Final Coaching Breakdown

Posted: January 4th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 54 Comments »

I’ve written a lot about Chip Kelly, here & here. I wrote about the Falcons coaches the other day. Let’s now take a look at some other candidates. I won’t cover these guys as extensively since these guys are better known. There is less mystery with them.

First, let’s talk about Bill O’Brien for a minute. On Thursday night he agreed to a new deal with Penn State. The Eagles did meet with O’Brien on Thursday. We don’t know how badly they wanted him. We don’t know how serious O’Brien was about leaving. Apparently he got a raise for himself and his staff. He also got more control regarding the athletic department. We’ll have to wait and see what all this means. With O’Brien out, that removes a candidate that several teams were interested in.

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MIKE MCCOY – There is a lot to like about McCoy, the OC for the Denver Broncos. Most people point to the fact that he’s done good work with a variety of QBs. McCoy has gotten good production from Jake Delhomme, Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow (to a lesser extent), and Eli’s brother. It says a lot when you can coach that collection of guys and make it work. Going from Tebow to Peyton is like jumping from a Model-T to the friggin’ space shuttle.    

McCoy is young (40). He played QB at Utah and tried to make a go of it in the NFL, but wasn’t good enough. He was with the Eagles in the 1998 Training Camp. I attended that TC for a couple of days, but don’t recall him so much as Bobby Hoying’s incomplete swing passes to Duce Staley’s feet. He played in NFL Europe and the CFL.

McCoy gave that up after 1999 and in 2000 joined George Siefert’s staff with the Panthers. McCoy worked his way up the coaching ladder, working with WRs, then QBs, and then becoming the passing game coordinator. McCoy started with Siefert, but remained in place when John Fox took over the team in 2002. McCoy left for Denver to work under Josh McDaniels in 2009. He was there for 2 years when Fox became the HC of the Broncos. Fox kept McCoy as the OC.

I would prefer that McCoy have some experience in college, but the time in NFL Eurorpe and the CFL helps. You want coaches to have some background in a place with “lesser” players. There is more teaching in those environments. Talent doesn’t rule the day.

I do like the fact that McCoy spent most of his time learning under John Fox. Offensive coaches that spend time under a defensive head coach seem to have a more well-rounded approach to the game. Sean Payton spent time under Bill Parcells. Mike McCarthy spent time under Marty Schottenheimer, Tom Coughlin was under Parcells, and Jim Harbaugh was heavily influenced by his college coach, Bo Schembechler, who had a defensive background.

One thing I love about McCoy is that he was part of the Panthers staff that did a great job with 2 RBs (Jonathan Stewart, Deangelo Williams). The Eagles have a pair of very talented runners in McCoy, Brown. You need to find a way to use them both. McCoy has also played and coached in a variety of systems. He is open-minded and has been able to adjust the offense to the personnel he has to work with. Getting Tebow into the playoffs and actually winning a game was a miracle, even if most of that was on the defense and STs.

While I like McCoy’s adaptability, I am concerned by the question of exactly what does he believe in. McCoy can’t really point to one thing and say “That’s me”. You would need to find out this kind of stuff from him in an interview. What are his specific beliefs? What is his offensive philosophy? McCoy hasn’t had full control of an offense until the last 2 years and running an offense with Tebow and Manning doesn’t tell us much. You can’t go right with Tebow, nor wrong with Manning.

It is interesting to note that Denver led the league in rushing in 2011. McCoy knew that Tebow couldn’t be a normal passing QB and adjusted the offense. The team only finished 23rd in yards and 25th in points, but compare that to the 2012 Eagles. They finished 15th in yards and 29th in points. McCoy got the most out of what he had to work with and did help the team win a playoff game. This year the Broncos are 4th in yards and 2nd in scoring. Even with the great Peyton Manning at the helm, Denver is just 10th in pass attempts. They are 9th in rushing attempts. McCoy might have a Hall of Fame QB, but he knows Manning’s injury situation and isn’t over-using him. Simple, but smart. One of Andy’s big faults was over-thinking things and not going with the simple/smart approach more often.

McCoy is a terrific assistant coach. I do have concerns on whether he is ready to be the HC. He seems to be very much a consensus guy. He likes to talk to other coaches on the staff and put ideas together. This is great at times, but the HC must be someone with a singular vision and style of doing business. He listens to others when they have ideas, but the coach must lead from a position of authority. I’m curious if McCoy can do that. I’m making judgments from watching interviews and reading articles. Clearly you’re much better off meeting him in person and discussing these matters. Could be that McCoy will be very different if/when he’s the head honcho.

I won’t object if the Eagles hire McCoy, but the interview would be crucial in determining that he was in fact ready to lead an organization. Andy Reid had never been a head coach or coordinator for a major college or NFL team, but he showed in his interview that he got the big picture and was the man to lead the Eagles. McCoy could do the same thing.

