McNabb: Eagles 'just grabbing names out of a hat'

Posted: January 05, 2013

The Eagles would be smart to hire a defensive-minded coach and not Oregon's Chip Kelly, former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb said Thursday.

He denied hearing from Andy Reid about possibly being a quarterback in Kansas City, where the fired Eagles coach is widely expected to be hired, perhaps today.

The current tour of Eagles brass to interview head-coaching candidates "seems like you're just grabbing names out of a hat," the NFL Network analyst said on Comcast SportsNet's Daily News Live.

It would be "a bad move to bring Chip Kelly here," he said, referring to the innovative University of Oregon coach, who is also being wooed by the Cleveland Browns.

"I would say the next move now is to move to a defensive-minded coach," McNabb said. "Have someone come in here and get these guys disciplined, understanding what they have to do, being gap sound, being in the right position at all times, and then bring in an offensive guru, someone who can run the offense and run it effectively."

He mentioned fired Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith and Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton, but suspected they'd be invited to meet with the Eagles only to satisfy league minority-interview requirements.

"I don't see that happening. They'll bring them in for the Rooney rule, but they won't hire them," he said.

He touted Mike Nolan, defensive coordinator with the Atlanta Falcons, one of the first candidates the Eagles interviewed.

"Everywhere he's been, his defense has played well," McNabb said, though acknowledging that Nolan "hasn't had success as a head coach."

McNabb also said the Chicago job looks like the best opportunity among the seven NFL head coaching vacancies, because the Bears have an established quarterback in Jay Cutler. Arizona, because its division has been historically weak, would be another top choice.

The Eagles, hurt by high-priced players possibly forcing roster moves, would be third, McNabb said.

Asked if he had been contacted by Reid about playing quarterback again, McNabb said, "I have not."

Although he joked that "5 is available ... everywhere," he may have meant his old number, not himself as a player.

"I'm focusing on perfecting what I'm doing right now, and that's working with NFL Network, the Playbook," an analysis show. "We'll see what happens."

He laughed when asked if he had yet filed his retirement papers, then admitted the only reason to come back would be to try to win a Super Bowl - not to mentor a young quarterback, or be a "scapegoat" again.

"That is not a smart decision of just kind of going to a ballclub just because everyone is coming back together and then they end up drafting a guy ... and things don't work out well and now the chips all fall on you."

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or