Wake-Up Call: Will the Eagles Have To Settle?
The day after Jeffrey Lurie fired Chip Kelly on a Tuesday night with one game left in the season, the Eagles owner said he wanted to give his team an advantage over other franchises who would seek a new head coach.
“I wanted to get a jump start on our head coaching search and I knew already what we were going to do,” Lurie 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.”
From the outside looking in, however, it doesn’t appear that head start did the Eagles any good. Seventeen days removed from the Kelly firing, Lurie is down to four candidates whom the team confirmed they interviewed.
With Miami hiring Adam Gase and New York promoting Ben McAdoo, the only external interviewees left are Tom Coughlin and Doug Pederson. The Eagles also sat down with Pat Shurmur and Duce Staley.
Among the seven teams who have changed head coaches this offseason, three have made hires. Although the Eagles still have three other franchises to compete with in their search, only one candidate — Coughlin — has been interviewed by another team.
Philadelphia is also one of the few teams — at least from what’s publicly known — to not interview a coach with a defensive background. Detroit’s Teryl Austin has interviewed with three teams, Carolina’s Sean McDermott has interviewed with two teams and New England’s Matt Patricia has interviewed with one team.
“I’ve looked carefully at coaches around the league and where they come from, and I don’t think there’s any clear evidence of offense over defense or defense over offense,” Lurie said in December. “It comes down to the leadership ability with today’s athlete and today’s world. It’s different than it was a long time ago. I don’t treat offense or defense differently.”
The candidate who has interviewed with the most teams (four) — but not the Eagles — is Jaguars Offensive Line Coach Doug Marrone. Philadelphia interviewed Marrone, who went 15-17 in his only two seasons as a head coach in Buffalo, in 2013 before the Bills hired him.
Former Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith, Buccaneers Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter, and Bills Running Backs Coach Anthony Lynn are also available candidates who have been interviewed by multiple teams. Perhaps the best candidate the Eagles didn’t sit down with was Hue Jackson, who is now the Browns Head Coach.
The MMQB’s Robert Klemko, with the help of current and former NFL front-office leaders, compiled a list of the 10 best head coaching candidates two weeks ago. Jackson, who was ranked No. 1, may have been viewed by the Eagles as a bad fit because of the personnel power he reportedly sought. McDermott, who was ranked No. 2, reportedly had his differences with Howie Roseman when he was in Philadelphia.
However, Lurie has shown in the past that he’ll select coaches who aren’t the biggest names. But as the days elapse without a hiring, the question becomes: how many options do the Eagles have left, and will they have to settle for someone who wasn’t initially high on their list?
WHAT YOU MISSED
With Ben McAdoo off the board, an updated master list of the Eagles’ coaching candidates.
Doug Pederson says the Eagles ‘have stopped all their interviews.’ The latest on his front.
On McAdoo and his track record, from Green Bay’s tight ends to Eli Manning‘s success.
Adam Schefter said McAdoo seemed to be a front-runner for the Eagles job.
A collection from around the internet of what they’re saying about Pederson.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Brian Dawkins doesn’t understand why the Eagles have yet to interview Sean McDermott for the head coaching job, writes Rob Tornoe.
Last week, the Panthers defensive coordinator went on 97.5 The Fanatic and hinted that he love to return to Philadelphia to fill the Eagles’ job, but so far the team hasn’t shown enough interest to bring him in for an interview.
On Tuesday, former Eagles defensive star Brian Dawkins, who played for McDermott when he was the team’s defensive backs coach, couldn’t understand why the team wouldn’t be interested in interviewing him.
“I’m a little surprised that they haven’t at least had a conversation with [McDermott] to see what his plans would be going forward,” Dawkins said to Fanatic host Mike Missanelli.
Hiring a good head coach will only solve one part of the Eagles’ myriad problems, says David Murphy.
In Minnesota, [Mike] Zimmer‘s transition was aided by the work of GM Rick Spielman, hired in 2006. Minnesota amassed a remarkable seven first-round picks from 2012-14, which they used to draft safety Harrison Smith, cornerback Xavier Rhodes, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and linebacker Anthony Barr, all of whom were starters this year (along with 2015 second-round linebacker Eric Kendricks). Zimmer signed tackles Linval Joseph and Tom Johnson and added them to Floyd to build a middle like the one he had in Cincinnati with Geno Atkins and Domata Peko.
If the Eagles end up with a coach such as [Doug] Pederson, or even [Tom] Coughlin, his success or failure will very likely hinge on his initial appraisal of the Eagles’ defensive personnel and his hiring of a coordinator who can maximize the talents of that personnel. It also likely will hinge on the performance of the front office that hires him. And that will require a sudden dose of self-awareness.
We’ll continue to have you covered on the Eagles’ coaching search.