Eagles Wake-Up Call: On Lurie, Gase And Risk/Reward
I agree with Adam Schefter’s assessment that the Eagles have been weighing whether to take a shot on a potential rising star in Adam Gase or lean more towards the familiar by hiring a guy like Doug Pederson (or Pat Shurmur).
They clearly like Gase. He was their first out-of-house interview. Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman and Don Smolenski reportedly spent eight hours with him on Tuesday and scheduled a second sitdown for this weekend. All the signs are there that he is under serious consideration.
They have done their homework on the 37-year-old Michigan State grad and are spending as much time with him as possible to try and get an understanding for the way he’s wired and how he might mesh with the other personalities in power. But the reality is that there is no way to know for sure how someone will impact the dynamics inside the workplace until they are actually placed in the pond. It could be ecological harmony; it could be toxic.
The Eagles are particularly leery of the latter coming off the Chip Kelly experiment. They’re more focused than ever on finding someone that fits. That’s partly what makes candidates with Eagle/Andy Reid roots attractive: it removes a lot of the guesswork. Plug in Shurmur or Pederson, and you have a pretty good feel for how they will conduct themselves and how they’ll vibe with everyone in the building. Bring in an outsider, and there’s no way to be sure.
One thing I keep going back to, though, is Lurie’s commitment to being “risk-averse.” The idea of re-lighting the Reid candle might provide comfort, but I don’t think he’ll settle for comfort’s sake. If Pederson knocks it out of the park and is neck-and-neck with Gase, say, then sure, Lurie will lean towards what he knows. But if Gase proves to be the most impressive candidate, I think Lurie takes a deep breath and takes the plunge.
— Then there is the issue of whether the Eagles can land Gase if that proves to be their preferred path. He’s slated to meet with Miami today. The Dolphins apparently will try to lock him up before he leaves town. Assuming he does get out, Gase has an interview scheduled with the Giants Friday. He’s already met with the Browns and more suitors could emerge.
The Eagles job is an attractive one in several ways: the owner provides the necessary resources and does not meddle (angry speeches in the bowels of Gillette Stadium aside); it’s in a major market with an invested fan base, etc. But the franchise has been in better shape. The roster possesses some talent but is disjointed, built by an amateur architect currently on the streets. And the quarterback picture is blurry. A coach must sign on without knowing for certain whether Sam Bradford will be on the roster (barring a guarantee that the franchise tag will be applied if all else fails). So what is the next coach walking into, exactly?
How the Eagles stack up depends on who their competition turns out to be. Going head-to-head with the Giants would be tough. If Tampa or Tennessee (armed with Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, respectively) jumps in, that could be a problem. If it turns out to be between Miami, Cleveland and Philly, the Eagles have a real shot.
A lot of it comes down to preference, and maybe Gase is just as enamored with the Eagles as the brass seems to be with him. But we should at least allow for the fact that this is not the league’s top destination at the moment, meaning that it is no lock that they land their top choice.
WHAT YOU MISSED
We’ve compiled the coaching interview tracker to end all coaching trackers right here.
“Patience will be at a premium here.” What they’re saying about the Eagles.
Adam Schefter said Wednesday he believes the Eagles are highly interested in Gase.
Heading into a formative offseason, Eagles defenders are split on their scheme preferences.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
While Gase mania heats up, the Eagles should still be targeting a defensive-minded head coach, writes the Inquirer’s Bob Brookover.
Regardless of why it went so wrong for the defense, the Eagles have earned the reputation for being soft against the run, awful at tackling, and worse at defending against the pass. Other than that, everything is fine.
A new scheme, better coaching, and a different attitude is needed on defense, and that’s why the idea of hiring a defensive-minded head coach is not a bad one.
Nine of the last 15 coaches to win Super Bowls had defensive backgrounds. The majority of defensive-minded coaches prefer offenses that believe in running the football and controlling the clock. Seven of the top 10 teams in rushing attempts this season had coaches with defensive backgrounds and four of the top seven – Carolina, Seattle, Minnesota, and Cincinnati – are in the playoffs. All four teams held the ball an average of more than 30 minutes per game. The Eagles were the worst in the league in time of possession for the third straight season, and somewhere inside Sloppy Joe’s down in Key West, Fla., Chip Kelly is insisting it does not matter.
The Daily News asked its beat writers what direction the Eagles should take in their search. Les Bowen thinks NFL head coaching experience isn’t a necessity.
What former NFL head coaches would be in the running for the Eagles’ job, beyond Pat Shurmur, who already has been interviewed, and pie-in-the-sky targets John Harbaugh and Sean Payton? Looking to hire Tom Coughlin, are we?
Harbaugh and the Ravens have said Harbaugh isn’t leaving Baltimore. Payton’s situation is unclear, but nationally, no one seems to be linking him with the Eagles.
Chip Kelly didn’t fail because he lacked NFL head-coaching experience. He lacked any sort of NFL frame of reference whatsoever, as a player or an assistant coach. That might be something the Eagles think about more this time.
Coaching search rolls on. Ben McAdoo is expected to interview today.