Ripple Effect? Browns Hire Rob Chudzinski

The Cleveland Browns’ coaching search has led them to Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski.

Joe Banner has chosen Chudzinski as the team’s new head coach, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. Banner and the Browns heavily pursued Chip Kelly, but when it became clear that the Oregon coach wasn’t going to Cleveland, they focused their efforts elsewhere. The Browns interviewed several candidates, including Ken Whisenhunt, Bill O’Brien and Ray Horton.

Chudzinski spent the past two seasons as the Panthers offensive coordinator. He previously worked as an assistant with the Chargers and the Browns.

So, what does this mean for the Eagles? At the beginning of the process, it appeared Banner and Jeffrey Lurie would be battling for the same candidates: Chip Kelly, O’Brien, Doug Marrone. But after Kelly decided he was staying put, the two franchises went their separate ways. The Eagles have shown interest in Brian Kelly, Lovie Smith and Gus Bradley, among others.

The Browns are the third team to fill their head-coaching vacancy. The Chiefs hired Andy Reid. And the Bills hired Marrone.

After the Jaguars fired Mike Mularkey Thursday, that leaves five positions open: Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Chicago, Arizona and San Diego.

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Eagles Wake-Up Call: Making Sense Of the Brian Kelly Interest

The Eagles’ coaching search took a sharp left turn Wednesday night when reports surfaced that the team has expressed interest in Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly.

Kelly interviewed with the Birds on Tuesday, one day after the Fighting Irish were blown out by Alabama, 42-14, in the BCS title game.

Of all the candidates who have been linked to the Eagles – and there have now been 11 total – Kelly is perhaps the most surprising name. He said as recently as last week that leaving was “not an option.” But as we know by now, what coaches say and what they do can be two different things.

So the obvious question is this: Is Kelly just leveraging NFL interest into a more favorable deal at Notre Dame? We’ve already seen Bill O’Brien and Chip Kelly interview with NFL teams before going back to their respective college gigs. Is Brian Kelly doing the same thing?

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbick recently talked about what he could do to keep Kelly. From the Chicago Tribune:

“Everything that goes into the program is on the table when we have those discussions,” Swarbrick said, when asked if a raise or extension would be part of his postseason talks with Kelly.

“Every year when we’re done, we talk about what the program needs. It’s been reflected in staff hires and equipment and all kinds of things that you do to make sure the program has the resources it needs to go forward. We go through a laundry list of those.”

So, perhaps that’s all it is. Kelly is playing the game like others before him.

But there’s always the possibility that he’s ready to make the leap. He spent three seasons at Central Michigan (2004-2006) and then made the move to Cincinnati. He spent three seasons there (2007-2009) and then landed the Notre Dame job. He’s spent three seasons in South Bend, and well, you get the picture.

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports doesn’t buy the idea that Kelly is just looking to negotiate a better deal at Notre Dame:

The thing is Kelly was already going to get paid. He was already in the perfect position. He restored Notre Dame, bringing joy to one of the wealthiest alumni bases in major college football. He’d earned his raise.

No, the interest in the NFL is real. It’s always been real, the ultimate spot for an upwardly mobile coach.

Wetzel’s argument makes a lot of sense. Kelly just led Notre Dame to the BCS title game. Wasn’t he already operating from a position of strength if all he wants is a better deal from the university?

From the Eagles’ perspective, the interest in Kelly tells us a couple things. Number one, they don’t plan on leaving any stone unturned (this side of Jon Gruden, that is).

And number two, this coaching search is completely wide-open. It appears Jeffrey Lurie had Chip Kelly and O’Brien at the top of his list. After them, the candidates are lumped together. And they come in all different shapes and sizes – from the college ranks (Brian Kelly) to NFL second-chancers (Lovie Smith) to up-and-coming coordinators (Gus Bradley).

The search is going to be exhaustive and thorough. And with the way things are developing, Brian Kelly might not be the last surprise name on the list.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Tim’s got more details on the interest in Kelly.

There were rumors that Jon Gruden was in town yesterday. T-Mac looked into them.

I took a break from the coaching search and offered up three playoff thoughts with an Eagles slant.

Howie Roseman talked to the Eagles’ Web site about the coaching search.

Greg Roman could be drawing some interest, and Mike Pettine is headed to Buffalo.