JAY GRUDEN – The son of longtime scout Jim Gruden and younger brother of Jon. Coming from a football thing is a very good thing. Jay understands the commitment that football requires and what it takes to be successful.

Jay had a strange path to becoming a successful OC for the Bengals. He was a QB at Louisville and still ranks highly in some career categories. The team finished 8-3 in his Senior season. While he was a good college player, Jay didn’t have NFL talent. The Arena League was his home for more than a decade. Jay won the league title 4 times as a player and was league MVP once.

Jay moved to the coaching side of things in 1997 and stuck with that through 2001. In 2002 Jon became the coach of the Bucs and Jay joined his staff. Jay also went back to being a QB in the AFL (seasons don’t overlap). That lasted for a couple of years before he moved back to being an AFL head coach and NFL assistant. Jon was fired after 2008. Jay got a job in the UFL and was there for 2009-2010.

In 2011 the Bengals hired Jay to be their OC. The offense had been very good in the glory days of Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson, TJ Houshmandzadeh, and Rudi Johnson, but slumped badly as that group aged and or left. From 2008-2010 the offense was 20th or worse in yards and in points. Marvin Lewis hoped that Gruden could bring a more attacking style of play and some fresh ideas to the team.

Cincy’s offense finished 20th in yards and 18th in points, but did so with a rookie QB and rookie WR as the key players. This season the Bengals finished 22nd in yards, but all the way up at 12th in points. Stats aside, the Bengals had 2 winning seasons in the 20 years prior to 2011. With Gruden as the OC, the team has won both years and made the playoffs both times.

The strongest selling point for Gruden is Andy Dalton. The young QB was taken in the 2nd round and has developed into a solid starter. His rating is in the 80s for both years. He is 19-13 as a starter. He has 47 TDs and 29 INTs. Dalton doesn’t look like an elite player, but looks like he can be a good NFL starter for years to come. Developing rookie QBs is hugely important in today’s NFL.

Gruden was somewhat conservative in 2011 since Dalton was a rookie, but Jay was more able to open up the playbook this year. WR Mohamed Sanu threw a 73-yd TD pass vs the Skins. WRs accounted for 14 carries this year, not counting Sanu. He played QB in some sets and finished the season with 5 carries of his own. Stud WR AJ Green has blossomed into arguably the best receiver in the AFC. Former CFL’er Andrew Hawkins emerged as a threat in the slot. RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis had a career high 1,094 rushing yards. For an offense with so many new/young players, the Bengals had a good year.

I love the fact that Jay was a head coach in the AFL and UFL. Those are leagues where the coach must be very hands on and do a ton of stuff. You can learn a lot. You’re also working with less than great players and that means that you must be creative and do a good job of coaching, communicating, and motivating.

Jay was able to be on a good Bucs staff. I’m sure he learned a lot from Jon, but also Monte Kiffin, OL coach Bill Muir, QB coach Stan Parrish (Tom Brady’s QB coach at Michigan), Gus Bradley, Rod Marinelli, Mike Tomlin, and Raheem Morris. That’s a lot of guys who are either experts at what they do or went on to become head coaches in the NFL.

I think it is fair to question Gruden’s background in the sense that he’s not been part of a great team/organization. Andy Reid came to Philly from the Packers, who never had a losing season while he was there. They won a SB and lost a SB. Reid saw greatness. Jay Gruden was a small part of the 2002 Bucs, but Tampa only had consecutive winning seasons once in the Gruden era.

Is Jay ready to lead an organization? He might be, but the interview would be crucial here. His track record is impressive in an unconventional way. You need to meet with him and come away feeling that he’s got the leadership skills to run an NFL team on his own.

BRUCE ARIANS – Arians is a hot name right now. Should the Eagles have interest? Maybe.

I’m hesitant to fully buy in. Arians has done a great job, but there are several reasons to be very cautious with him. The Colts are 11-5, but aren’t really a good team. They basically throw the ball well and that’s about it. You’d love to give Arians a ton of credit, but he’s working with a special player in Andrew Luck. This isn’t Christian Ponder or Jake Locker we’re talking about.

The team has played a soft schedule and beaten a bunch of crappy teams (BUF, JAX, KC, CLE, TEN-2, etc.). I give the Colts credit for winning, but let’s not mistake that for them being a good football team.

Arians has been a gameday coach, but didn’t have to do the offseason stuff that can often make a team so successful. Chuck Pagano is the one who hired the staff. He worked with Ryan Grigson to figure out who to sign and draft. The coaching that takes place from August to December in some ways is the easy part. That’s just football.

The Colts do have a special vibe this year that seems to help them. Arians would not have that in a future job. Win one for Chuck would not be an effective rallying cry for the 2013 Eagles. Over the years we’ve seen interim coaches have success. Jason Garrett took over Dallas in 2010 when the team was 1-7. They were 5-3 for him. Since then, the Boys are 16-15. In college, I’ve seen a coach leave for a job and one of his assistants has coached the team through the bowl. That assistant does well and gets the full time job, only to be a disastrous hire.

