The Right Hire

Posted: January 12th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 56 Comments »

Someone asked me on Twitter if Jeff Lurie would hire the right coach.  That’s a very complicated question.  What is “the right coach”?

Jimmy Johnson and Bill Belichick each won multiple Super Bowls.  Both also had jobs that didn’t work out.  Jimmy’s second job is when he failed.  Bill’s first job was his failure.  Tony Dungy didn’t lead Tampa to the Super Bowl.  Was he the right hire?

If the standard is Super Bowl or bust, Lurie probably won’t make the right hire.  The odds just don’t make it likely that the new coach will win.  This has nothing to do with the Eagles.  Simple math.  Being 1 of 32 teams means you’re unlikely to win in a given year.  The Pats have the best coach and arguably best QB and haven’t won a title since 2004.

I  think there is a perception that a coach can get hired and magically deliver the right results.  Luck and circumstances are a big part of anything that happens.  The Packers got Brett Favre because he was drinking too much in Atlanta and Jerry Glanville wasn’t sold on him.  Where’s Holmgren with no Favre?  Holmgren doesn’t win a SB without an elite free agent like Reggie White and a key role player like Desmond Howard.

What happens to the Cowboys if the Vikings don’t make the ridiculous Herschel Walker trade?  Jimmy wins plenty of games and does good things, but chances are the team doesn’t become a dynasty, nor him a legend.  What if Charles Haley wasn’t such a headache that Bill Walsh was willing to deal him?  Again, probably no titles.

I wish this was as simple as Lurie hires the right guy and we win or he hires the wrong guy and we struggle.

What we’re really looking for is the right combination of things.  Jeff Lurie will hire a coach he thinks can get the job done.  So far Lurie is 2 for 2 with what I would call good hires.  Ray Rhodes as NFL coach of the Year in 1995.  He won 10 games twice and was 2 for 4 in going to the playoffs.  Rhodes couldn’t sustain the initial success he had, in part due to an over-reliance on aging players.  Losing Jon Gruden after 1997 was also a huge factor.

I don’t think I even need to explain that Reid was a good hire.  That should be self-evident.

If you think about the 2 guys, they were very different.  Reid is all business.  Rhodes was emotion.  And nuts, at times.  Reid spent years in college honing his coaching skills.  Rhodes never coached a second in college.  He played in the NFL and then became a pro assistant.  Rhodes was a tough guy from Texas.  Reid was more of a laid back guy from California.

Both guys knew how to coach.  They knew how to win.  They just went at it in very different ways.  Lurie was able to see something in each man that led him to believe that was the right hire to make at the time.  Lurie learned from the Rhodes era and made a better hire in Reid.  Let’s hope that he learns from Andy and is able to make an even better hire this time.

It is interesting to note that Lurie went from a fiery guy to a more detailed, organized coach.  You wonder if he’ll switch back now and go for more of an emotional coach.  Both Brian Kelly and Gus Bradley would fit the bill.  They’re excellent motivators, even though they go about it in different ways.

* * * * *

The Eagles are meeting with Gus Bradley today, which is great news.  I don’t want them to pass on him without a meeting.  Gus may or may not be the guy, but he’s too intriguing not to meet.  If you sit down with him and his personality is as engaging as Monte Kiffin would lead you to believe, maybe Lurie, Howie, and Smolenski will be sold.

Of course, they’ll also need to hear the right things about QB and the offense.  Bradley must convince them that he’s got good plans on how to work with Nick Foles and/or find another QB, as well as putting together a strong offensive staff.

* * * * *

There are some reports that the Eagles will meet with Brian Kelly this weekend as well.  It really does seem to be him and Bradley as the frontrunners at this moment.

The team is scheduled to meet with Jay Gruden and Bruce Arians, but don’t make too much of that.

* * * * *

Monte Kiffin is the new Dallas DC.  I’m not sure what to make of this.  He’s known for the Tampa 2, but Monte was a good defensive coach long before that.  Pete Carroll worked under him at Arkansas in the 1970s and they had a system in place back then.  Monte is a big believer in the 4-3 under front.  If you want to read some good stuff, go here.

Things didn’t work out so great for Monte at USC.  I wish I could tell you if that was on him or the players or what.  No idea.  I do think he can be successful in Dallas.  They’ve got some good pieces.  How quickly he can build them into a cohesive 4-3 is the big question.  I do think he’ll need a good SS.  I don’t know if Dallas has anyone I’d be comfortable with right now.