Tim looks at the philosophical decision between established candidates and unknowns.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com is skeptical of Kelly’s motives:

One longtime general manager says he generally stays away from trying to hire college coaches because you rarely know what they really want — do they want to go to the pros or use the pros to better their situation in college?

The NFL is a huge cash cow and not just for players or coaches but for college coaches looking for a raise. A great college coach leaks word about an NFL interview and boosters show up and ask: How would you like your extra cash? Stock options OK?

From SI.com’s Pete Thamel:

ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen report that the Eagles and Kelly have agreed to revisit talks when he gets back from vacation this weekend.

COMING UP

I have a hunch we’ll come up with something to talk about.

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Clearing Up the Vick-Kelly Speculation

As Tim explained earlier, Chip Kelly appears to be deciding between Oregon and the Eagles.

Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman and Don Smolenski will wait to hear from Kelly while they go ahead and interview other candidates.

As the process continues, there’s been a lot of talk about a potential Kelly-Michael Vick connection. But we need to clarify a few points about that discussion.

Let’s start with what Vick wants. Some have speculated that he yearns to play for Kelly and has anxiously been awaiting to find out where the Oregon coach lands. These reports surfaced a couple weeks ago, so Tim asked Vick about them:

There was a report that said Vick  has envisioned playing in Kelly’s spread offense and would be keeping an eye on where the Oregon coach lands. I asked Vick about Kelly a few days after that report surfaced and he said, “Who’s that, the Notre Dame coach?” He went on to say that he was familiar with Oregon’s quarterback but didn’t know a whole lot about Kelly.

And as Tim has explained since, Vick didn’t appear to be joking around. There may be people around Vick who think he’d fit with Kelly, but the quarterback wasn’t even familiar with the Oregon coach as recently as a couple weeks ago.

The other thing is we have to be realistic about is what Vick is right now. He’s not Robert Griffin III or Russell Wilson. He’ll turn 33 this offseason. He’s thrown 24 interceptions and fumbled 21 times in his last 23 starts. He also continues to have trouble staying healthy. Why would anyone be confident that he could remain injury-free if asked to consistently run the option (more hits on the QB) in an offense expected to run a high number of plays? It just doesn’t add up.

Now, maybe Kelly thinks he can work with Vick. Maybe he prefers the veteran over Nick Foles. That’s certainly possible. But the Eagles would need to re-structure Vick’s deal. He is due $15.5 million in 2013. And they need to make a decision on him before Feb. 6, when Vick is due a $3 million bonus.

The last point is one we’ve written about before. If I’m Lurie, I’d be worried about a coach who demands specific personnel to be successful. Certainly the coach should have input, but with injuries, free agency, players underachieving and so on, that is not a recipe for success. You need a coach who can adapt to personnel.

Does Kelly possess that skill? We may or may not find out in the next couple years, depending on what he chooses.

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Eagles Wake-Up Call: Courting Chip Kelly

The Eagles’ lunch with Chip Kelly lasted a bit longer than your usual meet and greet at Chipotle.

On Friday evening, the Browns and Kelly were said to be close to a deal, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. But as we’ve discussed in this space, “close” and “done” are two different things – especially when it comes to the hiring of coaches.

So Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman and Don Smolenski took their best shot at Kelly in Arizona on Saturday, trying to lure him in as the next head coach. From Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer:

The Eagles’ had a lunch meeting with Kelly in Arizona that’s stretched into the dinner hour. The Browns were set to meet with Kelly over dinner, and hoped to hammer out a deal, but he’s been tied up with Eagles owner Jeff Lurie, president Don Smolenski and general manager Howie Roseman.

The meeting finally ended after midnight (EST), and this was not expected to be the end of the communication between the two sides, according to Mike Garafolo of USA Today.

The Eagles are clearly in a battle with Joe Banner and are putting on the hard sell. They have other interviews lined up, but are apparently targeting Kelly as their No. 1 option.

Who will the Oregon coach choose? We’re still waiting for an answer. But we do know that sources told Rapoport the Browns are trying to decide between Kelly and Syracuse coach Doug Marrone. You could take that at face value. Or you could take it to mean Banner has an inkling that he might lose out on Kelly and is trying to save face with the old We didn’t want him [Kelly] anyway strategy.