As for Bruce’s track record…he was the Steelers WR coach when they won the SB in 2005. Bruce was the OC when they won in 2008 and lost in 2010. He was the OC for Butch Davis in Cleveland from 2001-03. He was the OC at Alabama in 1997 and the head coach at Temple from 1983-88. You can’t exactly call Arians an offensive guru, but he is a good football coach with a good offensive mind.

Bruce Arians is 60 years old. Coaches age like dogs when running an NFL team. What kind of a toll would that take on him? I hope Bruce does get a job and proves me wrong, but I would not hire him. Too many things about him make me nervous.

GREG ROMAN – I like Greg Roman quite a bit, but for some odd reason he is getting almost no interest. The Niners have a bye week, but no one is meeting with him. I don’t understand what’s going on here. My best guess is that teams perceive Roman to be riding the coattails of Jim Harbaugh.

Roman and Harbaugh worked together at Stanford and SF. They are running Harbaugh’s system, but Roman is responsible for the creative blocking on many of the run plays. His background is with the OL and he’s helped Harbaugh to put the system together.

The system worked at Stanford when the offense was built around RB Toby Gerhart and then QB Andrew Luck. It works at Stanford now, despite the lack of great skill players. The system has worked for the Niners. Willie Taggart was the RB coach at Stanford and took the system to Western Kentucky and led them to consecutive winning seasons. This is more than Jim Harbaugh.

Roman has a very interesting background. I won’t get into too much detail since he seems like a major longshot as of now. In some ways he feels a lot like Andy Reid, except that Roman is the guy from the alternate universe who is the running game version of Reid.

The big question for me with Roman goes back to the “is he ready to run an organization?” theme. Based solely on track record you would say “no”. But again…Reid was never in a position of power prior to getting the Eagles job. Roman might not get a job this year, but I think he’ll be a HC in the next year or two. He’s someone to watch.

Here’s an interesting video if you want to learn more about him.

PETE CARMICHAEL – Another “guy in the shadows”. Pete is the OC for the Saints. How much of what they do is credited to him vs Sean Payton?

Pete grew up in football. His dad was a longtime assistant at BC. Pete got into coaching and worked at New Hampshire and worked on the staff with him in 1994. Pete then got a job as QB coach for Louisiana Tech and headed there for 5 years. In 2000 his dad was able to bring him to the NFL. Pete obviously showed he belonged. He’s stayed in the league since then. He worked for Marty Schottenheimer a couple of times.

Sean Payton hired Pete to be the QB coach when he got the Saints job in 2006. Pete took over as OC when Doug Marrone headed off to Syracuse. The offense has been great under Pete, but again the question is how much of that is him vs Payton vs Brees. Sean Payton gave up playcalling duties in 2011 and Carmichael did a great job with the offense. Pete obviously had free reign on the offense this year with Payton suspended. While the Saints have had a disappointing season, the offense is 3rd in scoring and 2nd in points.

The negative on Pete is that he’s never developed a young QB. He’s never installed and run his own offense. He has seen Payton do it up close and personal. He’s been part of a Super Bowl winning team and has had a hand in a record setting offense. I do like the fact that Pete spent time with Schottenheimer, a defensive coach. I think Pete is more likely to see things from a balanced perspective.

Pete is 41 and looks to be one of the up and coming coaches in the NFL. He’ll have to convince teams in his interview that he’s ready now.


DOUG MARRONE – Who? Currently the HC at Syracuse. Marrone has had that job for 4 years and is 25-25. That may not sound like much, but you need to understand just how bad Syracuse was when he got there. Syracuse was 3-9 in 2008 with the #114 offense (almost dead last) and the #100 defense. The year before they were 2-10 with the #114 offense and #111 defense. Prior to that the team was 4-8 (no rankings available). Syracuse had become one of the worst programs in the nation. Marrone rebuilt the program one day at a time, one player at a time. He didn’t put in a gimmicky offense. He didn’t load up on junior college players. He didn’t get hold of some elite recruit. Marrone did things in a patient, sustainable way.

Marrone was an OL for Syracuse back in the 80s, when the program was good. He tried to carve out an NFL career, but after 3 years gave that up and turned to coaching. He got in on the ground floor. His first 3 stops were Cortland, the Coast Guard Academy, and Northeastern. Marrone then got a job at Georgia Tech on George O’Leary’s staff. He worked with a young graduate assistant named Bill O’Brien and they became best friends over time. Marrone hit the NFL in 2002 as the OL coach for Herm Edwards and the Jets.

In 2006 Sean Payton got the HC job in New Orleans and hired Marrone to be his OC. That’s a huge move. Hiring an OL coach that you’ve never worked with to come help run your offense…that tells you that Marrone had built a strong reputation around the NFL. Marrone helped run the Saints offense for 3 years and the team had a lot of success on that side of the ball. He then left for Syracuse after the 2008 season.

