Big Names Not Always the Best

Posted: January 21st, 2021 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on Big Names Not Always the Best

Chip Kelly was a coveted coaching prospect in 2012. Tampa thought they had him in the bag, but Kelly decided to stay at Oregon. A year later, he was again the most coveted candidate. This time the Eagles were able to pry him away from college. He didn’t even last three full years in Philly.

At the time of his hiring, I was ecstatic. I thought the Eagles made a great hire. He was the coach I wanted.

Be careful what you wish for.

There was a time when Josh McDaniels was the hottest name out there. He didn’t even last two full years in Denver.

Jason Garrett was once a coveted assistant coach. He turned down the Ravens and Dallas was thrilled. He coached the Cowboys for 10 years, winning 85 games and going to the playoffs three times. He never reached the NFC title game.

Steve Spagnuolo shut down arguably the greatest offense in NFL history when the Giants upset the Pats 17-14 in the Super Bowl. The defense was outstandin the next year and Spags was a hot candidate. The Rams hired him to turn their franchise around. They went 10-38 in three years and he was fired.

Jimmy Johnson was probably the most coveted coach in NFL history after he left Dallas. A lot of teams talked to him in 1994 and 1995 (including the Eagles). Johnson turned everybody down. He finally agreed to coach the Dolphins in 1996, replacing Don Shula. Johnson never had a losing season in Miami in his four years there. But he was only 2-3 in the playoffs and lost his final playoff game 62-7. Yikes. Hardly what South Florida expected when they celebrated his hiring.

The biggest name, the sexiest candidate…that’s not always the right guy. If you went back and did research, you might just find out the hot candidate doesn’t work out as hoped most of the time.

The Eagles are not a hot destination in this hiring cycle. There are just too many questions and issues. The team missed on Lincoln Riley, the consensus top candidate. They had interest in Robert Saleh and Arthur Smith, but we don’t know how much. We never heard of a job offer to either guy. But they were hot names and the Eagles missed on them.

I’m not trying to say it is good that the Eagles missed on the biggest names. One of these guys could do incredibly well. Mike Shanahan was coveted after SF won the Super Bowl in 1994 and he did great things in Denver. Sometimes when you swing for the fences, you hit a home run.

My point is that the Eagles can still come out of this situation with a good coach. Too often we obsess on resume, what is known and quantifiable. If you find a talented guy who is the right fit, you can have big success. Andy Reid wasn’t a compelling name when he was hired. Joe Gibbs had never been a head coach when Washington hired him.

It isn’t likely that the Eagles will find a great coach under these circumstances, but missing out on the hot names might not be the worst thing in the world. Take a chance on an under the radar guy or an interesting re-tread. Maybe you strike gold. If not, you have a couple of tough years. You get high picks and might be able to stock the roster with young talent, making the position a lot more desirable the next time around.

There is no perfect formula for hiring coaches. There is a lot of risk no matter who you target and how desirable the job is. There are just too many X-factors.

I hope the Eagles embrace risk when they finally do make a hire. The world is full of solid offensive coordinators. Find someone who has some interesting ideas and is willing to take some chances.


Could Nick Sirianni be the right guy?

Sirianni is an interesting guy. He has worked at small colleges and for three NFL teams. He’s done grunt work and been a coordinator. If you listen to Frank Reich, Sirianni is a sure thing.

Then there’s Nick Sirianni. If you haven’t heard of him, Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich promises you will.

“When I got here,” Reich said, “the first thing I said to (GM) Chris Ballard was, ‘There is one guy we have to get on this staff, and that is Nick Sirianni.’

“Thankfully, (GM) Tom Telesco and the Chargers organization allowed Nick to take our coordinator position. I was grateful for that.

“I think the world of Nick. I think he is a brilliant offensive mind. He is a tireless worker. He pays attention to detail. He has a dynamic coaching personality.

“I think he is going to be a great head coach in this league sooner rather than later. It is hard for me to have a higher opinion of Nick than I already do.”

That’s pretty darn compelling.

Here you can watch him break down some offensive plays. Two of them are actually Eagles plays…from back when the offense was good.


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