Rob Ryan is probably going to end up in St. Louis, but they’re still talking now since he’s out of the country.  He and Jeff Fisher are friends from the Buddy Ryan days.

_


  • shah8

    Man…if the Eagles wind up staying with Vick, I’m either not going to log onto Eagles forums or show up with lots and lots of popcorn, and wait for the wailing to pass.

    As per this post, I think it really must be said that the Eagles are not in a position to insist that Foles be played. Nor would any outside coach be enamored with a third round pick that has the tape he does.

    Therefore, I think what will happen is that the coach will be selected, then feelers will be made after the draft to various agents of free agent QBs. Which, I probably should clarify as meaning one of: Alex Smith, Tarvaris Jackson, or Jason Campbell. I do not think any other starter-capable QBs will be available. I do not consider Mike Flynn or Fitzpatrick to be starting capable, and I think there are substantial doubts that David Garrard could stay healthy.

    Now, things do change if there is the draft, but aside from QB @ #4, that generally would mean that Vick starts as an interim QB for some toolsy, but unrefined QB, like Tannehill last year, or EJ Manuel this year.

    Sort of disclaimer:

    I simply do not take seriously QB that cannot make all the throws. Or has less mobility than he needs to have. I see enough QB’ing with people who barely have enough arm, and I see teams with no shot at Super Bowls. As in Matt Ryan is only competitive with an absolutely stacked offense that can’t stay together for much longer due to salary cap issues. He can’t make plays with his arm, and is strikingly ineffectual if the OL isn’t on their game. Vick comes with his issues, but you have a chance, where there is none at all with Foles, no matter how he develops…and realistically, there is little chance with any of the likely QBs on the market. No matter of trash-labeling will actually change this fact (as understood by me). While the team probably would like to oblige the folks that hate Vick, I suspect they care about winning more, and if need be, they’ll just manage the pr for a new Vick campaign if they aren’t comfortable with the alternatives.

    • TommyLawlor

      You do realize that Vick’s only chance of staying an Eagle is to take a massive pay cut. I don’t think it is likely beyond that, but without the pay cut, he’s gone.

      • shah8

        I do not think he will take the paycut. And I think, while his bargaining situation isn’t the greatest, he has substantially more than people give credit for. What I see more likely is changes in contract length or more favorable opt out clauses.

        • TommyLawlor

          He’s due $16M in 2013. Eagles won’t pay him that much. Nowhere close. If he says no, he’s gone. This isn’t an opinion. This is reality.

          • shah8

            How sure are you about that?

          • TommyLawlor

            100%. The only reason you pay him huge money is if you think he can lead you to the Super Bowl this year. Anything less and there’s no reason to pay him. Plus, the contract goes on beyond 2013 and the Eagles are locked in for big money.

            If the new coach wants Vick and Vick is willing to play on a 1-yr deal for middle money…his return is possible. I don’t think that will happen.

          • shah8

            Well, what do you think is middle money?

          • TommyLawlor

            I think he’d be down in the $5 to $8M range and only as a 1-year deal. After the last 2 yrs, no one is committing to Mike long term.

          • shah8

            Well, that’s actually Matt Flynn type money, and much less than someone like Kevin Kolb. Never mind Carson Palmer, who has a contract similar to Vick as far as 2013 is concerned. I think it’s safe to say that Vick will be paid more than 8 million, provided that he lands on a team at all (which I think he will).

          • TommyLawlor

            Vick should be in the NFL next year. Still a talented QB. Needs someone to want him. We need to see how all the coaching situations pan out. If Greg Roman goes to JAX, that fit might work well.

            We’ll see about the money. My guess is the contract would have tons of incentives. If he lights it up, he’ll get the money he deserves.

            I can’t stress enough that I hope Vick is a starter and has some success. It didn’t work here, but I’ve got no hard feelings. It was good to see the man turn his life around.

          • A_T_G

            Absolutely. Vick is a great story of a guy who made poor choices, paid the price, and turned his life around. I was truly hoping that the story would end with him being handed the Lombardi by Andy. Unfortunately, neither of them will be here when we finally win it.

          • Eagles_Fan_in_San_Fran

            “Unfortunately, neither of them will be here when we finally win it.”
            The bigger question is: Will any of us be here (still living/breathing) when we finally win it?

          • The_Reddgie

            “provided that he lands on a team at all”

            He will land on a team. Whether or not he is the starter is another question altogether.

          • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.stempo Stephen Stempo

            as a general nfl rule you have to actually be good to get paid 16 million dollars. “Michael Vick franchise QB” exists in much the same way bigfoot and vampires and Santa Clause exist; as figments of peoples imaginations.

            edit: don’t get me wrong I personally want all of those things to exist i just realize that they don’t

          • The_Reddgie

            Bullshit.

            Bigfoot is not only real, he has family all over the world. Sasquatch’s, Yetti’s, Skunk Ape’s (they’re in FLA and GA), Yowie’s (they’re in Australia). How could a made up entity have family all over the world? Huh?

            (And yes, I love Finding BigFoot. BoBo FTW!!!)

          • laeagle

            You’re of course familiar with “Tenure”, right?

          • shah8

            I ask that because fans on the outside are consistently wrong about what contract teams are willing to bear. More than that, judging by what contracts are like, Vick’s contract isn’t likely to be especially onerous, especially at 2011 or so production. Mark Sanchez’s contract is atrocious, as is Stafford’s contract. Brees will have to be utterly outstanding to justify his contract. At least he can achieve that. However, most of the relative bargains QBs are on older contract, with a big payday ahead of them.

    • laeagle

      Right now, Vick’s problem is that he can make all the throws, and that too many of them are going to the other team. No matter of trash-labeling will actually change this fact (as understood by me).

      • http://twitter.com/theguyotc the guy

        That’s not fair. Sometimes he fumbles, too.

      • shah8

        Is there any talk of Cutler having to take paycuts or be cut outright? Granted, he’s not as unpopular as Vick, but he isn’t well liked, either. And what with the bulk of the interceptions happening early in the season, what was more concerning is the fumbles. Vick has always had some issue with fumbling, but this last season was a poor season in that respect.

        And broadly? Yes, coaches will put up with the interception if said QB is able to run a full offensive playbook, as opposed to a safer QB who can’t. To go anywheres, a QB must be able to make plays. Any QB that is overly dependent on taking what the defense gives him, is going to get suffocated in big games.

        • laeagle

          I really think you need to chill. You’re not going to convince people, no matter how many words you type. Your basic argument, dressed up on far too many useless paragraphs, is that Vick should be the starter. Many people will disagree, and after the past two years, there’s good reason why they’re right. Many people wanted him to work out, and he just hasn’t except for a brief 4 game splash over the course of 3 years.

          You still think he’s starter worthy, and that’s fine, but the constant insisting is getting tiresome. WE GET IT. WE DISAGREE. PLEASE DISPERSE.

          • shah8

            How am I not chill? And I’m not really trying to convince people. I know that’s not possible. I just think this line of thinking should be challenged.

            Also: I don’t think that word, disperse, means what you think it means.

          • laeagle

            You are constantly writing epic, multiparagraph theses about why Vick is the answer for us, and it just gets tiresome reading the same thing from the same person over and over. There’s a guy on BGN and Sheil’s site who’s the same way with promoting Gus Bradley, and saying how he is absolutely 100% the best hire possible, and everyone but him is an idiot. Repeatedly. In every thread, for every story. As with him, we get your point, and no longer feel the need to hear or read it being made. It is a simple point, and that’s fine, but we respectfully disagree. Constantly repeating your argument at every possible opportunity is not very “chill”, in my opinion.

            And no, I was very consciously using the word “disperse”. “Naked Gun” reference.

          • shah8

            Well, you don’t have to read those epic responses. I don’t have you seated in that chair, eyes propped open as the video rolls.

            I’m not even thinking that it’s likely Vick stays. I just think it’s much more likely that he does that people give credit for. As in 35% chance instead of 5%.

            And regardless of what movie you were referring to, disperse isn’t the correct word to use, unless someone isn’t material, like a ghost, or there is an actual group of people there, you know?

          • laeagle

            No, you’re not, but I ask you why you would see the need to write so much when you’re just repeating yourself, and why do you find it necessary to do so, so often.

            I’m fully aware of what disperse means, its usage, context, etc.. If you got the reference, you’d understand why I used it.

          • The_Reddgie

            You have to be talking about John G.

            “There’s a guy on BGN and Sheil’s site who’s the same way with promoting Gus Bradley, and saying how he is absolutely 100% the best hire possible, and everyone but him is an idiot. Repeatedly. In every thread, for every story.”

          • laeagle

            The one and only. And bonus points if you get my disperse reference.

    • A_T_G

      I truly hope that one of the make-or-break requirements in the HC interview process is that shah8 is not mentioned by the candidate as a possible QB coach.

