Eagles Wake-Up Call: Coaching Candidates



The Eagles are in the process of putting together their list of head coaching candidates. Soon interview requests will be sent out, and the triumvirate of  Jeffrey Lurie, Don Smolenski and Howie Roseman will embark on a whirlwind search for the second time in three years.

Lurie outlined some of the qualities they will be looking for in Chip Kelly‘s replacement.

“No. 1, a smart strategic thinker. That’s a given. You’ve got to be looking out for the short-term, mid-term and long-term interests of the franchise,” said Lurie. “Looking for somebody who interacts very well and communicates clearly with everybody he works with and comes in touch with. Understands the passion of our fans and what it’s like to coach the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s a unique and incredibly passionate fan base that just wants to win, and you’ve got to incorporate that in your life and in your heart and you’ve got to be willing to do that.

“And another thing is attention to detail. I think all good coaches have tremendous attention to detail in this league. Lastly is you’ve got to open your heart to players and everybody you want to achieve peak performance. I would call it — I would call it a style of leadership that values information, all the resources that are provided, and at the same time, values emotional intelligence.”

To boil that down: a sharp, conscientious and detail-oriented leader that connects with his players, the organization and this fan base.

Who might fit the bill? We’ll be looking at that in depth over the coming days, but here’s a quick overview of some of the popular names:

Josh McDaniels
Offensive coordinator, Patriots
Age: 39
Quick thought: Some time has passed since his rough go as head coach of the Broncos, and McDaniels appears to be in position to land a head coaching gig thanks to his quality work in New England over the last several sesaons. Albert Breer notes that he will be “very selective about his next shot” and will “prioritize being alongside the right personnel man and the right owner.” Would he find this structure desirable? There are some questions about whether he would be a personality fit in this market as well.

Sean Payton
Head coach, New Orleans Saints
Age: 52
Quick thought: An accomplished coach with ties to the Eagles (he was their quarterbacks coach in a former life) who could hit the market depending on how everything shakes out in New Orleans. He enjoys plenty of personnel sway with the Saints; not sure he would be content within the Eagles current set-up.

Hue Jackson
Offensive coordinator, Bengals
Age: 50
Quick thought: Jackson got a bit of a raw deal in Oakland, where he was fired after one season as head coach (in which he went 8-8) as new GM Reggie McKenzie came in and cleaned house. The 15-year NFL vet has done fine work (with Andy Dalton in particular) since becoming Cincinnati’s offensive coordinator in 2014. Seems reasonable that the Eagles would take a look.

Sean McDermott
Defensive coordinator, Carolina Panthers
Quick thought: Appears to check several boxes. The La Salle College High School grad and longtime Eagles assistant certainly knows what the city and this organization is all about. He apparently enjoys a good relationship with Lurie. And while his failed stint as defensive coordinator in Philly might give this fan base some pause, the Jim Johnson disciple appears to have come into his own in the years since. Would be surprised if he is not in consideration.

Mike Shula
Offensive coordinator, Carolina Panthers
Age: 50
Quick thought:Shula has done some fine work of his own on the offensive side of the ball for Carolina, especially as it applies to Cam Newton. Maybe worth a look.

Adam Gase
Offensive coordinator, Chicago Bears
Age: 37
Quick thought: His name has been in heavy rotation around the league over the last couple weeks despite being part of a 6-9 Bears staff. His work with Jay Cutler  (and Peyton Manning before him) has kept him relevant despite the Bears’ less-than-dazzling season. Jimmy Kempski wrote more on him here.

Teryl Austin
Defensive coordinator, Detroit Lions
Age: 50
Quick thought: Could be a tough sell given that Austin is part of a 6-9 Lions club and oversees a defense that is ranked 17th in yards per game and 25th in points per game. But he’s been on three staffs that have reached Super Bowl heights as a defensive backs coach (Arizona, Baltimore, Seattle), appears to have a presence about him and apparently interviews well. No harm in taking a deeper look.

Jon Gruden
TV analyst
Age: 52
Quick thought: Not expected to return to the coaching circuit.

Bill Cowher
TV analyst
Age: 58
Quick thought: Ditto.


“I think a lot of it depends on who they hire as a head coach.” Sam Bradford looks ahead.

Lane Johnson thinks Kelly had a hard time communicating with his players.

The Eagles have already started their coaching search. Lurie is looking for leadership.

“The end result was mediocrity.” Lurie talks why Kelly’s third year was his last.

Lurie explained the Eagles’ new power structure, which features Roseman.

Taking a look at the numbers behind the Chip Kelly era, and why the end of the road arrived.

With Kelly gone, the Eagles’ organization theoretically loses more than just a head coach.


No matter what Kelly did wrong, writes the Inquirer’s Mike Sielski, it was Lurie who brought this on himself.

Regardless of the reasons he “released” Kelly from the Eagles, regardless of how terribly this season went on the field or what Kelly said or did off it, Jeffrey Lurie brought this entire embarrassment upon himself, from beginning to end.

He pursued Kelly in 2013, failed to get him, pounced when Kelly had a change of heart and mind, handed Kelly control of the Eagles roster a year ago, and bounced him onto Broad Street after the team practiced Tuesday. That time line doesn’t paint a picture of sober, patient leadership atop the franchise – a picture that was easy for Lurie to paint as long as Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb were around. No, it suggests impetuousness, impatience, and a failure to take the proper measure of Kelly as a man, a coach, and a decision-maker.

Reuben Frank  is not a fan of the current front-office structure.

The Eagles’ personnel department is now in the hands of Howie Roseman, who drafted Danny Watkins and Marcus Smith in the first round, and Tom Donahoe, who last was associated with a team that won a playoff game in 1997.

Good luck with that.

You don’t want to be too negative. You don’t want to sit here a day after Chip Kelly’s firing and predict doom and gloom. You don’t want to abandon hope.

But I don’t see how a front office restructure where Roseman and Donahue wind up in charge is a recipe for long-term success for the Philadelphia Eagles.


Pat Shurmur‘s first press conference as interim head coach will begin at 11:45.