There’s also the possibility that Kelly decides to stay put and coach Oregon.

As for the Eagles, they are scheduled to meet with Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy on Sunday. They’re also expected to interview Marrone, Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden.

Will all of those interviews end up taking place? Or will we be preparing for Kelly’s introductory press conference this week? We should find out shortly.

WHAT YOU MISSED

If you missed our most recent Birds 24/7 Radio show, here are the podcast links.

The Eagles are expected to interview Jay Gruden. Would he be a good candidate?

The Eagles are also taking a look at Doug Marrone.

Our coaching tracker has every interview for every team listed.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Jason Whitlock of FoxSports.com doesn’t know why Andy Reid was considered a hot commodity on the open market:

A high percentage of Eagles fans believes Reid hasn’t been right since his defensive coordinator Jim Johnson died of cancer in 2009. Reid hasn’t won a playoff game since Johnson passed.

My issue is the last two years. The Eagles were the “dream team” in 2011 and Super Bowl favorite. They went 8-8. They had to win their final four games to reach 8-8. To the utter shock and surprise of no one not named Andy Reid, the decision to promote longtime offensive-line coach Juan Castillo to DEFENSIVE coordinator blew up in Reid’s face. In their eight losses, the Eagles surrendered an average of 29.8 points.

The Eagles spent millions of dollars building a dream team, and Reid turned his defense over to an offensive-line coach on a whim. This is like getting a date with Beyonce and consulting with Ike Turner on how to romance her.

History says Reid might not win big in Kansas City, writes SI.com’s Don Banks:

But historically speaking, the Chiefs probably aren’t buying themselves a great shot to scale the NFL mountaintop and win a Super Bowl with Reid. While seven “re-tread” coaches have won Super Bowls in their second NFL gig after not doing so in their first job — including another former Eagles coach, Dick Vermeil — none have done it while staying in their first job for anywhere remotely as long as Reid’s 14 seasons in Philadelphia.

COMING UP

Think it’ll be quiet today? Yeah, neither do we.

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Eagles Wake-Up Call: Overconfident, Or Part Of the Plan?

Jeffrey Lurie offered this opinion of his team at Monday’s press conference:

“I’m very confident that this is the most attractive place for a head coach to work in the National Football League.”

Right now, it’s at least fair to ask if this is even the most attractive destination out of the six teams that currently have a head coaching vacancy.

The potential thorn in the Eagles’ side could be (who else?) Joe Banner, who spent the bulk of Friday courting Chip Kelly. Reports surfaced in the evening that Kelly and the Browns are close to a deal, though the window is open at least a crack.

The Eagles surely saw the first part of this coming. It was widely reported that  Kelly would be in high demand, and expected that at least one team would put the full-court press on as soon as the clock hit zero at the Fiesta Bowl. It is also possible they knew Banner and the Browns would be the team to do it.

Kelly as recently as Thursday night stated that he wanted this to be a quick process. Lurie, though, hinted that his team would employ a methodical approach when it came to their search, even as their name continued to be tied to the sought-after Oregon coach.

“The important thing is to find the right coach, not to make the fastest decision. That’s our priority,” said Lurie.

After the Eagles interview Kelly Saturday (it sounds like they will get the chance), they have a meeting set up with Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy for Sunday, and plan to talk with Colts OC Bruce Arians and Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley next week. There could be more names beyond that.

There are a couple conclusions that can be drawn: One, that the Eagles’ interest in Kelly was overstated, and they are comfortable losing him in the name of sound and comprehensive evaluation if necessary. Or two, that Kelly is the  man they were targeting heading in, but felt comfortable enough with their stature where they believed they would have their pick of the litter.

Right now, Kelly is reportedly close to choosing Banner and the Browns. You wonder if Lurie has been caught off guard.

WHAT YOU MISSED

More on the report of Kelly potentially landing with the Browns.

The Chiefs made it official with Andy Reid. 

As we wait for the Eagles to interview Kelly and McCoy, here’s the tale of the tape.

Jeremiah Trotter was as candid as any player has been on the shortcoming of  Reid as a coach.

This whole Banner versus Lurie showdown sets up for some great theater.

You can find all the latest coaching buzz in our special section.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Dick Vermeil had some advice for Reid when it came to Kansas City: “Go.”