      At least we can agree that this guy is not starting QB material.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Flynn_%28American_football%29

  • Jacob Shubert

    as a ND fan who has watched every game Brian Kelly has coached for the last 3 years I can confidently say he would be a good hire. He hires unbelievable assistants, he is humble and doesn’t stick with something if its not working (the complete opposite of Andy Reid) and is very adaptable to his personnel. I don’t think he values offense over defense or vice versa which to me is an important quality.

    However, i really hope we pick Gus Bradley because i don’t want the eagles stealing from my favorite college team and i don’t want to view Brian Kelly as a liar. I also think we should interview Tom Clements after seeing Rodgers continue his absurdly good play and the success Joe Philbin had in Miami.

    Laslty, i was wondering what guys you all would be looking for as an OC or DC regardless of who our next HC is. I know its too early to look into that stuff but i believe in some ways that is almost as important as our next HC

    • Anders

      I really wonder why so many people hate Kelly. I know he is a screamer and he jumps fast, but he have success at every stop he have been at and have done it by been adaptable and a great motivator

      • shah8

        I don’t think he left Cincinnati on great terms.

        Broadly speaking, I’m not a fan of the Brian Kelly approach. In X and O as well as interpersonal terms. I felt that the way he handled the QB position the year he got there was ill advised.

        • Anders

          I dont know that much about him, but didnt he lead them to a bowl game?

          • shah8

            Georgia Tech went to a bowl game at 6-7. Admittedly, I do not follow college football much, but I did accidentally watch a bit of ND football when that ridiculous two QB thing was going on. I saw a bit of his last Cin games as well, as well as its final destruction by Florida.

          • TommyLawlor

            Kelly didn’t coach the game vs UF.

          • shah8

            dat’s right! Forgot!

        • ACViking

          I believe that Kelly’s issues with his departure from Cincinnati were those that any spouse would have if s/he walked out because a more appealing partner came along.

          Sometimes, there’s no good way to say good bye.

          I do not believe, though, Kelly had any issues at UC until then.

          But I could be wrong.

          • Anders

            That is what I have heard and for me its no big deal, ND >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Cincinnati at the college level.

          • TommyLawlor

            The players at UC were mad at Kelly for leaving. The team was 12-0 (but not playing in the title game). He told them he was staying, then left for ND. Less than ideal to be sure, but that’s the football business.

            I’m told by people from GVSU and CMU that they absolutely still love Kelly and have no bad feelings.

          • Anders

            Jason Kelce played under Kelly and I remember reading a quote that he would love to play under him again.

  • ACViking

    Re: The Right Coach

    T-Law:

    You seem to be saying that the “Right Coach” is a function of at least 2, maybe 3, things:

    1. A great QB — that solves lots of problems

    2. A dominant pass-rushing DE — that’ll solve lots of problems, especially if No. 1 is taken care of.

    3. Great Asst Coaches — they can paper over problems 1 & 2.

    • TommyLawlor

      Even the best coach needs the right pieces to work with. I don’t know that he’s got to have a dominant DE, but he needs an impact DL. BB had Richard Seymour.

      • ACViking

        T-Law:

        I could have written my comment more clearly to convey my intent.

        What I intended was that your breakdown: “LEADS ME TO CONCLUDE . . . SO, DO YOU AGREE? OR AM I OFF BASE?”

        It’s what I meant to say.

        I didn’t intend to make an argument . . . just to ask a question.

        • TommyLawlor

          Your comment didn’t come off as argumentative. I was trying to agree, while touching on the note about the DE.

          I think we’re all on the same page. The coach is a huge piece, but he’s got t have the right supporting cast. Part of that is on him to make the right choices, but also helps to have situations break his way so that the right guys are available.

          Reid’s only SB came with TO. If the league doesn’t make that ruling, maybe we never break through and go to the big game.

  • laeagle

    Tommy, thank you for a reasoned, logical assessment of what a “good” coach really is. I get very tired of desktop quarterbacks sitting at their computers, typing about how important a “killer instinct” or a “will to win” is, and how fans that tolerate anything less that a Super Bowl just don’t get what it takes to win. And about how Lurie has FAILED at EVERYTHING because we don’t have the Lombardi yet. It’s such a childish, sophmoric understanding of what an NFL owner’s job is, and yet it’s repeated constantly. Everyone thinks that getting “rah rah” and channeling Tony Robbins will somehow make things different, and end up wrongly judging people like Reid, Lurie, and Howie. There is a horribly irony at work when some guy sitting at home by himself on a Friday night, who flamed out of college and probably lives with his mom, tries to tell everyone else on the interwebs what a “winner” is.

