Coaching Buzz: Getting To Know Mike McCoy

On last night’s Birds 24/7 Radio show (podcast links here!), Tim and I discussed several potential candidates to replace Andy Reid as the Eagles’ next head coach.

One name we both agreed is worth keeping an eye on is Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.

McCoy has spent four seasons in Denver, and what makes him attractive is he’s had to adapt his offense to various personnel. It is Peyton Manning this year – every coordinator’s dream. But it was Tim Tebow in 2011 and Kyle Orton before that.

Considering injuries, free agency, players aging and so on, the ability to adapt to different personnel is a key quality in a head coach.

“We’re firm believers here that you have to adjust to who you have,” McCoy told Andrew Mason of the Sporting News.

Prior to working with the Broncos, McCoy spent nine seasons with the Carolina Panthers as an offensive assistant. He was the quarterbacks coach for the team that reached the Super Bowl in 2003 and also the team that reached the NFC championship in 2005. Jake Delhomme made the Pro Bowl under McCoy’s tutelage.

McCoy, 40, has spent 13 years in the league but has only been with two organizations. He interviewed with the Dolphins for their head-coaching job last year and also drew interest from the Raiders and Jaguars.

Jeffrey Lurie should be at least somewhat familiar with McCoy. He spent training camp with the Eagles as a player back in 1998. McCoy also apparently has some characteristics that Lurie appreciates with his current coach, Andy Reid. From the Sporting News:

Those sentiments are echoed around the Broncos’ locker room for an assistant coach who keeps his emotions in check, doesn’t use public statements to cut down his players and displays a placid, but palpable, authority over the offense, which John Fox has entrusted to him.

“I think Mike has done an outstanding job,” Fox said. “He did an outstanding job a year ago. He’s done the same thing again this year. You like to see people get opportunities and have those options. I’m sure it will be no different this year.”

According to NFL rules, assistant coaches whose teams have a first-round bye are allowed to interview for head-coaching jobs next week. They can take part in a second interview either after their team loses or following the conference championship games.

The only way the Broncos wouldn’t get a first-round bye is if they somehow lose to the 2-13 Chiefs and the Patriots beat the Dolphins, which is unlikely.

In other words, if the Eagles are interested in McCoy, it’s likely that they’ll have already interviewed him by this time next week.

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Twitter Mailbag: My Top Three For Head 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 @greg_busa: in order give me your top 3 choices for coach.

OK, let’s do it. I’m entitled to change my opinion as I gather more intel, but here are my three choices should the Eagles move on from Andy Reid as expected:

1) Mike McCoy (offensive coordinator, Broncos, age 40)

McCoy has shown the ability to get the most out of his quarterbacks, and a willingness to tailor his offensive design to fit personnel.

A former QB himself, McCoy helped Jake Delhomme reach the Pro Bowl; got a pair of 3,500-yard passing seasons out of Kyle Orton; and revamped the Broncos offense to give Tim Tebow a fighting chance. Now, he’s blessed with Peyton Manning.

With the Eagles in transition and Nick Foles in the developmental stage, McCoy’s strengths seem to match up well with the team’s needs.

2) Greg Roman (offensive coordinator, 49ers, age 39)

Similarly, Roman has helped give the 49ers’ offense an identity despite a less-than-ideal quarterback situation. Alex Smith turned into a serviceable quarterback last season under Jim Harbaugh and Roman, and the offense finished in the top 10 in points per game while tying an NFL mark for fewest turnovers in a season (10). Colin Kaepernick has found success as well since taking over the starting role.

Roman, a Ventnor, New Jersey native,  has 15 years of NFL coaching experience and was with Harbaugh at Stanford. The Niners play some of the toughest and most disciplined football around — a brand that would be beloved in Philly.

3) Chip Kelly (head coach, Oregon, age 49)

Kelly will be perhaps the most sought-after head coach in the coming weeks and it would not surprise me at all if Howie Roseman and Jeffrey Lurie make a run at him. Heading into this season, the Ducks’ offense was averaging 43 points and almost 500 yards per game in three seasons under Kelly.

Will his style of play translate to the NFL? Is he willing to adjust his approach as necessary? Will his lack of experience on the NFL level hurt him? These are a few unknowns that make him a bit of a risk. But the upside is tough to ignore.

From @OHH_BEE: As Birds clean house this offseason, what specific decisions will help us tell how long it will take to get back to relevancy?

Football is pretty basic in this respect: if you get the head coach and quarterback part of it right, you’re golden. Simple concept, very difficult to accomplish. Quick turnarounds happen all the time in the NFL, and this team is far from barren in the talent department. They can be relevant next season. To get beyond relevant and into contender status, they have to get the right quarterback and the right coach. Mess that up, and the picture gets significantly bleaker.

From @johnhanf: What kind of reception does Andy get from the fans at the end of Sunday’s game?

I have been mulling this over, and I just can’t picture any chill-worthy moments happening at the Linc Sunday. Maybe the Eagles pull off the upset, helping the fans to get in the right frame of mind for an ovation at the end. But odds are the team will walk off the field in defeat, dropping the Eagles to 4-11.

Given that the organization has not said anything about Reid’s job status, the fans need to make a small leap of faith to firmly conclude that Reid is gone, and then be inspired to show appreciation in the midst of their current disappointment. I believe there will be a smattering of applause, an effort by some to generate a moment, but I think the circumstances are such that the moment will fall flat.

Maybe it will feel different come Sunday. I’m anxious to see how it unfolds.

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