I’m still working on the DGR. The hot topic with Eagles fans is what will happen with the coaching situation. As I’ve written, I just don’t see any realistic way Andy Reid returns. With that in mind, here is a quick list of guys I’m checking out. I haven’t come close to making up my mind, but you guys want to know some names so here goes.
I’ve broken the candidates down into categories. I’m also listing a quick note or two with each guy. This is very simplistic, but it’s what I can offer for now.
* * * The coaches are listed alphabetically, not in order of preference. * * *
Top 5 Guys who have already been an NFL coach
Caldwell has been HC in college and pros. Worked with Peyton Manning for years. Background is with QBs. Downside is that he might not be the guy to jump start an organization.
Gilbride was bad in San Diego as the head man, but has been a terrific assistant for the Giants. Has done wonders with their passing attack and developing WRs.
Linehan has had success with 3 young QBs – Culpepper, Bulger, and Stafford. Downside is that he’s not had great rushing attacks. Is that him or lack of talented RBs?
Nolan has an incredible background. Top 10 defenses at multiple stops. Son of an NFL HC. Started the rebuilding in SF, but could not get the offense to develop. Never had winning record.
Spags built a strong reputation by what he did with the 2007-08 Giants defense. Went to the Rams and struggled mightily, but was hurt by the loss of Pat Shurmur after 2010 season.
Top 5 Offensive Coordinators
Pete Carmichael – Saints
Jay Gruden – Bengals
Dirk Koetter – Falcons
Mike McCoy – Broncos
Greg Roman – Niners
Carmichael is part of an offensive machine in New Orleans, but how much is him vs Peyton and Brees? Dad was a football coach and Carmichael has a good background. Is he ready?
Gruden is the younger broth of Jon and the son of an NFL scout. Great success as player and coach in the Arena League. Has done a terrific job developing Andy Dalton in the last 2 years.
Koetter was head coach at Boise and Arizona State. Has been OC for Jacksonville and Atlanta i the NFL with mixed success. Worked with Andy Reid at 3 stops in college. Oddly, Koetter was the big dog then. He was the OC, Reid just the OL coach.
McCoy had success with Jake Delhomme in Carolina. He’s worked with Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow, and Peyton Manning in Denver. McCoy has been able to adapt to the different players and their skill sets. Former QB himself. Has never been part of a great offense. Does like the running game.
Roman worked under Dom Capers at a couple of stops. He then ended up at Stanford with Jim Harbaugh. Roman followed him to the NFL and has done a great job with the running game out there. It is very creative and not just straight ahead power football. Roman has also had success working with young QB Colin Kaepernick. In the past he worked with less mobile guys so he isn’t tied to one type of player.
Top 5 Defensive Coordinators
Gus Bradley – Seahawks
Perry Fewell – Giants
Vic Fangio – Niners
Ray Horton – Cardinals
Mike Zimmer – Bengals
Bradley was the LB coach in Tampa in 2007-08. Monte Kiffin is a big supporter of his. Bradley worked for a year as DC under Jim Mora and then Pete Carroll kept him as DC when he took over. That’s a highly unusual move and speaks well of Gus. Extensive college background as well.
Fewell has a great reputation, but his track record is more mediocre than you’d think. He’s never had a defense finish Top 10 in points and yards in the same season. I’m interested because his players play hard and they respond to him. He has finished Top 5 in takeaways for 4 straight years (BUF, 3 with NYG). Did win a ring last year.
Fangio is a tough case. Dom Capers disciple. Has had a few good years, but also plenty of bad ones. Found a home working under Jim Harbaugh. Guided Stanford to 11th ranked scoring defense in 2010. Has posted great numbers in SF, in points, yards, and takeaways. Not sure I see him as HC material, but has been really good for last 3 years.
Horton has been the DC in Arizona for 2 years. Terrific background as positional assistant prior to that. I think he’s a bit overrated and not ready for HC spot.
Zimmer had success at Dallas and Cincy. #1 defense in 2003. Top 10 unit the last couple of years. Very good with players. More than an X’s and O’s guy. Has done well with troubled guys in Cincy. Isn’t necessarily media savvy and that could be an issue in Philly. Is he just a terrific DC or HC material? Has been part of dysfunctional organizations. Did spend 4 years working for Bill Parcells.
