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.
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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.
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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.
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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.