – it makes sense that Lurie and his team are already formulating a plan so they can act quickly once Reid’s firing is official.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Could Evan Mathis start at center Sunday night? Tim takes a look.

The Jaguars claimed Jason Babin off waivers.

And one of the better headlines we’ve had on the site, courtesy of T-Mac: Babin Whacked In Cole’s Garage.

Babin’s reaction when he was told of his release? Laughter.

An All-22 breakdown of Bryce Brown’s performance last week.

And one more All-22 breakdown of Nick Foles’ performance.

The latest Coaching Buzz post has rumors and notes on Jon Gruden and Bill O’Brien.

Foles prepares to start, while Vick continues to recover.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

ESPN.com’s John Clayton assesses what went wrong with the Eagles:

If there is a lesson to be learned, it’s that gambling that much money on 30-year-old players is risky. Older players have a shorter window to win. Andy Reid made a miscalculation by putting three older starters with first-time defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, who had moved over from the offensive line.

Still this nightmare won’t stop future teams from making such gambles. The Eagles thought they had the quarterback in Vick. They had the cap room and the money. They were trying to keep their fan base excited.

With an 8-8 first year and a 3-8 disaster this season, it wouldn’t surprise me if Vick, Jenkins and Asomugha were all gone by next season.

It’s sad.

SI.com’s Don Banks has the Eagles 29th in his power rankings:

The Eagles have lost seven in a row and can make it eight Sunday night at Dallas. That would be Philly’s first eight-game skid since 1968 and the days of Joe Kuharich. And as I recall, the Eagles played some very bad football in the early-’70s and mid-’80s. Getting a ticket out of town about now makes Jason Babin the lucky one.

COMING UP

We’ll hear from Todd Bowles, Marty Mornhinweg and Bobby April at the Novacare Complex.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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