Marrone is a real interesting candidate. He was part of a dynamic offensive coaching staff in New Orleans. They turned Drew Brees from good QB to record-setter. I can’t stress enough how Marrone’s ability to rebuild Syracuse is incredibly impressive. Former coach Greg Robinson was a complete disaster. Marrone developed talented players on offense and defense. He also brought discipline to the program. Marrone lost a few star players to off-field issues. He put the program above the players. And Marrone took QB Ryan Nassib and developed him from marginal college player to NFL prospect. Nassib threw for 3,753 yards and 26 TDs this year.

I love the fact that Marrone has time in college and the pros. He knows how to teach football to low level players and stars. He understands the grind of the NFL. Marrone has been part of a successful staff and has shown that he can win on his own. If you watched the Syracuse bowl game this year, you could see them running plays that the Saints used to run with Reggie Bush. Syracuse won their bowl game. They finished the year 8-5 and were 19th in offense and 44th in defense. Compare those numbers to when Marrone got there.

I think Marrone qualifies as a leader and a builder. He has the NFL background that you want. He can develop QBs. Ideally you’d love someone who won more games at the college level, but I think that is nullified by the fact the program was at rock bottom and that he didn’t go for the quick fix. Marrone did things the right way. The big question with him is if you think he can be a great NFL coach and also fit. Does he have the right personality for your organization?

BRIAN KELLY – Kelly will lead Notre Dame into the National Title game on Monday night against Alabama. After that, he might get some calls from NFL teams.

Kelly worked his way up the coaching ladder. He was at Grand Valley State for 13 years and went 118-35-2. In his final 2 years, they won the national title. Kelly then moved onto Central Michigan, which was a perennial loser. In his third season, CMU won a bowl game and finished 9-4. Kelly used the spread offense and developed some star players.

After the 2006 season, Kelly left for Cincinnati. That program didn’t need to be rebuilt, but the hope was that Kelly could take it to the next level. And that he did. Cincy went 10-3, 11-3, and 12-1 in his 3 seasons there. The Bearcats were relevant on a national level. That’s when ND came calling.

It is hard to know what to make of Kelly’s time in South Bend. He went 8-5 for his first couple of years. This season the team is 12-0. Supporters will tell you he’s done a great job and the team is going to be good for years to come. Critics will point to some serious luck in putting together the 12-0 record. I don’t want to turn this into a dispute on ND. I just want to focus on Kelly and his part in this.

Kelly got Cincy to 12-0. He then left for ND before their appearance in the Sugar Bowl, which they lost. Kelly now has ND at 12-0. Any coach who can get 2 BCS schools to 12-0 records knows what he is doing. I have a few issues with Kelly, though. What is Brian Kelly football? The 2009 Cincy team was very good on offense. ND is very good on defense. We can say he’s adaptable, but we don’t really know what his vision is at ND. He hasn’t had a chance to get one recruiting class all the way through. He won with different players at CMU, Cincy, and ND. That sounds great, but also works against him in a way. Is it him or the players? I’m scared Kelly might be one of those guys who can outcoach other teams at the college level.

That is great for him and ND, but doesn’t necessarily help in the NFL. You aren’t going to outcoach the other guy in the NFL, just ask Steve Spurrier. You must acquire and develop talent. Kelly is extremely demanding. He can be very dictatorial. I don’t mean this in an insulting way. It works for him in college. The NFL is different. No coach can control everything. Even Belichick needs the right people around him. Kelly is famous for his sideline screaming, at both coaches and players. He’s improved in that area a lot, but I still wonder how he’d do at motivating millionaires. It takes the right personality to motivate them through fear (see Jimmy Johnson).

I’ve got no problem with the Eagles talking to Brian Kelly, but I’d really like to see one more year from him at Notre Dame before I became totally comfortable with him. Definitely someone to keep an eye on.


MIKE ZIMMER – I think Zimmer is pretty well known since he’s been running an NFL defense for more than a decade now. I won’t go as much into background with him.

Zimmer first came on my radar when running the Dallas Cowboys defense in 2000. Zimmer had been part of the staff since 1994. I thought he was a no-good, idiotic, Satan-loving fool. That all changed when he left for the Falcons in 2007. Suddenly, he was just smarter and seemed much less evil.

Joking aside, Zimmer got my attention in 2003 when Dallas finished #1 overall in yards allowed (2nd in points). Dallas blitzed and blitzed and blitzed. That is when Brian Baldinger made the statement that Dallas didn’t respect or fear McNabb/the Eagles since they were willing to go Cover Zero and keep no one deep, something he’d never seen before. Brian has been Captain Hyperbole ever since, but I digress.

Zimmer was the DC under Dave Campo and Bill Parcells. That’s pretty impressive. When Tuna keeps you around, he must think you can coach. Zimmer went to Cincy in 2008 and has finished in the Top 7 in yards allowed 3 of the 5 years. He hasn’t been worse than 15th.

