Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie had his sales pitch ready.
With six other teams – the Cardinals, Chargers, Bills, Bears, Chiefs and Browns – currently looking for head coaches, Lurie was asked what makes the Eagles’ job desirable.
“I’m very confident that this is the most attractive place for a head coach to work in the National Football League,” Lurie said without hesitation.
He then rattled off a series of reasons why. The fan base, the “obsession” to be great, the market, the prime-time games, the facilities, the coach-owner relationship, the winning culture and so on.
“I think that it’s ripe for a real smart, forward-thinking coach who wants to get his hands on a great situation,” Lurie concluded. “To me, this is the best situation for a coach to look at.”
Most of Lurie’s reasons hold merit. There are only 32 NFL head-coaching jobs. For 14 years, Lurie provided Andy Reid with resources and then got out of the way. Granted, Reid made the playoffs in nine of those seasons, which made Lurie’s decision to retain him an easy one. But still, Lurie didn’t let Ray Rhodes go until the Eagles went 3-13 and the wheels came off completely.
“I think to be really successful in this league, you’ve got to be able to have the freedom to make short-term plans, mid-term plans and long-term plans,” Lurie said. “If you feel like you’re under the gun where you’re going to be given two years and that’s it, or this year has to be absolutely the panacea to every problem you have, you’re not going to get the best coaching. So when a coach comes to the Philadelphia Eagles – and the next coach will feel this way – he knows he’s going to have the owner’s support to both plan in the short run, plan in the mid-term and have long-term strategy as well. That, to me, is crucial. Because every decision you make needs to balance the three, and when you start to reach for short-term panaceas or short-term solutions that are not consistent with your culture and your football program, that’s when you end up 4-12.”
It was a theme Lurie echoed throughout the press conference. The Eagles made out-of-character moves because they were tired of being close. The moves backfired, and now they are stuck with a roster that has several question marks, including at quarterback, where Nick Foles is the favorite to be the 2013 starter as we enter the offseason.
Coaches (for the most part) are not stupid. They know the importance of having a quarterback in place. A couple of the teams with openings – the Bears (Jay Cutler) and Chargers (Philip Rivers) – have better QB situations than the Eagles.
“The majority of teams looking for a head coach are normally looking for a quarterback,” said general manager Howie Roseman. “I think for us, we have a young quarterback who has a lot of promise, so that’s a positive thing. You don’t normally see the great quarterbacks without head coaches.”
Unless the Eagles target a truly under-the-radar candidate, we’ll be able to tell in the coming weeks whether Lurie is right.