Eagles Wake-Up Call: Old School Vs. New School

Bill Cowher perked up some ears when he told Newsday that he plans to coach again at some point. He hasn’t paced an NFL sideline since 2006 (at which point Nick Foles may or may not have had a driver’s license) but insists his time off is a “non-issue.

“I did it for 27 years. You don’t just forget things overnight. One thing about this job is it’s been really good because it allows me to study the game and do features on the game. I want to know what I’m talking about so I’m watching tape. It’s not like I’m out of it. I know how the game is changing.”

The coaching “retreads” have been a bit of a hot topic in Philadelphia over the past few days in particular. Between Cowher’s comments, Jaws’ push for Jon Gruden and the announcement that the Eagles will interview Lovie Smith Thursday, the debate is on whether Jeffrey Lurie should go with the proven commodity over the up-and-comer.

So far, the Eagles have only shown public interest in two former head coaches — Smith and Mike Nolan. But the allure of the established veteran  exists. It is easy to look at the Gruden, Cowher, Smith trio and be taken by the four Super Bowl appearances and two Lombardi trophies between them. Land one of those three, and you at least have a resume and some career highlights to work off of. If you hire Gus Bradley or Mike McCoy — accomplished assistants who have yet to sit in the captain’s chair — you are selling promise.

You are also selling the idea of being with the times if not ahead of the curve. These are hungry, motivated coaches looking to make their mark. Would a more accomplished coach be willing to push the boulder back up the mountain? Do they want it — even need it — enough?

Lurie is on record as saying the coaching talent pool this season is “exceptional.”

“I think if you’re open to finding outstanding leaders wherever they are — and you’re not concerned with how famous they are or whatever — you should be able to find someone special,” he said.

The Eagles appeared to go pretty hard after Chip Kelly, so it’s not as if they have exactly steered clear of the popular coaches. But Lurie believes there are some less-than household names out there  that can get the job done.

Last time around he called on a young Andy Reid to try and fix a team that went 3-13 the year before. Now he needs someone to clean up the mess left behind following a 4-12 campaign.

Does he go new school or old school? If he chooses the latter, he better be sure the candidate is willing to get his hands dirty as the Eagles rebuild.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Sheil has more details on Smith.

The latest coaching buzz features news on Nick Saban, Mike Pettine and Jay Gruden.

The national media are talking about Evan Mathis, Brandon Boykin, potential Eagles draft picks and more.

Jaws says Jon Gruden might want back in, but the Eagles haven’t reached out to him.

If you missed our show (heavy on the coaching search talk), here’s the podcast.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

A couple NFC East notes that will impact the 2013.

For one, Dallas fired defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. As you might expect, Ryan did not go gentle into that good night:

The Cowboys defense finished 19th overall, 17th against the run and 21st against the pass.

“I inherited a team that was 31st in the league in defense and made them better,” Ryan told ESPNDallas.com’s Tim MacMahon. “I (expletive) made them a hell of a lot better. I’ll be out of work for like five minutes.”

RGIII will be learning the severity of his injury very soon.

 Robert Griffin III is expected to undergo surgery this week on his torn lateral collateral ligament and at that time doctors will determine how much damage has been done to his anterior cruciate ligament, a source told ESPN. According to reports, Griffin is expected to have the surgery on Wednesday.Griffin suffered a partially torn LCL in his right knee during Sunday’s playoff game against the Seahawks, a source said.

Griffin also likely tore at least part of his ACL, but it’s unknown how severe it is because a previous knee injury he suffered at Baylor in 2009 required two screws and a rubber band to hold it together.Because of the previous injury, doctors initially could not determine Monday if his ACL was partially or completely torn and doctors don’t know what surgery should be performed.

The Washington Post reported earlier that Griffin’s MRI suggested partial tears to the ACL and LCL.

COMING UP

Continuing coverage of the Eagles coaching search. We’re getting closer.