“He’s coached at the University of Missouri,” Vermeil said of Reid’s three-year stint as an assistant from 1989-91, “he’s been in middle America before and knows what the people are like. He knows how I feel about it. He’s been in that stadium. He kicked my rear . . . when we were ahead 18-0 . . . and he knows how the fans are there, and how that Arrowhead Stadium is when it’s full.

“And he knows the great respect and admiration people in the NFL have for the Hunt family, so why not go? There are no negatives.”

John Canzano of the Oregonian did a nice job painting the picture of what was likely Kelly’s last game at Oregon.

Go home, everyone. It’s all done and over for the University of Oregon and Coach Visor, right?

Except, here came Kelly rushing down the corridor of the University of Phoenix Stadium 15 minutes later, leading an entourage toward the postgame media news conference. He had running back Kenjon Barner trailing him, and freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota behind that. Also, Nike founder Phil Knight was hurrying along, trying to keep up. And former Duck Ahmad Rashad was somewhere in there, too. And actor Ty Burrell, better known as Phil Dunphy from “Modern Family” was going stride for stride. And in that moment like that, it hits you square between the eyes.

Kelly was right — a football program should never be about one guy.

As Crossing Broad details, the Kansas City media treated Reid’s arrival like a Presidential visit.

COMING UP

The coaching search rolls on. We’ll have it covered for you.

 

 

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Lurie Vs. Banner Intensifies

When Jeffrey Lurie addressed the media earlier this week, much was made about his ringing endorsement of general manager Howie Roseman.

“I keep voluminous notes on talent evaluation on not just who we draft, but who is valued in each draft by each person that is in the organization that’s working here,” Lurie said. “I came to the conclusion that the person that was providing by far the best talent evaluation in the building was Howie Roseman. I decided to streamline the whole decision-making process for the 2012 draft and offseason and that’s the first draft and offseason I hold Howie completely accountable for.”

The obvious follow-up question was this: If Roseman wasn’t responsible for the 2011 draft, which netted Danny Watkins and Jaiquawn Jarrett with the first two picks, then who was?

“I want to take a much higher road than that and just say that I’ve had to really go through exactly everyone’s talent evaluations and realized that we needed a real streamlining of the process,” Lurie said.

Some assumed he was referring to Andy Reid. But the better guess is he was talking about Joe Banner.

Remember, Lurie has the scorecard. He’s one of only a handful of people who knows which members of the organization were responsible for the decisions that have the Eagles where they are today – a team that just finished 4-12 and is 12-20 in the past two seasons.

So it’s important to look at actions as much as words. After last year’s 8-8 campaign, Banner was shown the door. And check out what the former Eagles president said about his involvement in the draft in Cleveland.

“I will be one of the four or five people in that room,” Banner told the Plain-Dealer. “I’ll have a voice. In some instances, it will go through me, but our goal is always to drive a consensus. That’s always been my role as it related to the football part of the operations.”

Sounds like someone who perhaps had lost his voice at his previous stop.

It’s certainly plausible that Roseman got overruled by Banner and Reid at times. Should the GM get a free pass? Of course not. That would suggest he’s just been sitting at his desk filling out crossword puzzles for the last three years. But he did have two decision-makers with more power above him.

And remember, Lurie has shown in the past year that he’s willing to cut ties with people who are not getting the job done. Part of this is definitely to put a positive spin on the future of the franchise. But Lurie has no clear motivation to give Roseman more power unless he thinks the GM can help him win. Couldn’t he just as easily have said, “We’re a 4-12 team. No one has done their job well, but we still think Howie has a bright future.”

The answer is yes, but he decided to offer a much stronger endorsement.

Going forward, it should come as no surprise that Lurie and Banner (now in Cleveland) are targeting the same candidates. They have been through this dance together with both Ray Rhodes and then Reid. They both know what they’re looking for and are highly motivated to find a great leader.

Yesterday, we found out both teams had already interviewed Bill O’Brien before he decided to go back to Penn State. That news is noteworthy, but perhaps more interesting is how the news got out. No one knew the Browns had interviewed O’Brien until about 6:30 last night. No one knew the Eagles had interviewed him until after O’Brien announced he was returning to Happy Valley.

The battle is very much on.