    As you say, there are absolutely no guarantees. The best you can do is play the odds and set yourself up for success as much as possible. If there were a 100% guaranteed formula for success, there would very quickly be 32 Super Bowl champions every year. It is very important, I think, to keep reality in mind when making judgements about a franchise, and your ability to cut through the nonsense and help us face actual reality is refreshing.

    If I haven’t said it before, your logic and reason make me very emotional.

    • The_Reddgie

      REC’D, except for this part:

      “There is a horribly irony at work when some guy sitting at home by himself on a Friday night, who flamed out of college and probably lives with his mom, tries to tell everyone else on the interwebs what a “winner” is.”

      I am sure that my current feeling of discomfort has nothing to do with how accurate that statement is. Nothing. Nothing whatsoever.

      /yelling at the top of my lungs … “Ma, bring down some more meatloaf”

      • laeagle

        “I never know what she’s doing up there.”

        • The_Reddgie

          Damnit.

          I seriously typed out 5 or 6 different replies, but not a 1 of them works. Well played good sir, till we meet again.

  • TommyLawlor

    From college football writer Pete Thamel on Twitter:

    Pete Thamel ‏@SIPeteThamel

    An announcement on Brian Kelly expected very soon. All signs still point to him staying at Notre Dame.

    • bdbd20

      Is he 95% sure?

    • TommyLawlor

      Now Bruce Feldman is reporting that Kelly will stay. Another college writer.

  • A_T_G

    Maybe they have it all planned out, and are just waiting to spring it on us: Gus as HC, Brian as DC and Chip as OC. They are just playing it cool until Gus wraps up his season.

    • TommyLawlor

      Likely scenario that I strangely overlooked.

  • P_P_K

    Yea, Lurie is 2 for 2. You’d never know it by the moaning and gnashing of teeth on EMB. He’s also going about the new hire in the right way, meeting with lots of guys and determining who is the best fit. I also think the talk about the Eagles not being a good place to coach are written by sportswriters with little fodder for articles or fans with a grudge. College coaches who pass on pro opporutnities hardly count. Someone like Chip has a charmed life — money, success, control, and the chill Oregon campus environment. The reason guys are interviewing is because they want to be HC in Philly.

    The right hire question could also be asked of KC. Was Andy really the right guy? Considering who is surrounding himself with, I have my doubts. Since KC has been so awful, if Reid can take the team to 9-7, or even 10-6, within a few years, those midwesterners will think they hit the jackpot. But a drunk who surrounds himself with his old buddies has little chance of changing and taking the next step in his growth and success. I predict Andy’s career will mirror Donovan’s, in that both guys will be considered not quite good enough to make it into the Hall of Fame. Close but no cigar. And the discussion will include some version of, “If he had won one SB, would he then make it in?”

    • Eagles_Fan_in_San_Fran

      “But a drunk who surrounds himself with his old buddies has little chance
      of changing and taking the next step in his growth and success.”

      Especially when the boss (Lurie, now KC) let’s him get away with it.

  • The_Reddgie

    Okay, I know that HCs, and just as importantly their staff, are very important in the grand scheme of things, but I think there are a few fans out there that need to reread this sentence from Tommy …

    “I wish this was as simple as Lurie hires the right guy and we win or he hires the wrong guy and we struggle.”

    This is chess, not checkers people. It’s not as “simple” as “just” hiring the right HC. The right HC is merely a part of the equation.

    Analogy time. Let’s say you want to start a restaurant, and somehow you luck into hiring the best chef alive. Even with the best chef in the world, if all he has to cook with is the refer (refrigerator for those who are unfamiliar with military lingo) at a McDonald’s that has been closed for 6 months that contains nothing but rotten veggies, spoiled hamburger and other assorted inedible ingredients and a wait staff that is so retarded that they come to work on the short bus, he won’t be concocting a 5 star meal and it won’t be served in a proper fashion (the restaurant equivalent of a SB win).

    The desired resurrection of this franchise is as much on Lurie getting the transition of power to Howie right (I believe he has) and then Howie getting the right players for our next HC to work with, as it is getting the “right” next HC.

    Unlike most others, the longer this plays out, the better I feel about it. If the SB comes and goes and we are still interviewing, then it is time to get my panties in a twist. Until then, I am going to have faith that the Lurie troika knows what they want and are unwilling to settle. At least not settle till much later in the process.

  • bridgecoach

    Does anyone know how Paul Casey Bradley became known as “Gus?”