  • thefadd

    if you take Lurie at his word that he legitimately studied and “discovered” Reid before his time then there’s just no way that you can divine from the reporting out there right now who Lurie might be referring to — whether it be McCoy, Bradley or some random position coach who isn’t even in the playoffs and snuck into he Novacare complex unannounced last Thursday. that said, I love Cowher’s basic enduring principles on coaching, chiseled chin, and undying Andy Reid-like dedication to his craft.

  • johngiam

    I dont understand how Lurie can justify not interviewing guy slike Cowher and Gruden! Im not crazy about Gru Dawg, but I take Cowher all day, simply because He will imploy a brand of football that I enjoy, and because we wont lack toughness

  • EaglefaninAZ

    And now Vermeil is touting Gruden. Given the choice of only Cowher or Gruden, ya gotta go with The Chin.

    • Johngiam

      We ain’t getting either unfortunately….The best we can realistically ask for, since our owner is against giving us what we want is HC Gus Bradley, OC McAdoo (packers QB coach), DCMonte KIFFIN.

      of course I want the Chin, but that is a staff I also believe in

  • metaReign

    Since the Eagles brass hadn’t found anyone, as of yet, I’m trying to dig in Lurie’s head. First, there were 7 teams on the prowl for filling their HCing positions, two teams has found their HCs, Chiefs and Bills. The other 4 teams, including the Eagles are still in the hunt.

    Eagles brass are waiting on Bradley and Mccoy for an interview, with what they have collected so far in the other interviews of several HC prospects, something seems to tell me that they are riding high on the tide. I don’t have any recollections on how Lurie and Banner, started off on their hunt for their HC vacancy, before they popped the cork on an unknown young assistance.

    Did they lasted as long as getting all their interviewees, before they chose AR to be their savior or not?

    As Lurie said he’ll cover all the bases, but it does seems the Eagles aren’t the only one, the other 4 teams as well. Here’s the thing, teams still in the playoff are the most intriguing to the Eagles and the other 4 teams. Eagles will have to look at things as a two-way street, meaning the ones they are aiming for may not become their choice for long, despite being the most attractive package for a HC position. The other teams can beat them to a punch, where the interviewing is only half the reason for landing a prospect. The other half is everything else involve from the front office down to the coaching staffs, to the personnel of players.

    If Lurie is looking for a HC, who would allow the managements to pick their choice of coordinators under him, it would be a hell of a pact to slam dunk the deal, before the next team does. Usually the new HC gets to bring in his choices of coaching staffs, he can put together, sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. AR put together a phenomenal staffs at his disposal, until slowly by slowly his staffs moved on to be HCs themselves.

    I would doubt Lurie will find a willing candidate that would allow the managements to pick their own choosing of available assistances, to help coordinate the team. Which I’m sure he has a long list to choose from.

    It’s too unpredictable picking things out of Lurie’s head, it’s almost like drafting players with BPA, except it’s coaches with pedigrees and insights to what they can bring to the team. Who will be the next team to land their HC?

    • Johngiam

      For those that remember, Reid was actually our 5th choice

  • Brian

    When discussing candidates that haven’ been HCs before, how come every friggin one of them is described as “hungry and motivated”?

    How could anyone possibly know if these guys are actually more motivated than the retreads? They might be LESS motivated for all we know. I think its absolutely ludicrous to generalize things like that.

  • aub32

    I don’t get all this focus on wanting a “tough” football team. It’s nice to have that reputation, but this is a different NFL. The Bears were “tough” this year. They’re defense was a real hit you in the mouth type team. They didn’t even make the playoffs. The same could be said of the Steelers, one of the best defenses in the league this year. I don’t think anyone would classify the Pats, GB, ATL, or Denver as smash mouth teams. Yet these are the teams favored to win the big show and were really good throughout the regular season. Give me a coach that can scheme and make adjustments on offense. Give me a D that can create some turn overs and buckle down more often than not in the RZ. I will take that over a smash mouth old school football team any day.