The search for a coach goes on. I think the top 3 guys left are Mike McCoy, Jay Gruden, and Gus Bradley. My preference is to go for an offensive guy, but that’s more of a guideline than an absolute rule. Why O over D?
The NFL is an offensive league. You are only going to win the Super Bowl if you have a good QB. Think about recent guys: Eli, Rodgers, Brees, Roethlisberger, Eli, Peyton, Roethlisberger, Brady, and Brady. You have to go all the way back to 2002 to find a less than star QB. That was Brad Johnson. And he was good that year. He went 10-3 as the starter. QB rating was 92.9. He had 22 TDs and just 6 INTs. Johnson was paired with one of the great defenses in NFL history and led the Bucs to their only title.
Without a top flight QB, you are fighting a nearly impossible battle. You might win the division. You might win a playoff game. Heck, you might even get to the Super Bowl. History says you won’t win it.
Stud QBs don’t just happen. They must be coached and developed. You need an offensive guru who knows how to do that. In theory this guy could be your offensive coordinator and not the head coach, but the problem is that good OCs don’t stick around long. They get HC jobs.
Think about some of the defensive coaches we’ve seen over the years. Lovie Smith left the Bears with a winning record. Marty Schottenheimer won just about everywhere. Buddy Ryan was fired in Philly as a winner. Tony Dungy got canned by the Bucs after putting together a really good team. Mike Smith is the best coach in Falcons history. Jeff Fisher did some great things with the Oilers/Titans.
What do they all have in common? Postseason underachievers. Fisher and Lovie got to the big game, but lost. The other coaches weren’t even that lucky. Buddy and Mike Smith have never won a playoff game. Dungy did win a SB, but only after he was handed a good offense and Hall of Fame QB. Dungy had nothing to do with developing that offense.
You must be able to score points and move the ball to in a Super Bowl. You must have a good QB. I’m not denying the importance of defense, but as you can see above…having an elite all time defensive guru as your HC doesn’t guarantee a ring…or even a playoff win.
You can point to Mike Tomlin winning the 2008 SB, but that doesn’t work. He took over a team that had already been built and were already winning. Plus, the real key in Pittsburgh sure appears to be Dick LeBeau. He became the DC there in 2004 and the defense has been #1 in 5 of the 9 years. That is amazing. And even Tomlin/LeBeau are paired with Roethlisberger, who is a stud QB. Give them Kyle Orton and I don’t think you are looking at 3 SBs in that same period.
I’m open to hiring a defensive guy if he is the best candidate, but the coach must have a real strong sense of the importance of offense and QB play. Andy Reid clearly overdid it with the passing game, but I also don’t want a guy talking about running the ball, playing good defense, and avoiding turnovers. That’ll get you division titles, but it won’t win a SB. You must be able to attack on offense. Throwing 45 passes is one extreme and playing not to lose is the other. I want a coach who understands the importance of balance and aggression. There is a time for each.
Whether it is Nick Foles or not, the Eagles need a QB of the future. They need a player to build around. The new coach needs to be able to evaluate Foles and decide the proper course of action. That could be drafting a QB at #4. It could be taking one in the second round. It could mean adding a veteran and then looking to the 2014 draft. Or it could mean letting Foles play in 2013 and then re-evaluating him next January.
The Eagles need help in developing Foles or finding a franchise QB. They also need the defense to get fixed. I prefer hiring the offensive HC and then a strong DC to run that side of things, ala Reid/JJ. If the Eagles meet with Gus Bradley and he blows them away, that’s fine…as long as he is able to find the right OC. And that’s not an easy task.
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Where does the Eagles coaching search go from here? How does it change?
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A final thought on Kelly. A few of you have pointed this out and I absolutely agree…if the man had any reservations about coming to the NFL, he did us a huge favor by staying put. The disaster would have been for him to come for a year and then leave.
As nuts as this will sound…I enjoyed the ChipChase this weekend. The Eagles last coaching search was 1995. There was no Internet for me. I didn’t live in Philly so my only info came through USA Today, ESPN, or ESPN Radio.
It was fun on Saturday to live and die with every report and rumor that came out. Eagles fans were hilarious as we joked about Kelly. Someone wondered if the long meal was simply the Eagles attempt to fatten Chip up so he could fit in Andy’s old clothes. One guy suggested that the Eagles scared Kelly away from the Browns by showing him clips of Jaiquawn and Watkins and then telling Chip those were Banner draft picks.
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Several of you guys donated money over the weekend to help cover my expenses for going down to the Senior Bowl. That is greatly appreciated. It’s an awesome trip, but isn’t cheap. I promise to do a great job of stalking Eagles scouts and hopefully coaches to figure out who we’re showing interest in. I’ll also try to keep Jimmy Bama out of jail, but no promises on that.
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Penn State’s Eric Shrive does great charity work. A group called Uplifting Athletes has him in the running for an award. You can vote for him by going here. We’ve had so many horrific PSU stories that it feels good to support a young man that is doing what he can to make the world a better place.
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Late Add…David Syvertsen has his list of prospects to watch in tonight’s National Title game. CB Dee Milliner could be of special interest. He’ll be a high pick.