Eagles should use their clout to find a coach

Posted: January 04, 2013

AS EACH DAY passes, a new name will be added to the list. And while that might give us a ton of things to write and talk about, I'm not sure how productive it will be in moving the Eagles toward a replacement for Andy Reid.

On Wednesday, a report said the Eagles are interested in Syracuse coach Doug Marrone, along with fellow college coaches Chip Kelly of Oregon and Bill O'Brien of Penn State.

If that's the case then they might as well fly Stanford coach David Shaw to South Philadelphia. Shaw beat Kelly head-to-head to cement the Pac-12 Conference championship and then guided the eighth-ranked Cardinal to a victory in the Rose Bowl. Shaw arguably had a better season than any of them.

For their part, the Eagles only have confirmed that they have interviews set up with three assistants from the Atlanta Falcons - offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and special-teams coordinator Keith Armstrong. But, there are reports that the Eagles are going to interview Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. And Koetter signed a contract extension Wednesday, so he is out of the picture.

The point is, the longer this drags the more names that will be added to the list of potential candidates.

The Eagles need to do their due diligence to find the right guy, but this doesn't need to be a dragged-out, leave-no-stone-unturned process.

There doesn't need to be a long carousel of candidates rolling into, and out of, the NovaCare Complex. Most of that is just for show, to make it seem like the team is exploring all possibilities.

Most of the names being bandied about are just names. Most will have as much chance of getting the job as Reid does of getting rehired by the Eagles.

Even before the official pink slip, Reid had been fired for the better part of 3 months.

It is likely, and honestly it should be expected, that Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, president Dan Smolenski and general manager Howie Roseman have already ranked a list of replacements.

If the Eagles, knowing the pending demise of the Reid era, haven't already whittled their list to three or four candidates, they have wasted a lot of time.

The Eagles hired Reid on Jan. 11, 1999, 2 weeks after the 1998 regular season ended on Dec. 28.

Unless the Eagles' primary target is an assistant coach on a team that advances to the Super Bowl, I don't see why this decision can't be wrapped up in a similar time frame.

NFL rules allow the Eagles to interview assistants from any of the four teams - Denver, New England, Atlanta and San Francisco - with first-round byes this week.

They'll be able to interview other assistants as teams are eliminated. Therefore, unless four teams from the wild-card round advance to the conference championship games on Jan. 20, the Eagles should have an opportunity to interview just about anybody they want over the next 2 weeks.

This is more about deciding which candidate you don't want to be your coach, not who you do. The presumption is that you won't waste time interviewing anyone you can't see getting the job.

The Eagles already know the parameters they want in their next head coach. But they are not operating in a vacuum. There must be some sense of urgency because six other NFL teams are also searching for new head coaches. Most are eyeing the same guys the Birds are considering.

Whoever the Eagles are targeting, they need to get to him before another team gets a chance to whisper in his ear.

The Eagles' fan base and the market make this too good of a job for the team to end up in a situation where they keep settling for the next guy as coaches come off the board.

This is not a time for twiddling thumbs or playing games.

It's a safe bet that the Eagles have a good idea of exactly what they want to pay, and how much control and power they are going to give to each candidate on their list.

Some advice for the Eagles:

Start with your best offer and treat the job like it actually is the "gold standard" you brag about.

If a guy wants to talk to another team to see what it has to offer and then use that info to negotiate against you, move on to your next guy.

History shows that you won't know if the guy you hire is going to be the next Andy Reid or the next Rich Kotite until the course is run. In the long run a McCoy might end up being a better NFL coach than a Kelly or an O'Brien.

Personally, I'd take one prime directive into every interview - the guy has to want to coach the Philadelphia Eagles as much as I want him to be the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.

If the Eagles keep that in mind, this doesn't have to be a complicated process.


Email: smallwj@phillynews.com

Columns: philly.com/Smallwood

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