Now the attention shifts to Oregon coach Chip Kelly. The Browns are expected to interview him today. And the Eagles will reportedly talk to him before Sunday when they travel to Denver to meet with Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.

Can’t you just picture the scene in Glendale, Ariz.? Banner and Browns owner Jimmy Haslam having lunch with Kelly at some upscale restaurant. Lurie and Roseman sitting at the bar with fake mustaches and glasses on, holding newspapers in front of their faces as they spy on their competition.

After a season filled with tired storylines, things are about to get interesting around here. Stay tuned.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Bill O’Brien is staying put as the head coach of the Nittany Lions.

Peyton Manning says Mike McCoy is ready to be a head coach.

You can find all the latest coaching buzz in our special section.

Eagles center Jason Kelce is not concerned about being effective in a new scheme next year.

Tim weighs in on the Eagles’ character problem.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Kelly addressed his future after Oregon’s 35-17 Fiesta Bowl win. From Les Bowen of the Daily News:

Asked by the Daily News if he has an impression of Eagles general manager Howie Roseman, from Roseman’s scouting trips to Oregon, Kelly said: “I can’t do an impression of him. I’ve met Howie twice. He was here a couple of years ago and I think he was here in September — my interaction with those guys is really, 5, 10 minutes – ’these are the players you might want to look at.’ ”

It would have been pretty cool if Kelly did launch into a Roseman impression.

Bill Barnwell of Grantland.com looks at the Eagles’ options for replacing Reid:

Philadelphia will look at a variety of candidates. They would be a nice fit for Chip Kelly, who would allow the Eagles to give Michael Vick one final shot in an offense that could play to his strengths. If they follow the head coaching maxim, they would follow the Reid era by targeting a defensive-minded disciplinarian, which would lead them toward Cowher or Lovie Smith. I think whoever they hire will be a short-term upgrade on Reid, just by virtue of bringing in some fresh ideas and new motivational tactics to a group of players who had been used to the Reid Way. In the long-term, though, it’s going to be very difficult for the Eagles to find somebody who represents an upgrade on their departed head coach.

COMING UP

Nothing scheduled, lots to cover. That’s how it’ll be around here for awhile.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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O’Brien Interviews, But Opts To Stay At Penn State

The Eagles interviewed Bill O’Brien, but the Penn State coach is staying in Happy Valley.

The news was first reported by Adam Caplan.

O’Brien’s camp seems to have maximized its leverage. News leaked Thursday evening that the Browns had interviewed O’Brien. But soon after, an SI.com report surfaced, indicating that Penn State was making a “massive push” to keep its head coach.

There’s been plenty of talk recently that O’Brien was using this opportunity to re-work his contract with Penn State. Per David Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot News, O’Brien gets a $1.3 million raise and “structural and personnel changes.”

So, what happens next? Both the Eagles and Browns are expected to interview Oregon’s Chip Kelly in the next few days. The Eagles also have plans to meet with Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy on Sunday.

And after this weekend’s wild-card games, there will be more assistants available for interviews. Click here for our original list of candidates.

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Coaching Buzz: Reid Visiting With KC; Koetter Staying Put

Multiple reports Tuesday suggested that it was a near certainty that Andy Reid would end up in Arizona. Now Kansas City appears in play.

According to Chris Mortensen, Reid will sit down with the Chiefs brass Wednesday before flying out to the desert to meet with the Cardinals. More on the potential Chiefs/Reid marriage from PFT.

The Chiefs still haven’t decided what they’ll do with General Manager Scott Pioli. Reid has no history with Pioli, but Pioli does have a history working as a personnel man for a coach who enjoyed a similar level of control to what Reid had in Philadelphia. In New England, Pioli concentrated on a smaller portfolio while Bill Belichick ran the lion’s share of the football operations.

Speaking of Belichick, David Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot News says that the Patriots’ head coach does not think fondly of Howie Roseman, which could hurt the Eagles’ chances of landing Bill O’Brien.

I’ve been told that the Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals plan to interview him and that the Eagles’ owner Jeffrey Lurie is in particular very intrigued.

A potential sticking point for O’Brien regarding the Eagles job could be their new general manager Howie Roseman. The club’s 37-year-old salary cap guru is known to be held in low regard by O’Brien’s mentor, Patriots coach Bill Belichick, and by another strong O’Brien contact, former Broncos head coach and Patriots assistant Josh McDaniels.