The biggest selling point for Zimmer isn’t X’s and O’s. He’s solid, but won’t do anything that other NFL coaches haven’t seen. Zimmer is a great communicator and motivator. The Bengals have handed him a group of players that were highly troubled coming out of the draft or in the NFL. Zimmer has been able to get the most out of these guys. He does a great job of talking to them in plain terms. The conversation goes something like this “Do you want to hang out with your idiot friends and get arrested or do you want to get paid a million dollars to play football?” Zimmer doesn’t focus on morals. He’s pragmatic and it seems to work.

I’m a big Mike Zimmer fan, but deciding if he’s ready to be the man running your organization is tricky. He spent time under smart coaches like Parcells, Marvin Lewis, and Chan Gailey. I just wonder if Zimmer is ready for all the non-football stuff. NFL coaching is about so much more than football these days. Zimmer would have to really sell me that he’s ready to be the head man. Love him as a DC, but I wonder if that’s his ceiling. He’s been part of a couple of highly dysfunctional organizations in Dallas and Cincy.

GUS BRADLEY – Gus Bradley is the DC of the Seattle Seahawks. He worked a season under Jim Mora (the young one) and then stayed on when Pete Carroll took over. Pete’s key mentor is Monte Kiffin. Pete called Monte to ask about Bradley. Monte was the DC in Tampa when Bradley came in to coach the LBs. Kiffin was blown away by the young coach and told Pete to keep him. That’s what he did and Seattle is a rising force partially because of that.

Seattle was 9th in yards and 7th in points allowed last year. They are 4th in yards and #1 in scoring defense this season. That’s impressive for a guy who coached at North Dakota State and Fort Lewis College before coming to the NFL. Bradley spent 15 years honing his craft before hitting the big time. He was ready when Tampa gave him the chance and has done terrific work ever since.

Carroll will tell you that the keys for Bradley are his positive attitude and his teaching skills. He’s able to relate to players because he seems to find the positives to focus on. He also doesn’t just sit there and lecture guys in footballese. He is able to tell stories and come up with dumb sayings. That stuff keeps the players motivated and interested.

There are a couple of concerns. The happy guy approach sounds a lot like Carroll in his first trip through the NFL. That delivered mixed results. Players now see Carroll differently because of his time at USC. Bradley would be an unknown and you wonder if some veterans would think of his attitude as an act. The other key concern is that Seattle is playing great defense, but doing some unconventional things. Could those ideas work elsewhere? Seattle has taken some very odd players and made them into a great unit. Trying to copy that could be impossible and maybe disastrous.

I would love to hire Bradley as DC, but don’t think he’s ready to be a HC quite yet. Definitely someone to keep an eye on.

LOVIE SMITH – I am a big Lovie Smith fan. His teams play hard. He also knows how to come up with turnovers. 6 times in the last 12 years Smith’s defense was in the Top 5 in takeaways. They led the league 3 different times. That’s impressive.

The case against Lovie is that he was never able to solve the offense in Chicago. He had 4 offensive coordinators in 9 years. The offense never finished above 15th in yards gained. That’s not good. Lovie didn’t have the kind of pieces to work with that the Eagles do and that’s the reason you wonder if he could work out in Philly.

I would absolutely have interest in him as a DC, but it sounds like he’s set on staying a HC. He should. He built a winning team in Chicago. That wasn’t good enough for the Bears, but other organizations would love to get to that point. Buffalo would be an ideal landing spot for him.

If Lovie could convince you that he learned his lessons in Chicago and would be different, that could change your thinking. The problem is that he just got let go. He hasn’t really had the time to reflect on where he erred on the offensive side of things. If I had a strong QB and OC in place, I’d definitely look at him. The Eagles aren’t exactly in that position so I would pass.


Darrell Bevell – Seattle’s OC. Interesting background and some stuff to like, but track record with young QBs makes me nervous. Russell Wilson has played great, but in a system tailored exactly to him. Bevell did a lot of the same stuff in MIN when they ran a conservative attack and Tarvaris Jackson was the QB. Wilson is light years ahead of Jackson, but my question is whether Bevell can develop a QB to thrive in a more conventional offense. Wilson might do that, but we’re only guessing right now.

Ray Horton – Arizona’s DC. Seems there is a solid chance he gets the HC job in Arizona.

Vic Fangio – SF’s DC. 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.

Kyle Shanahan – Skins OC. 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. Could turn out to be a great coach, but makes me nervous due to his lack of a background outside his comfort zone.

Steve Sarkisian – Univ of Washington HC. Reportedly not interviewing with teams and will stay put for now.

* * * * *

I’ll be putting out the final pecking order probably on Saturday.  This post is super-long already.

