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Eagles Moving Forward On Search

Posted Jan 6, 2013

The twists and turns in the Eagles' coaching search continue as the team gets ready for an important week of interviews and, potentially, decision making to narrow the answer for the 21st head coach in franchise history ...

The weekend-long dance with Chip Kelly ended late on Sunday night when Kelly informed the Eagles that he was staying at Oregon and, hey, that's his call. Kelly has now rebuffed interest from the NFL twice, so it's going to be interesting to see if any team knocks on his door a third time in the future. He's not in our world, so good luck to him.

There really isn't much to say about Kelly. The Eagles flew out to Arizona on Saturday and spent a reported nine hours with him and no doubt had a good, productive talk with him. Certainly, there had to be some thought that Kelly was thinking more about staying at Oregon -- the Eagles totally understood the situation with Kelly going in -- and nobody in the Eagles' camp seems all that disappointed that Kelly is to remain at Oregon.

Meanwhile, the Eagles have their list and they're going to continue to search until they find the right fit. Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy met with Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman and Don Smolenski on Sunday in Denver, and then the Eagles flew back to Philadelphia to pore over their notes and discuss next steps.

At this point, the Eagles have spent time with McCoy, Atlanta defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and Falcons special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong. They will schedule talks this week with Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, who is preparing his impressive Seahawks defense for a playoff game in Atlanta, and Indianapolis offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who missed Sunday's Colts loss in Baltimore because of an illness.

To be determined is the status of Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, whom the Eagles have requested to speak with but had yet (as of Sunday night) to hear back from Cincinnati. Gruden is scheduled to meet with the Cardinals about their opening.

It would appear that the list of college candidates is gone -- Bill O'Brien is staying at Penn State and Kelly is staying at Oregon -- so the Eagles will choose from among a talented group of assistant coaches and coordinators currently in the NFL. There may be other candidates on the list, but it would seem, as we judge and over-analyze every move, that the Eagles will pick from Nolan, Armstrong, McCoy, Bradley, Arians and Gruden.

Then again, there could be other names in the mix that have yet to surface to the forefront. Jon Gruden's status is that he is an ESPN star and there hasn't been even the slightest indication that the Eagles are interested, but he's worth a mention here just because he has been a topic for so long. Same with former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher, who hasn't even had his name whispered down the lane. Lovie Smith is gaining some interest around the league, but his name hasn't been associated with the Eagles. Greg Roman, who has had so much success with San Francisco's offense, hasn't been interviewed for any of the openings around the league.

Nolan. Armstrong. McCoy. Bradley. Arians. Gruden.

Anybody else?

I don't pretend to know. The Eagles have been very forthcoming with their goings-on during the week since Andy Reid's coaching tenure ended, and the names above are the names that have been publicly on the team's list. 

Who is the favorite? Your guess is as good as mine. Who has stood out among those the Eagles have interviewed? Again, that is something that only Lurie, Roseman and Smolenski know, for they are the only ones in the room with the candidate.

There are still five openings in the league -- San Diego, Cleveland, Chicago, Arizona and Philadelphia. Kansas City hired Andy Reid and Buffalo has reportedly come to terms with Doug Marrone from Syracuse.

The one we care about is here, and my guess is that we will have an answer within the next week. Of course, how the playoffs unfold could complicate the process, but the Eagles have a timetable here and they intend to stick with it. They know what they want. Lurie has outlined his qualifications, and he won't waver from them.

This is a huge week of interviews ahead as the Eagles look for their man. Who is he? I don't know. Maybe he is on the above-mentioned list. Maybe he's a name from another direction. He's out there, and the Eagles are working hard to find him and bring him to Philadelphia.

 

 

 

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