O’Brien served as an assistant coach in New England from 2007-11 before taking the Penn State job.

Finally, it looks like you can scratch Dirk Koetter off the list of potential head coaching candidates.


The Eagles are slated to interview Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and  special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong . They were supposed to meet with Koetter as well.

For all the latest coaching buzz, click right here.


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Eagles Wake-Up Call: Roseman Offers Hint At QB Plan

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles.Soon after the Eagles find their next head coach, the attention will turn to the quarterback position.

And while Andy Reid’s replacement is poised to make the call at QB, he’ll no doubt get input from others within the organization, including general manager Howie Roseman.

Roseman met with reporters earlier this week and was asked if he thinks the Eagles are in good shape at quarterback.

Nick [Foles] has a lot of promise,” Roseman said. “But I think the analogy I would draw there is that when you watch baseball, you see sometimes young starting pitchers go through the lineup one time and get them out pretty quickly because there’s no book on them. Or play their opponents, and the same thing. They go through the first time pretty well. So we’ve got to just make sure that we’re evaluating Nick, the full package of Nick. He’s got a lot of good tools. But that and the coach are obviously the two most important things for the franchise.”

Foles had ups and downs in his six starts, completing 60.8 percent of his passes, but averaging just 6.4 yards per attempt. He was surrounded by backups on offense, but Roseman makes a good point in that teams can now game-plan against his weaknesses. The GM’s stance seems like a smart one: Develop Foles, but leave open the possibility of upgrading or at least bringing in competition.

You’ll also notice that Roseman was asked specifically about the QB position, not about Foles. Yet he made no mention of Michael Vick. Vick is still under contract, but the Eagles can get out of paying him a $3 million bonus by cutting ties before Feb. 6. Asked if the team has made a final decision on Vick, Roseman simply replied, “No.”

Earlier in the day, when talking about the team’s future, Jeffrey Lurie never mentioned Vick, but spoke optimistically about Foles.

“Nick is obviously very promising,” Lurie said. “I think when you bring in a new coaching staff, you have the opportunity to really get to know him and evaluate him. He has only played six games behind an offensive line that’s been really battered. I think they’re going to have a great opportunity. I know Andy was very excited about Nick, and that’s an understatement.”

While Roseman and Lurie’s opinions are worth noting, the new coach is going to have to make the final call.

“Nick has every opportunity, and everyone in the building thinks the world of him in terms of his promise and potential,” Lurie said. “This is going to be a decision made by the new head coach, not by the owner.”

WHAT YOU MISSED

The Cardinals could be closing in on hiring Reid.

Penn State’s Bill O’Brien is “strongly considering” interviewing with an NFL team, according to a report.

Tim takes a closer look at Mike Nolan as a potential candidate, with the help of Dan Reeves.

Our special head-coaching tracker lists every reported interview for the seven teams that have job openings.

“I think the lack of respect that maybe some guys have for other guys definitely hurt us,” said wide receiver Jeremy Maclin.

What kind of coach is Lurie looking for? McManus takes a look.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Clark Judge of CBSSports.com thinks five of the six other openings are more attractive than the Eagles:

You have promising young players in DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy, plus tackle Jason Peters returns from an Achilles injury. But you still might have to overhaul the offensive and defensive lines, find new safeties and junk cornerbacks who never lived up to reputations. Then there are those 75 turnovers in the past 32 games. This club needs discipline and an overhaul, which means it looks more like a teardown waiting to happen.

SI.com’s Bryan Armen Graham offers his take on the end of the Reid era:

What’s more, Reid’s famously hermetic news conferences were the perfect fit for Philadelphia’s hyper-tempered fans — the highs were never too high, the lows never too low. Yet that demeanor grew from curious to maddening as evidence of the Eagles’ lack of blueprint mounted — and the perception changed from Belichickian poker face to self-denial borne from thinly veiled desperation. For years, the Eagles were thin at the skill positions but reliably deep on the offensive and defensive lines: Jim Johnson’s wildly creative defense kept scores low enough for McNabb to get it done in the end. By the end, the team was laden with burners at running back and wide receivers, yet was undone by the neglect in the trenches. The team’s loss of identity, a fate sealed by Johnson’s untimely death, ultimately proved fatal.