54 Comments on “Final Coaching Breakdown”

  1. 1 Steag209 said at 4:11 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    I know it’s technically Chiefs related but one last post about how Reid fits in with KC? I know I’ll be rooting for him and just wanted to see what you think about Big Red’s next endeavor

  2. 2 TommyLawlor said at 5:33 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    I think KC is a good fit, if he can find a QB. Andy usually does.

  3. 3 austinfan said at 4:30 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    McCoy, Marrone sound to me like the best of this group.

    Gruden is more of a gamble, Charmichael, does he bring anything more than Marrone in terms of the Saint experience?

    What I like about Marrone is turning around an awful Syracuse program, on top of OL coaching and his Saint experience. The thing with Syracuse is we’re talking tough recruiting – wanna come to the middle of nowhere and freeze your balls off? And he was starting from rock bottom, oh yeah, you can freeze them while you’re on the field getting plastered by real teams! That tells you he can sell and coach. He wasn’t getting Mack Brown’s perenniel top ten recruiting classes, he was getting head cases and marginal athletes and got them to win.

    McCoy’s strong point is working with QBs with average physical skills like Delhomme and Orton and getting good performances out of them. Eagles may never see a top rated QB for a couple decades, you have to be really bad (1st or 2nd pick, trading up means the guys at the top of the draft don’t need a franchise QB) or really lucky – but you can build QBs, especially with all the passers coming out of college, there are going to be more guys who are overlooked. So a HC with that skill has special value.

  4. 4 ACViking said at 4:35 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    Re: Reid to KC


    Seems to me that right now — and at least from afar — it seems Andy Reid is *Re-Energized*.

    He’s back at square one with a new group of guys of whom he may know a just a few.

    He’s re-constructing his staff from the ground up.

    He’ll be installing his offense and devising plays for a different group. And turning his defense over to a seasoned DC (most likely), so he’s free to focus on the Chiefs’ dreadfully unproductive offense, but one with some talent.

    He’s in a whole new environment. And I bet — just like for John Fox — it’ll be good for him.

    You just know, he’s pumped up . . . in a way I don’t think he’d be if Lurie extended his deal. Sometimes, a new envr

  5. 5 TheRogerPodacter said at 5:09 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    conspiracy theory time:
    what if he fired castillo mid season just to make sure he would have the opportunity to hire him for his new team?? LOL

  6. 6 ACViking said at 5:35 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    Not sure the “long game” for NFL coaches is quite as long as the long game for presidents of the US

  7. 7 TommyLawlor said at 5:36 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    I agree that going to KC and getting a fresh start could do wonders for Andy. He’ll benefit from the CLE firings. He can hire Chilly or Shurmur (or both) to work with him. Castillo is available, although he is looking for a defensive job.

    The key is hiring the right DC. Expect Reid to go after Monte Kiffin as DC or some kind of senior consultant.

  8. 8 Eagles_Fan_in_San_Fran said at 5:53 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    What, no Juan for DC?

  9. 9 Anebriated said at 9:15 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    any truth to Andy bringing in Dick Jauron as his DC and Shurmur as the OC?

  10. 10 P_P_K said at 10:53 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    Sure it will be a fresh start, but I’m not sure Andy has it in him to allow for fresh ideas.

  11. 11 bdbd20 said at 4:41 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    “I won’t object if the Eagles hire McCoy”

    I’ll be sure to pass it on to the three amigos. I heard that Jeff is quite relieved.

  12. 12 TommyLawlor said at 5:37 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    He should be.

  13. 13 bdbd20 said at 6:27 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    He is, however, still waiting on your review of V.I. Warshawski.

  14. 14 TommyLawlor said at 8:34 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    Ha! He’ll have to keep waiting. Never have seen that.

  15. 15 SleepingDuck said at 4:45 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    Eagles just got granted permission to interview Bradley and Arians.

  16. 16 TommyLawlor said at 5:37 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    Both guys are worth interviewing.

  17. 17 SleepingDuck said at 5:47 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    Agreed. Reading your report, I’m beginning to be more intrigued by Marrone, since my top candidate, Kelly is probably headed to the Browns.

  18. 18 laeagle said at 4:59 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    Tommy, an idea for a new post, and something a lot of people aren’t focusing on yet: if a new HC comes from an offensive background, who are the candidates for a potential DC? If from a defensive background, who are the candidates for a potential OC? Most of the guys we’re talking about are current OCs and DCs and thus can’t be hired in that same capacity by another team, so who’s out there to choose from?

  19. 19 TommyLawlor said at 5:37 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    I’ll get into that stuff next week.

  20. 20 SteveH said at 5:00 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    Please not Kyle Shanahan. I can’t stand those guys.

  21. 21 TommyLawlor said at 5:37 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    Not my preference either.

  22. 22 P_P_K said at 10:47 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    Amen to that.

