Eagles may find market for NFL coaches competitive

A new coach for the Eagles would have to resign himself to working with ensconced GM Howie Roseman (left), conferring with coach Andy Reid.
A new coach for the Eagles would have to resign himself to working with ensconced GM Howie Roseman (left), conferring with coach Andy Reid. (DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff)
Posted: November 21, 2012

Forget about Andy Reid for a moment.

Yes, it's hard to wipe away his response Sunday that he kept ramming LeSean McCoy into the Redskins because he thought the Eagles had a chance at rallying from a 25-point deficit with less than two minutes remaining.

Now you use him?

But this isn't about Reid anymore. At some point on New Year's Eve - after a day without an Eagles miracle in the Meadowlands - Jeffrey Lurie will likely call his head coach of 14 years and relieve him of his duties.

While it will be a difficult personal decision to make, it will be an easy business one. The hard decision will be in selecting Reid's successor. And considering how his team has regressed to where it was in the dark ages of the late 1990s, the Eagles owner won't have the pick of the litter.

In fact, Lurie's team may be a less attractive landing spot for a head coach now than it was 14 years ago.

The Eagles don't appear to have a franchise quarterback. The roster is full of linemen on both sides - Mudders and Wide Niners    - who are only with the team because they fit into the scheme. They are about $17 million over the salary cap for 2013.

And the new coach will have to accept working with an ensconced general manager in Howie Roseman. Whether Roseman is the next coming of Ron Wolf or a law school-trained Matt Millen, no one can truly say. Reid has final say in football matters, although the draft - Roseman's baby - has been below average.

Roseman, though, has no hard record and any hotshot candidate would have to have some doubts. It is not clear if Lurie would require the new coach to answer to Roseman on personnel matters or if the 37-year-old GM would play the same role he has under Reid.

In 1999, when Lurie last looked for a head coach, he had director of football operations Tom Modrak and team president Joe Banner to aid him. The new coach would have to defer to Modrak in personnel matters and Banner when it came to contracts and the salary cap.

The Eagles were coming off two losing seasons under Ray Rhodes, including a 3-13 debacle in 1998. They also were without a franchise quarterback. They did have the No. 2 overall pick in a draft that many were calling quarterback-rich at the time.

Still, the Eagles were not a destination compared to some of the other teams in search of a coach at the time. Eight other teams hired new coaches that offseason: Seattle (Mike Holmgren), Green Bay (Rhodes), Carolina (George Seifert), Baltimore (Brian Billick), Chicago (Dick Jauron), Kansas City (Gunther Cunningham), Cleveland (Chris Palmer), and San Diego (Mike Riley).

The Eagles narrowed their choices down to Steelers defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and Reid, then the quarterbacks coach with the Packers. Holmgren had an interview scheduled with the Eagles, but he never left Seattle.

The Eagles were left to take an unproven assistant, not always the worst option if chosen wisely. Modrak wanted Haslett. Banner wanted Reid, as did Lurie, who made the final decision.

Of the coaches from the Class of '99, only Billick won a Super Bowl. Reid and Holmgren won NFC championships.

This offseason there could be up to a dozen vacancies - Carolina, Arizona, the New York Jets, Buffalo, Cleveland, Tennessee, Jacksonville, San Diego, Kansas City, Washington, Dallas, and the Eagles are strong possibilities - and maybe more.

Lurie will likely have more competition in his coaching search than he did 14 years ago. He could be up against Banner, who is now the CEO of the Browns.

It is likely that Lurie has thought that far ahead. But his decisions over the last year - retaining Reid, giving Roseman more authority, and letting Banner walk - have weakened his franchise.

The Eagles will probably end up with a top-10 pick, but there aren't likely any slam-dunk franchise quarterbacks like Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III in the 2013 draft. Michael Vick will be 33 next season and is not likely to be back because of his price tag and the salary-cap hit the Eagles will take to keep him. Nick Foles remains an unknown.

Lurie won the last time he was forced to take an unproven commodity. Can he, presumably with Roseman's input, do it again?


Contact Jeff McLane at jmclane@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @Jeff_McLane.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|