COMING UP

There are no slow days around here. Nothing planned, yet much to cover. Come back early and often.

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Eagles Wake-Up Call: Lurie’s Type Of Coach

Jeffrey Lurie confessed at Monday’s press conference that the organization began getting away from some of its core philosophies over the last few years in an attempt to chase down the Lombardi Trophy that always seemed just out of their grasp. Part of their methodology that was abandoned to a certain extent was: “Don’t do necessarily what is popular, but do what’s right.”

That was how Lurie approached the head coaching search the last time around. He has no championships to show for it, but you would have to say that the Eagles owner got it right when he selected the unknown Andy Reid.

“You’ve got to find the right leader. When I picked Andy, I know it wasn’t popular and I know he wasn’t known very well, but I had known this guy for a couple years, I spent time with him. Nobody knew that,” said Lurie to a small group of reporters after the press conference. “We met at the combine and I studied him for a while, and after looking at the deskful of candidates that year, for me it was a no-brainer with Andy even though it was sort of an off-the-wall choice.

“This year I think the talent pool is exceptional. Exceptional. And 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.”

 Not concerned with how famous they are. Do what is right, not what is popular.

It sounds like Lurie is open to all possibilities when it comes to his next head coach.

“Some of these coaches in college are outstanding leaders, and they go from a younger roster to a slightly older roster,” said Lurie. “There’s no question and I’m not the only one that thinks college coaches are well trained and have experienced tremendous pressure and can handle it and are smart. On the other hand, most of the successful coaches come from the coordinator ranks and some ex-NFL coaches as well. No stone un-turned. We’ve got our target list and it’s from all sides.”

We have heard several names tied to the Eagles already – Chip Kelly, Bill O’Brien, Dirk Koetter, Jon Gruden, Mike Nolan — all of whom have varied backgrounds. Lurie suggested that the search could take some time, as he plans on being patient and thorough in the name of getting it right.

Lurie spoke of how Reid was in front of the curve when it came to offensive trends in the NFL. It is an obvious trait that he values.

“The game changes, and you need a coach who is studying that and understands not just the way it is today, where it’s going to be in four years, five years,” he said. “What the impact of offensive rules are — it’s changed the game dramatically in terms of what you can do…All that goes into play.”

Lurie wants an innovator. He wants a leader. And if we are to be guided by history and his words, he’ll bypass a big name or two if necessary to get it.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Lurie says the Eagles coaching job is the best in the NFL.

The Eagles have their list ready, and three members of the Falcons staff are on it. Meanwhile, Reid is getting a look in Arizona.

Lurie gave a very strong vote of confidence to Howie Roseman.

LeSean McCoy says a lot of his teammates didn’t lay it on the line.

Some of Reid’s former players shared some personal stories about their head coach.

The Jon Gruden rumors continue to swirl.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Rich Hofmann did a nice job of detailing the moment when Lurie fired Reid.

His office? Your office?

“His office,” Jeffrey Lurie said. “When Andy and I talked, especially about these kinds of things, it was usually in his office. I just thought you showed respect by doing it that way.”

It was coming up on 9 o’clock on Monday morning. That is when the Eagles’ owner took the walk down the hall, the walk that he had been dreading. Out the door, down the hall, into a common area and then over to the football side of the NovaCare Complex. Maybe the walk took 15 seconds. Maybe a little bit more.

Fifteen seconds. Fourteen years.

“It was so comfortable,” Lurie said. “Oh my God. We were both prepared for this in our own individual ways. We’re close. We’re friends. We knew, both of us. It was unspoken, but we knew. Part of me dreaded it but part of me just knew it was going to be comfortable. You work with somebody for 14 years and you just know.

Daniel Jeremiah (a former scout for the Eagles) gives his predictions for how the coaching vacancies get filled. He believes Reid is headed to Arizona, and thinks Chip Kelly is coming here.

Look at the quotes from today’s Eagles press conference; Philadelphia owner Jeffrey Lurie sounded like he was describing Chip Kelly, expressing a desire for an innovative coach who’s willing to take risks. The Eagles have been a bold organization; that’s a bold move.

COMING UP

A Happy New Year to all. We’ll keep you updated as the coaching search begins in earnest.

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