  23. 23 Patrick said at 5:27 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    Marrone sounds really good, just because of the fact that he knows how to rebuild and have been the leader of a team. I like his experience from the Saints too. He may be the less sexy version of Chip Kelly who also knows how to run a team. I dont know why, but it seems i’m really intrigued with the college candidates just for that sole reason, they know whats its like and what it takes to be “THE GUY”

  24. 24 ACViking said at 5:31 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    Re: Lurie’s Laundry List of Names


    Any thoughts on the fact that this go ’round, Jeff Lurie’s sketched out a list with a bunch of names (of course, it could be a diversion).

    He’s already met with BOB, Nolan, and Armstrong. Kelly and McCoy are set for this weekend.

    That’s five names right there.

    14 years ago, Lurie interviewed four assistants — going heavy on defense, after just firing a defensive guy in Rhodes.

    There was Reid, the only offensive guy.

    The D-guys were: Pittsburgh DC Jim Haslett (a 3-4 guy); recently fired Carolina HC Dom Capers, also a 3-4 guy (who tutored Haslett in the 3-4 as the Steelers’ DC); and Raiders DC Willie Shaw, who ran a 4-3 that was pretty close to a hybrid 3-4 w/ rush DE, and Temple produce, Lance Johnstone.

    Maybe the defensive-heavy list was Modrak’s influence.

    Anyway, Nolan fits this year’s go-round as the “Dom Capers/Jim Haslett”. A former HC and DC. Shaw was a defensive guy with a Bill Walsh connection and lots of experience, but, if memory serves, he really was the Rooney-rule assistant of that period.

    Haslett was the up-and-coming guy. Reid was more of a mystery.

    This year, so far no one on Lurie’s list could be called a mystery. The closest is Keith Armstrong.

    Any thoughts?

  25. 25 TommyLawlor said at 5:40 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    The Internet has made mystery coaches almost an impossibility. We know everything about everything instantly today.

    We’ll get to the mystery level when Lurie starts talking to non-HC’s or OC/DCs. Reid was just a QB coach.

    Ben McAdoo is the QB coach in GB. Could he be a target?

  26. 26 Jason Hutt said at 6:15 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    Re: Gus

    “The other key concern is that Seattle is playing great defense, but doing some unconventional things. Could those ideas work elsewhere? Seattle has taken some very odd players and made them into a great unit. Trying to copy that could be impossible and maybe disastrous.”

    Tommy, another way to read that would be that he maximized the talents and abilities of the players he had, rather than trying to force them into conventional roles where they wouldn’t be as effective. This could be a real asset and a testament to his adaptability. You can definitely look at that from a couple of different perspectives, similar to the arguments over Chip Kelly’s offensive philosophy.

  27. 27 TommyLawlor said at 11:51 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    You are absolutely right about Bradley’s ability to craft a defense out of unusual pieces.

    Point is whether he can duplicate the feat. He’s got guys playing at an exceptionally high level. Coaching and motivation is a big part of that, but there is some luck and “it” factor in there as well. Building a defense is a bit of a chemistry experiment. If the ingredients work well together, you’ve got something powerful. If they don’t react properly, you’ve got goop.

    Rob Ryan saw Belichick do some crazy things in NE, but Bill made them work. Rob got out to Oakland as DC and tried the same kind of things, but failed miserably. You need talent and versatile players. It isn’t just the schemes and theories. The players are the key.

    I like Bradley quite a bit as a defensive coach. I do wonder about him as a HC. I’ll have the concerns about his ability to replicate the defense until I see him do it elsewhere. I would love to see him pull it off. We need creative coaches.

  28. 28 nicolajNN said at 6:17 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    Tommy, both the Chiefs and Browns seem to have locked on to 1 target and go aggressively after him. I usually don’t follow the coaching searches because it never evolved the Eagles, but is that strategy common?

    I’m not suited to comment on the process, but to me the way the Eagles are doing it makes more sense, interview multiple candidates and see who you like best then.

  29. 29 ACViking said at 6:53 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    True. If the guy the Eagles like doesn’t get button-holed like Kelly did and overwhelmed with an offer after meeting with the Eagles.

  30. 30 Iskar36 said at 7:00 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    I think it depends. I think all of these guys have done their homework before the coaching shuffle started. All that was left was to interview the coaches. If the Cheifs and Browns felt that AR and Kelly, respectively, were their guy to go after, I think it is essential that you interview them early and sign them before another team does. This isn’t like FA where if you don’t get your guy, you can just pickup another one. The coach is the face of your franchise and you need to get the guy you want at basically all costs.

  31. 31 xeynon said at 8:39 AM on January 5th, 2013:

    I’m not sure it’s always true that these guys all do their homework before making a coaching a hire. I think a lot of times, particularly when there is new ownership as there is in Cleveland, the management wants to generate buzz among the fanbase and goes aggressively after the biggest name without doing a thorough vetting process in order to do so. Not saying this is necessarily the case with the Browns, but it seems pretty common as evidenced by the number of owners who screw up their initial hires.

