The long wait is over, Jeff Lurie and the Philadelphia Eagles have finally handed Andy Reid his walking papers. Some folks think this should have happened years ago, but I guess it’s better late than never.
You can count me among the homers that wanted to keep Reid around through this season. I just kept finding reasons to keep him after every season prior to this one. This was the time to finally do it, though.
I am appreciative for everything Reid has done here in Philly and I wish him only the best as he moves on to the next chapter in his life. In fact, soon I’ll be writing much more about him and what he did for the Eagles and their fans.
For now, though, I’m concentrating on the biggest offseason decision facing this franchise: Who will be the next head coach?
This is Lurie’s biggest decision since 1999 and one the will shape this organization for the foreseeable future. Does he try to go for a “win now” coach or someone who has a long term plan ala Reid in ’99?
About three weeks ago, I wrote about who my top two choices were to replace Reid, which you can view right here. I really like Denver OC Mike McCoy and Seattle DC Gus Bradley for reasons described in my previous article.
And, if you follow me on Twitter, you know that I’ve been beating the drum for Mike McCoy specifically (I think he has emerged as my top choice, period).
Under NFL rules, coaches whose teams are in the playoffs are allowed to interview for possible head coaching jobs during the bye week, if their team has a bye. Since the Broncos have a bye, McCoy is eligible to be interviewed this week and Bradley will have to wait until Seattle’s season is over.
As of this writing, there is no word on the Eagles lining up an interview with McCoy. It appears that Arizona and Chicago have scheduled interviews with him though, so if he is someone Lurie is considering, he better get on the stick!
Lurie stated that they will “leave no stone unturned” in the search for the next head coach. According to Geoff Mosher via Twitter, both Lurie and Eagles president Dan Smolenski have indicated that they were not going to get “caught up with big names” in regards to their coaching search.
Of course, this could be one the Eagles’ famous “smokescreens”, but at least it falls in line with my thinking anyway. If I had to choose, I would not want Jon Gruden or Billl Cowher or any “big name” like that.
Ideally, I want someone who is young and hungry, not a guy who lives off his past success and has been away from the game for a while.
There have been a few conflicting reports that the Eagles will be interviewing Atlanta OC Dirk Koetter. Hopefully, he’s not the guy they ultimately hire. I have nothing against him, I’m just not sure he’s the right guy.
Word is that Koetter apparently recruited Nick Foles in college, but I don’t think the two were together since Koetter left Arizona State after the 2006 season and Foles didn’t start there until 2009, so I’m not sure there’s any relevant relationship there.
Plus, Koetter was the OC in Jacksonville for five years before joining Atlanta last offseason. He had a good rushing attack with the Jags but never finished in the top 10 in passing offense. In the one season with Atlanta, he had Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez and Micheal Turner to work with…I think anyone could succeed with that talent.
I’m just not sold on him at this point. If the Eagles end up hiring him, I hope I can be convinced otherwise.
Chip Kelly is a name that is rumored to be on the Eagles’ radar and is a popular choice amongst some fans. I’d take Kelly over Koetter, but I’m still not sold on Kelly either.
Kelly has done extremely well in Oregon and from the things I’ve read about him, he seems like a solid coach. He’s organized, energetic and demands a lot from his players. He is also rumored to want full control over personnel decisions, which I view as a positive in the mindset of a prospective coach.
My hesitation with Kelly is how his offense will translate to the NFL level and whether or not he can (or will) make adaptations as necessary. From everything I’ve read, Kelly runs a spread, read-option offense that may be a mix of what the Patriots do and what the Redskins do (up-tempo/no huddle like the Pats, read-option like the ‘Skins).
One thing is certain, he likes to have athletic quarterbacks who can run the ball (to run the read-option ala RG3).
If Kelly comes in, he won’t be able to run his offense with Nick Foles. Foles can move around the pocket, but watching him run is like watching molasses flow downhill. So, would or could he adapt his offense around Foles or would we have to get a new QB?
Or, God forbid, would he want to keep Michael Vick? That style offense would suit Vick better than Foles, but I really don’t want to see Vick come back next year.
I wouldn’t hate the hiring of Kelly, but I wouldn’t love it either. He’d have to make me a believer.
Other college names mentioned as possible candidates for the Eagles are Penn State coach Bill O’Brien and Washington coach Steve Sarkisian. Other NFL candidates include Ben McAdoo (Packers QB coach), Greg Roman (49ers OC), Bruce Arians (Indy’s interim HC) and Jay Gruden (Bengals OC).
Other candidates that don’t get mentioned much in regards to the Eagles are Josh McDaniels and Kyle Shanahan. I find both of these guys interesting but both would come with question marks.
Out of those guys, Greg Roman is the most interesting to me. The main knock on him is experience and how big of a role he actually plays in the design and play-calling of San Fran’s offense.
I could also be enticed by Josh McDaniels, if only for the Bill Belichick “fails miserably at first attempt, but is wildly successful the second time around” angle.
After going through all of this, Lurie will probably hire someone that nobody has thought about. It could be some unknown assistant who has secretly done a good job for multiple years but gets overlooked.
Of all the guys I’ve mentioned, I still stand firm that Mike McCoy is the best option. I also like Gus Bradley a lot for what he’s done with Seattle’s defense over the past four years. Beyond those two guys, Chip Kelly would be my third choice.
Lurie has stated that it’s more important to find the right person rather than just finding someone as quickly as possible. I just hope he doesn’t miss out on some good candidates while he’s taking his time.
The next few days should be very interested as news of interviews comes out. Who’s your top choice?