Top 3 Misc Candidates
Bruce Arians – OC/interim HC of Colts
Winston Moss – LBs/Asst HC of Packers
Dave Toub – STs with Bears
Arians was the OC for the Steelers for several years and had good success there. Has done very well with Andrew Luck. Has done an amazing job with the Colts this year while replacing Chuck Pagano. That is good, but can be deceiving. Soft schedule + emotional bond for players can lead to success that gives you a false positive.
Moss has been rumored as a HC candidate for a couple of years. Good positional assistant and a coach that Mike McCarthy sees as a key leader inside the organization.
Toub is a Reid protege that has built great STs units in Chicago for years. He can coach. He can lead. Is he HC material?
Top 5 College Coaches
Chip Kelly – Oregon
Doug Marrone – Syracuse
Bill O’Brien – Penn State
Chris Petersen – Boise State
David Shaw – Stanford
Kelly is a dynamic college coach. His teams have been explosive on offense and highly successful. He is very aggressive and innovative, yet his offense is based on running the ball. Kelly has no NFL experience and there are questions about exactly how he’d adjust his offense for the NFL. I think he’s smart enough to do that and not need a Michel Vick type of athlete to run it, but that’s strictly a guess.
Marrone worked for the Saints under Payton before heading to his alma mater to take over. He’s done well at Syracuse after taking over for the disastrous Greg Robinson. Marrone’s background is largely on the OL, but he was the OC under Sean Payton for 3 years with the Saints. Played in the NFL and coached there for 7 years.
O’Brien did a great job with running the PSU program this year. The team went 8-4. He turned the offense from 110th in scoring to 66th. It was 54th in yards. O’Brien has an excellent college background and worked well with Tom Brady and the Patriots offense for a couple of years. The downside is that he’s a Belichick assistant and those guys have really struggled away from New England. Also, it wouldn’t look great if O’Brien walked out on PSU after just one season. He does have a son who has serious medical issues.
Petersen has done a phenomenal job at Boise. He’s shown no desire to leave, but he’s worth talking to. He’s hired great assistants year after year (because he keeps losing them to promotions). Petersen is a gifted offensive mind and knows how to teach. Could he handle the pressure of the NFL?
Shaw has an extensive NFL background, including time with the Eagles. That was under Jon Gruden in the 90s. Shaw’s dad was an NFL coach so he was raised in a pro atmosphere. He replaced Harbaugh at Stanford when Jim left for the Niners. Shaw is a Stanford grad and many feel that is his dream job and he won’t want to leave.
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Guys I Don’t Like
* Jon Gruden – gifted coach, but he’s the NFL’s version of Larry Brown. Always tinkers with the roster. Doesn’t develop young talent.
* Mike Holmgren – just seems like he may have burned out on the game. Lots of questionable moves in CLE.
* Josh McDaniels – started 6-0 with Denver and then went 5-17 the rest of the way before being fired. A little too dictatorial for my taste while out there. Went to Rams as OC in 2011 and the offense was horrible. Sam Bradford regressed under him. Josh is great with Tom Brady, but I’m not sold on him. Might be good in college.
* Kyle Shanahan – has posted good numbers while the OC in Houston and Washington, but was working under Gary Kubiak and his dad. I don’t trust that. Would like to see him on his own before considering him.
* Darrell Bevell – interesting OC background and some stuff to like, but track record with young QBs makes me nervous. Russell Wilson has just 33o passing attempts. He’s had a good season, but hasn’t thrown more than 37 passes in a game. I just don’t know if you can win in the NFL like this. Bevell did a lot of the same stuff in MIN when they ran a conservative attack.
* Jim Tomsula – Great DL coach for the Niners. Very few DL coaches become successful HCs. Buddy Ryan was one, but even Buddy couldn’t win in the postseason. You’re much better off with LB and DB coaches.
* Nick Saban – Another Belichick assistant. Thrived in college, not so much in the NFL. I’d be nervous about him. He was quick to jump ship in Miami. Seems to prefer the college game.
* Brian Kelly – Odd person to figure. Has done a great job this year, but was up and down previous 2 years. Great at Cincy, but that was when the Big East was down. Not sure what to make of that. Did a great job at Grand Valley State. Big negative is how he treats players and assistants. Kelly is a big time screamer. That won’t fly in the NFL. I’m interested in him, but would be scared of him as well.
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I may find others to add to the lists, but these are the key guys that I’m focused on.