    I actually much prefer Lurie’s approach – as we learned when he hired Reid, the best candidate is not always the best-known candidate. I like that as an owner he feels confident in making an unpopular choice and isn’t afraid of being criticized when he’s convinced he’s right – that’s what you need from a leader in an organization, not an obsession with good PR.

  32. 32 holeplug said at 6:32 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    twitter blowing up Kelly to Browns basically done. lol feel sorry for Les Bowen he just finished a 1000 word Kelly piece for Daily News and they will have to dump it.

  33. 33 austinfan said at 6:48 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    Joe got Kelly, 5 years $40M, control.

    I don’t think the Eagles were interested in Chip, they’ve been talking to everyone but that’s their MO:
    1) good way to network
    2) good way to get independent evaluations of your team and personnel
    3) good way to keep the pressure on your real target(s) not to play games and hang you out to dry by stretching out the process, I don’t think Lurie is worried about leverage as far as money, but more in terms of being left without a chair when the music stops.

  34. 34 ACViking said at 6:49 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    That one seemed pretty clear from a mile away.

    No way Banner was letting Kelly out of the room with his signature on a contract.

    Haslam must feel like he just the Volunteers just beat out Ole Miss to sign Peyton Manning to a scholarship again. Only this time Haslam was the guy pulling the trigger.

  35. 35 Ty-Philly said at 11:31 AM on January 5th, 2013:

    well he did. Kelly isn’t a sure think to anywhere yet

  36. 36 shah8 said at 6:49 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    I wonder how long Kelly will stick with Weeden.

  37. 37 Steven Dileo said at 10:07 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    That whore. I hope that money and Brandon Weeden makes him happy.

  38. 38 Jamie Parker said at 6:53 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    How about Lovie Smith and keep Marty as OC? Maybe Lovie induces Marty to be more balanced, and he won’t be hired away as anyone’s HC either. Then Lovie would have the stability for his offense that he never had in Chicago.

  39. 39 A_T_G said at 7:50 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    If you suggest keeping Marty again, I will be forced to deploy a bank of supercomputers to span you 24/7, preventing you from ever accessing the Internet again. Consider yourself warned.

  40. 40 D-von said at 8:52 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    Don’t even give out the warning just do it

  41. 41 TommyLawlor said at 8:34 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    Marty is gone.

  42. 42 Julescat said at 8:26 AM on January 5th, 2013:

    Marty hired away?

    heh heh

  43. 43 Arby1 said at 7:15 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    Loving all these in-depth reviews of coaching candidates – I have virtually no knowledge of a lot of these guys. Thanks!

  44. 44 TommyLawlor said at 8:34 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    Glad to do it, my friend.

  45. 45 D-von said at 8:33 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    Losing the Chip sweepstakes stings but its on to the next guy that I want. Mike Nolan!!!
    HC – Nolan
    OC – Turner
    DC – Pettine

  46. 46 eagles2zc said at 11:56 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    Eagles are not out of the race yet!

  47. 47 Jyolteon said at 8:57 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    Take this for whatever it’s worth, but this is what I’m hearing from someone I trust: Kelly interviewed with the Browns today and his agent is scheduled to meet with them again on Sunday. Tomorrow, Saturday, Kelly is supposed to meet with the Bills. He grew up a Bills fan. On Monday, he’s scheduled to interview with the Eagles. The decision is far from done, though the Browns appear to have a leg up on everyone else. If that falls through, look for the Eagles to make a move.

    Again, that’s just what I’m hearing. Don’t take it as gospel. But I do trust this person.

  48. 48 D-von said at 9:09 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    Well thats good to know. But I think the Eagles are last on his list from what you say.

  49. 49 tad said at 9:47 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    The man in my thumb told me Kelly’s going to the Toronto Argonauts.

  50. 50 Jyolteon said at 9:52 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    Lol, good to know. I have no reason to come here and lie.

  51. 51 SleepingDuck said at 12:48 AM on January 5th, 2013:

    Kelly just finished meeting with Bills earlier tonight and is meeting the Eagles tomorrow, so you’re kind of right?

  52. 52 Mac said at 10:28 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    A wise man seeks wise counsel.

  53. 53 Jyolteon said at 11:00 PM on January 4th, 2013:

    “Via @mortreport, Chip Kelly wrapped up 7 hours of meeting with Browns. Kelly meeting tonight w/ Bills, Saturday w/ Eagles. Browns favored.”

    Looks like the timetable I was given was a little bit off. But, all three teams still on the table.

  54. 54 T_S_O_P said at 7:23 AM on January 5th, 2013:

    Mike Smith is an example of what I want. He reminds me a lot of early Reid before he was so badly infected by the Marty virus. Good coordinators, well coached and very few mistakes (I think they lead the league in least penalties) and he also is very frugal with his challenges something that early Reid used to be. Of the list above, Marrone seems closest to that mould.