Extra Points: Eagles Coaching Carousel Could Be Fun Ride
Jeffrey Lurie should not have to fill out a permission slip to interview a potential coach.
According to a report on ESPN, he had to do so in order to talk to Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels about the Eagles' head coaching vacancy.
The last time I filled out one of those was 1995 for my 12-year-old daughter, Ashley. Her teacher, Jon Vile, was taking his sixth grade class at Lower Township Consolidated School on a field trip to the Statue of Liberty.
For those of you too young to remember, field trips weren't really trips to a field. They were visits to places like the Philadelphia Zoo, Franklin Institute, Statue of Liberty and other exotic locales.
My sixth grade class at Cape May Elementary School went all the way to Washington, D.C. And no, we didn't travel in covered wagons, though the bus we used didn't have air conditioning.
McDaniels' field trip was scheduled to be to Palm Beach, Florida, where he reportedly was going to meet with Lurie at his palatial estate, the same place where Lurie met with Doug Pederson before canning him last week. No word on whether there was a chaperone or if McDaniels had to bring a bag lunch.
McDaniels was to be the second candidate to interview for the job. Former 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh met with Lurie on Wednesday and was so impressed that he took a job with the New York Jets a few hours later.
Next up on the list is current Eagles running backs coach and co-head coach Duce Staley and Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo, who are supposed to talk to Lurie next Friday.
There are a bunch of others who have been listed as candidates by various media outlets. Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and quarterbacks coach Mike Kafka have been mentioned, though they won't be available until their season is complete. That will be at least another week after Sunday's victory over Cleveland.
Both have ties to the Eagles. Bieniemy's nine-year NFL career as a running back included one season with the Eagles in 1999, when he played for rookie head coach Andy Reid. Pederson was the Eagles' starting quarterback for the first half of that season. Kafka, a quarterback, was the Eagles' fourth-round draft pick in 2010.
Other possible contenders include defensive coordinators Todd Bowles (Bucs) and Brandon Staley (Rams), offensive coordinators Joe Brady (Panthers) and Kellen Moore (Cowboys), and Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley.
The big surprise to me is that Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman isn't on the list. The Ventnor native and Holy Spirit High School graduate has shown the ability to develop quarterbacks through his work with Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco and Lamar Jackson in Baltimore.
"There's a lot of good candidates out there," Lurie said last Monday. "We'll think both inside the box, outside the box. I just want to say, there will be no rush here. This notion of an NFL team making a very important decision for itself and its fan base and rushing to a decision is unlike any in business, and I just don't think that's warranted.
Kelly was among 11 candidates in 2013, along with Gus Bradley, Brian Billick and Ken Whisenhunt. Pederson was the sixth person to get a NFL coaching job in 2016, following Adam Gase (Dolphins), Kelly (49ers), Dirk Koetter (Bucs), Ben McAdoo (Giants) and Mike Mularkey (Titans). All were gone within a year or two.
"If we find a head coach soon or it's early February, it's totally great," Lurie said. "If we're the last team picking a head coach, that's great, too, because then you have all the opportunity in the world. There's no rush. There's no pressure. There's nothing that should drive you from a decision based on just rational thought and careful analysis and getting to know the person as best you can."
Whoever gets the job is going to have to make some compromises.
Pederson's Super Bowl victory in 2017 evidently didn't convince Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman that he has earned the right to pick his own assistant coaches. His replacement will be surrounded by a staff of Lurie's and Roseman's choosing.
The next coach will also be inheriting a muddled quarterback situation. A report in the Philadelphia Inquirer confirmed a similar story in Philly Voice two years ago that portrayed quarterback Carson Wentz in an unflattering light, suggesting that he is difficult to coach, stubborn to a fault, unwilling to take blame for mistakes, and dislikes puppies. Ok, I made up that last one.
Wentz has also supposedly suggested that he has to be guaranteed the starting job instead of competing with Jalen Hurts or he wants to be traded.
If Lurie can't find a suitable coach among the current crop, here are a few others who might fit the bill.
And they don't require a permission slip.
*Ed Gennero (Necessary Roughness) - He took over a Texas State University program that had been riddled with infractions and guided it back to respectability. He showed the ability to develop a quarterback (Paul Blake), who was working on the family farm when Gennero found him. Gennero also demonstrated creativity by converting women's soccer player Lucy Draper into a place-kicker. Maybe he could do the same with Carli Lloyd? But he'd have to convince Lurie to allow him to have Wally Rig as an assistant coach.
*Coach Klein (The Waterboy) - He overcame some coaching mistakes earlier in his career with the South Central Louisiana State University Mud Dogs. Klein, an offensive genius, employed a creative attack and was a master of making the best use of his talent by turning former waterboy Bobby Boucher into a tackling machine. Considering what he did with water, just imagine the possibilities with pickle juice? The Eagles' facilities are decidedly better, since the players don't have to share helmets in Philly. Farmer Fran would make a good defensive coordinator, assuming the Eagles could understand him.
*Jimmy McGinty (The Replacements) - He knows how to coach under duress, having been summoned out of retirement to coach the Washington Sentinels during a player strike. McGinty didn't get along very well with the starting quarterback, Eddie Martel, but he worked wonders after finding replacement quarterback Shane Falco scraping barnacles off a boat at a nearby marina. Maybe it's worth a trip to South Jersey Marina in Cape May. Clifford Franklin can't be any worse than the current wide receivers. Place-kicker Nigel Gruff could challenge for a roster spot if he gave up smoking on the field.
*Molly McGrath (Wildcats) - If Lurie really wants to think outside the box, he could hire the NFL's first female head coach. McGrath cut her coaching teeth by taking over an inner city program in Chicago (Central High School) and leading the Wildcats to the city championship over favored Prescott. She also knows a little bit about making a controversial move at quarterback, benching Krushinski in favor of Levander "Bird" Williams.