Eagles Wake-Up Call: The Search Begins

Jeffrey Lurie. (Jeff Fusco)

Jeffrey Lurie. (Jeff Fusco)

When Jeffrey Lurie was asked why he fired Chip Kelly on a Tuesday night during Week 17, the first answer he gave had to do with getting a head start.

“I wanted to get a jump start on our head coaching search and I knew already what we were going to do,” the Eagles owner said. “I thought having six extra days was pretty important, because as you know, it’s a chaotic, rushed schedule when you’re looking for a head coach.”

Lurie wasn’t kidding.

Interviews have reportedly already been scheduled, and the Eagles will likely spend much more time today figuring out which candidates they will sit down with, and when they will do so. When the team hired Chip Kelly, the news broke 17 days after the 2012 regular season ended, so it’s reasonable to expect a decision within the next couple of weeks.

However, there are several rules in place that determine when you can interview a head coaching candidate. The Eagles have already talked to Duce Staley, and they plan to sit down with Pat Shurmur today. Because Chicago isn’t in the playoffs, Philadelphia is allowed — and has scheduled — an interview with Adam Gase for tomorrow.

In terms of the NFL calendar, we are now in wild card week, and will continue to be through the final game on Sunday, January 10. However, assistant coaches that have games this week are not allowed to be interviewed for a head coaching job. On the other hand, assistant coaches on playoff teams that have a first round bye are permitted to interview for head coaching positions through the conclusion of the wild card games.

Meanwhile, assistant coaches under contract to playoff teams that won their wild card games may be interviewed for head coaching positions through the conclusion of divisional playoff games. An assistant coach whose team is participating in the Super Bowl, and has previously interviewed for another club’s head coaching job, may have a second interview with that franchise no later than the Sunday preceding the Super Bowl.

What does all that mean? Candidates whose teams aren’t in the playoffs, such as Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and Giants offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo — who were linked to the Eagles last night — may be interviewed at any time.

Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula, Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels are allowed to be interviewed through Sunday’s games, but not during the divisional round of the playoffs.

But candidates such as Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson and Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson may not be interviewed until after wild card week is over. As for Sean Payton, the situation for head coaches under contract is trickier, but if New Orleans lets him out of it, that won’t matter. It’s unclear, however, what the Saints — and Payton — have planned for today.


Pat Shurmur will interview today and Adam Gase will interview tomorrow.

The Eagles could pursue Sean Payton, according to Paul Domowitch.

On DeMarco Murray’s big run, the Jordan MatthewsCris Carter story and more.

Jason Peters wasn’t very warm to the idea of him moving inside to guard.

“I hope he gets serious consideration.” Sam Bradford on Shurmur’s status in the Eagles coaching search.

Four Downs: How the Birds pulled off the win yesterday against the Giants.

Instant observations: What T-Mac saw in Philadelphia’s season finale.


The Eagles deviated from Chip Kelly’s normal offensive attack in their first game after he was fired, writes Dave Zangaro.

And with Kelly gone, on Sunday, the Eagles finally slowed things down in their 35-30 win over the New York Giants (see Instant Replay).

“I think it helped,” said quarterback Sam Bradford when asked if the slower tempo helped improve efficiency. “I think we really kind of got into a rhythm there, especially in the one drive in the fourth quarter. I think it just eliminated a lot of the negative plays you’ve seen this year. For the most part today, we were getting the right plays called against the right looks. I think that’s why we were able to be more consistent and more efficient today.”

Mike Sielski says Sam Bradford showed yesterday that he’s worth bringing back.

Once Bradford re-acclimated himself to the rigors and speed of a single NFL game and a full NFL season, once the Eagles’ bye week gave him a chance to refine his fundamentals, he became a quarterback capable of justifying the blockbuster trade Kelly made, and the big chance Kelly took, to bring him here. His excellent game Sunday – 30 for 38, 320 yards, two touchdowns, a fluky interception on a tipped pass – continued the upward arc his performances had been tracing since early November.

Over his final seven starts, Bradford completed 68.2 percent of his passes for 1,959 yards, 10 touchdowns, four interceptions, and a 97.2 passer rating – with a fraying offensive line, with receivers who treated the football as if it were a wet, well-used bar of Irish Spring.


We’ll talk to the players at 10 a.m.