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Eagles: A Deep, Thorough Search

Posted Jan 4, 2013

Jeffrey Lurie's' intention isn't to take the first dive into the coaching pool, or to make the biggest splash. It's to prepare thoroughly, interview his extensive list of candidates and find the perfect man for the job ...

What's the most accurate way to assess the Eagles' strategy right now? It's fair to say that the Eagles are doing their homework and that they have their list of men they want to interview and that when Jeffrey Lurie finds his man, he's going to do what it takes to bring him to Philadelphia.

So, as Andy Reid gets a deal done in Kansas City -- an announcement was made on Friday night -- and as Cleveland reportedly reels in the big fish that is Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, the Eagles have a busy week ahead. We know that they have a scheduled meeting with Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy on Sunday, and Lurie, general manager Howie Roseman and team president Don Smolenski will fly to Denver and sit down with McCoy and learn all about him.

The team has also requested and has been granted permission to interview Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who won 9 of 12 games as the interim head coach this season when head coach Chuck Pagano was undergoing treatment for leukemia, and Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, who has built the Seahawks into one of the top defenses in the NFL.

Both Arians and Bradley are quality candidates with a wealth of coaching experience. They are fine leaders of men who have accomplished a great deal in the NFL, and it comes as no surprise that both are on the Eagles' list. How high they are on the list -- and for that matter where McCoy ranks and where the previous candidates -- Atlanta defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and Atlanta special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong -- rate on the Eagles' list remains to be seen.

Know this, though: Lurie will find the right head coach. He knows exactly what he wants. He wants a leader who can relate to the players and who can run a first-class football operation. He wants an innovative, confident mind who works well within the structure of the organization. He wants someone who can communicate effectively to the players, the coaching staff and the fan base. He wants a head coach who brings with him a strong supporting cast of coaches and administrators.

Lurie hasn't been in the coach-search game since 1999, so he isn't in a hurry to find the coach who is going to produce the flashiest headline. Lurie is out talking to prospective head coaches, all of them excellent football coaches, and learning about the new model of coach and what makes for the best practices in today's young and emerging coaches.

This isn't something Lurie wants to repeat in three or four or five seasons. He wants to find a head coach around whom the franchise can move forward for the next decade. You understand the strategy, then. Lurie isn't going to make a hasty decision, no matter how glitzy the name of the candidate.

I can't tell you which way this is headed. There are a lot of names being tossed around who are very intriguing, and the men who are the "confirmed" list come from divergent backgrounds and have a long list of positive attributes. Who else is out there? Syracuse's Doug Marrone is a name that's been thrown around. Cincinnati offensive coordinator Jay Gruden is going to get some consideration around the league. Former Bears head coach Lovie Smith is attracting interest.

The point is, there are a lot of candidates, a lot of worthy football coaches to consider. It's important that Lurie and the Eagles don't approach this with tunnel vision, that they instead open their minds to the Year Of The New Head Coach.

I interviewed Lurie early in the week and we talked about what he wanted, on camera and off camera. The word that kept repeating: Leader. Lurie wants the next head coach to take a team that bottomed out at 4-12 in 2012 and turn it around and keep it pointed in the right direction for years to come. He wants somebody who sees the big picture and who is the right guy for the City of Philadelphia.

It's going to happen, gang, so sit back and enjoy the process. This search is likely to take some twists and turns with the right man waiting at the finish line. Lurie and the Eagles won't have it any other way.

 

 

 

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