Report: Eagles ‘Made Approaches’ On Bill Cowher

Jason LaCanfora put out a pretty potent Eagles tweet Sunday afternoon. He threw some cold water on the Eagles-Brian Kelly courtship and tied them to Bill Cowher, all in less than 140 characters.

While the Cowher nugget is certainly noteworthy, it doesn’t appear that the union will happen. There have been conflicting reports as to Cowher’s level of interest in returning to the sidelines. It looks like the debate can be put to bed.

This is all a little odd, considering Cowher reportedly told Newsday that he did see himself returning to coaching at some point. But it definitely doesn’t look like it’s happening now.

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.

Twitter Mailbag: Can Foles Attract A Big-Name Coach?

Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @riggitty: Will Nick Foles intrigue any head coaching prospects if he performs well in a few starts this season?

Very good question. As Eagles fans get their head coaching wish lists ready, complete with the Bill Cowhers and Jon Grudens of the world, few pause to think if the interest would be mutual. Nothing is more important than having a quality quarterback in this league (something Sheil lays out well here). If the Eagles don’t have an attractive option at QB, why would a coach-in-demand choose the Eagles?

For that reason, I think it is critically important that Foles acquits himself well if the Eagles are going for the big name. The less desirable the quarterback situation looks, the better chance the Eagles will have to mine for a diamond assistant in the rough. But to be honest, I think that’s the direction they go in regardless.

From @JCentifonti: Could Roseman be bumped to President & they go after a new GM?

No, they promoted Don Smolenski to President back in June, around the same time Howie Roseman reportedly received his contract extension.

I am becoming more and more convinced that the Lurie-Smolenski-Roseman triumvirate will be in place to oversee the transition from the Reid Era to the new era. Lurie will need men that he trusts to guide the franchise where he wants it to go.

I am fascinated with how the Michael Vick situation will be handled. If Vick is still on the roster three days after the Super Bowl, $3 million of his salary becomes guaranteed. Chances are, the Eagles won’t have a head coach in place by then. Would Roseman and Lurie make the call to release Vick without first consulting with their head coach to be?

The answer will tell us a lot.

From @BrandonSlagle27: I was looking at the nyg and dal sched. Do you think it’s possible to win the NFC east with a 9-7 record or even possibly 8-8?

Here’s what each NFC East team is facing the rest of the way:

Giants (6-4): Packers, @Redskins, Saints, @Falcons, @Ravens, Eagles
Cowboys (4-5): Browns, Redskins, Eagles, @Bengals, Steelers, Saints, @Redskins
Eagles (3-6): @Redskins, Panthers, @Cowboys, @Bucs, Bengals, Redskins, @Giants
Redskins (3-6):  Eagles, @Cowboys, Giants, Ravens, @Browns, @Eagles, Cowboys

A couple things that stand out: The Giants face a pretty tough slate starting next week against Green Bay. The Cowboys have maybe the easiest schedule, especially considering that they have just two road games the rest of the way. The Eagles have just two games remaining against teams with winning records (Giants, Bucs).

The second half of the season is backloaded with division games. Yeah, I can see 9-7 winning the NFC East. Definitely possible.

From @phillytokorea: who is the Eagle player that has the most upside? A potential Pro Bowler?

I think Fletcher Cox is your guy. The eye is not naturally drawn to the middle of the line so Cox does not get a ton of recognition, but he has shown some real nice flashes in the first half of his rookie season. It took no time at all before Cox was Jim Washburn‘s most-used defensive tackle.

He is a bright spot in a down season, and one reason to be optimistic if you’re an Eagles fan.

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