Okay, let’s review and cover the facts.
The Eagles have interviewed the following candidates:
Mike Nolan – ATL DC
Keith Armstrong – ATL STs
Bill O’Brien – Penn State
Chip Kelly – Oregon
Mike McCoy – DEN OC
The Eagles had interest in Doug Marrone, but he got the Buffalo job before the interview could happen.
Of the first 6 targets, 4 were on offense, 1 on defense, and 1 on STs.
3 of them were college head coaches. 1 of them had previously been an NFL HC.
Based on this, it sure seems like the Eagles prefer an offensive coach and one who is or has been a HC.
The Eagles want to talk to Bruce Arians, Jay Gruden, and Gus Bradley. Arians and Gruden are offensive guys and each has HC experience. That certainly helps them. Bradley is the hot name with fans and the media, but the trends don’t favor him.
Then the Eagles announced they would meet with Lovie Smith on Thursday. He is a former HC and has a winning record. Unfortunately, not only is he a defensive guy, he’s the opposite of an offensive guru.
The fact that the Eagles are going to meet with Lovie shows you that they aren’t married to the idea of an offensive guy. They’ll look at anyone. Since Bradley and Smith aren’t the ideal candidates, they really need great interviews to make the Eagles comfortable with them.
I can’t stress enough how important the interviews are. Andy Reid got the job based heavily on the interview. As I’ve written more than a few times, you hire the man, not the resume.
While the Eagles may have certain preferences, all candidates have a chance to impress Lurie, Roseman, and Smolenski. This isn’t about personality so much as answers. The candidate must have plans that he can explain in great detail. He must show that he’s got the presence to be a head coach and lead an organization. The candidate must answer tough questions when he’s grilled about the areas where he is weakest or has a poor track record. We’re not looking for a friend. This is an interview for the chance to run an NFL and be the key figure in a billion dollar company.
We have no idea how the interviews have gone so far. Did Mike Nolan explain his losing record and offensive deficiencies well? Did Keith Armstrong sell his ability to go from STs to HC? Did Mike McCoy come across as a leader? Time will tell us if they went well. If the Eagles don’t ask for follow-up interviews, they are done with those guys.
It will be interesting to see if any other candidates emerge. Here are some random possibilities:
Pete Carmichael – NO OC
Tom Clements – GB OC
Ben McAdoo – GB QBs
Mike Zimmer – CIN DC
Greg Roman – SF OC
Darrell Bevell – SEA OC
Ken Whisenhunt – former ARZ HC
Rick Dennison – HOU OC
Kyle Shanahan – WAS OC
Nick Saban – Alabama
Brian Kelly – Notre Dame
Steve Sarkisian – Washington
Chris Petersen – Boise State
Kevin Sumlin – Texas A&M
Pat Fitzgerald – NW
Gary Patterson – TCU
* * * * *
I don’t know what the deal with Jon Gruden is. He’s got Jaws pushing him to everybody. Dick Vermeil wants him as Eagles coach. Jay Gruden made some comments about wanting to stay in Cincy. Did he do that to help push Jon as a candidate?
The Eagles have shown no interest. I’ve said that Gruden isn’t the guy that I want the team to hire. I think he’d be great short term, but would struggle to sustain success.
There are a couple of X-factors here. Maybe being away from the game has changed him a bit and he would be more patient with his players. I do think the Gruden QB Camp series has helped him. He’s watched tape on the young QBs and then works with them. Gruden used to love his veterans, but maybe he’s opened up to working with the young players.
You also wonder if the lack of attention has humbled him a bit. If he could come in and work with Howie Roseman and try to build something, that would have my interest. Tampa traded draft picks for him and I think that grew Gruden’s ego into a troublesome size. Winning the SB made it even worse. There was no one to rein him in down in Tampa. Lurie and Roseman would need to be able to do that.
I’m still skeptical of Gruden, but now that things have played out this way, I’d be more open to him getting the job. It will be interesting to see if the Eagles ever do show any interest.