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As We All Wait And Wonder ...

Posted Jan 14, 2013

The Eagles continued their thorough search for a new head coach on Monday, interviewing Cincinnati offensive coordinator Jay Gruden and former Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt, adding more names to a thick stack ...

It is a search that has generated a lot of interest, an incredible number of reactions and the scrutiny of the media and fans. And it isn't over yet. I know you have questions, and I will try to answer as best as is possible.

Here we go, for what it's worth ...

Is There A Leader In The Clubhouse?

There could very well be a leader, as Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman and Don Smolenski have dedicated themselves in an exhausting, remarkable two-week process. They have separated the candidates based on their interviews, and so now we should see if the Eagles have other candidates in mind to interview or if they start a second round of interviews with those that they really like.

I don't know who has interviewed better than others. I don't know who would be considered a "leader" at this point. I do know that the Eagles haven't interviewed anyone from the Patriots, 49ers or Ravens, and that both Mike Nolan and Keith Armstrong are tied up as they prepare for the NFC Championship Game on Sunday. The Eagles have the right to ask either or both for a second interview.

It seems clear to me that the Eagles are doing what they set out to do and that is to collect information, interview as many candidates as they have on their list and find as close to the perfect fit as they can find. FOX's Jay Glazer reported after Sunday's NFC playoff game that Seattle's Gus Bradley would have a second interview with the Eagles, but that hasn't been confirmed by anybody.

So, we're going to wait until something breaks. Which leads to the second question ...

When Is The Deadline For Bringing A New Coach Onboard?

There isn't one, of course. But there are some events ahead, starting with next week's Senior Bowl activities in Mobile, AL. That week is spent scouting some of the higher-caliber draft prospects -- seniors only -- and it's also a gathering of all those men who are out of work and who want to find a coaching job.

It would be nice to have the coaching story out of the way, done and sealed, by then, but it's not essential. Andy Reid and his staff did not regularly attend the Senior Bowl, a practice shared in other NFL cities.

So, while there is no true deadline, the Senior Bowl represents the first dig-in moment of an NFL offseason. That means you may see some of these six vacant head coaching jobs filled in the next week, which means that not only will head coaches come off the market, but assistants and coordinators will, too.

Why Is This Taking So Long?

When Jeffrey Lurie hired Andy Reid, the date was January 11, 1999. So from Lurie's standpoint, the two weeks gone by isn't a big deal at all. We're just all impatient, right?

The Eagles have, again, lost none of their candidates. Buffalo jumped in quickly and signed Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone, and then the Browns hired Rob Chudzinski from Carolina.

There is no doubt that the Eagles have devoted the last two weeks to interviews and to hitting every target on their candidate list.

Understand, too, that it's very difficult to entrust a huge job like this to a man based on one interview. Is there harm in having more conversations and in doing more research of the candidates? Are there suddenly a lot of the Eagles' candidates flying off the shelves?

Maybe this happens in the next week. Maybe it takes a little more time. All we can do is wait and expect the Eagles to bring in the right man. And in the end, that's all that matters, right? That the Eagles bring in the right head coach?

I think it's fairly safe to believe that this will happen prior to the Super Bowl. There are roster decisions to be made in the days following the Super Bowl, and it's important to give the new head coach some time to learn the roster and make some informed decisions.

Have The Eagles Been Thrown Off Track At All?

The Eagles didn't go into the process expecting to have one or two interviews and then make a quick hire. They wanted to exhaust the process, poke and prod and investigate and perform their due diligence. They want to find the right head coach, not make a quick signing just for the sake of finishing the process.

Yes, they showed interest in some high-profile college head coaches and why wouldn't they do that? They knew those coaches were likely to stay put. No harm in looking and talking and learning, right?

The Eagles think they are in a very, very good place. They've interviewed enough candidates to know that one coach is better suited to what they're looking for than another they've talked to, etc. They have an educated, informed and well-organized ranking of the candidates to whom they've spoken.

So, no, the Eagles haven't been thrown off track. The fans may be getting a little antsy and the media want to end this process now instead of going through the daily drudgery of digging up stories, but the Eagles feel they are in a good place.

At the end of the day, finding the right head coach is all that matters. And the Eagles have a wide swath of information available to them. The Eagles control their destiny here, to borrow a phrase. They know exactly what they're doing and they know exactly what they want in a candidate and as much as it pains us all, we have to see who the Eagles chose to be the next head coach, however long that may take.

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