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No Need For Worry, Eagles Fans

Posted Jan 12, 2013

Maybe you expected the hire to be done by now. Maybe you thought the Eagles were going to go out and target someone quickly and get their man. That it hasn't happened that way doesn't lessen the expectation of hiring the right man for the job ...

We're nearly two weeks into the search and the Eagles have gone to great lengths to map out their lists of candidates and spend the appropriate time talking to those men and learning all about them.

We learned on Saturday night that Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly would remain in college, and the Eagles issued a statement acknowledging that they had talked with "the best collegiate candidates for our head coaching job" understanding going into the process that those coaches -- reported to have been Penn State's Bill O'Brien, Oregon's Chip Kelly and Brian Kelly -- were very likely to remain at their respective Universities.

Had the Eagles made the college head coaches their only interviews, and had they given a blind eye to the rest of what Chairman/CEO said was a "very deep" coaching talent pool, I would understand the sense that the clock is ticking on the Eagles' head coaching search and that it would be natural for a fan to feel a slight twinge of "panic," for lack of a better term.

But that's not the case. The Eagles have been all over this from the moment Andy Reid's time ended as head coach. They have gone to great lengths to canvass the list of prospects and to research those men.

As I see it, that talent pool remains deep. Only the Buffalo Bills, who hired Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone, and the Cleveland Browns, who hired Carolina offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, have completed the process.

And who of you out there had either Marrone or Chudzinski on your must-have list?

From this perspective, the search goes on with a great deal of confidence. The team reportedly met with Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley on Saturday -- no confirmation here, just going by the reports -- and the Eagles are scheduled to meet with Cincinnati offensive coordinator Jay Gruden on Monday and reportedly are speaking with Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians on Tuesday.

It's fair to wonder what will make Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman and team president Don Smolenski have their "wow" interview and know that they've found their next head coach. I'm sure the trio has arranged the list of candidates based on the interviews and the strengths each man brings to the table. And I'm sure that there are some capable potential head coaches to whom the Eagles have spoken.

I'm actually pleased that the Eagles didn't fall in love quickly. They have taken a very balanced, aggressive and intelligent approach. Their list of candidates remains extremely robust. It's going to happen, gang, and thanks for your patience and your optimism.

So who is it going to be? I can honestly say that I haven't clue about where Lurie/Roseman/Smolenski are going here. I'm not sure who interviewed well, or who slid down the list based on the impressions made. I know that the Eagles have a complete list of data to digest and they have the field at their disposal to make a choice.

When will the Eagles decide? Not sure of that, either. It could be next week or it could drag deep into the playoff season.

Frankly, the timing isn't a concern to me. Finding the right man is what matters here. And that, I have full belief, is going to happen. I think the Eagles know exactly what they want and they know the difference between a "solid" candidate and a "special" candidate. This is Lurie's third coaching search, and he knows there is no tried-and-true timeline to follow. You hire when you've found the right man.

The wait, then, continues for all of us. The Eagles haven't found the right man. They've explored the collegiate ranks and the NFL ranks and they continue to ponder the possibilities.

We are reminded, then, of what Lurie said at the end-of-season press conference when asked what he wanted in his next head coach.

"I think the most important thing is to find the right leader. I'm not one who wants to buy schemes, wants to buy approaches that are necessarily finite. What you've got to find is somebody who is strategic," said Lure. "Somebody who is a strong leader. Somebody who is very comfortable in his own skin. That, to me, is probably one of the one or two top traits because players today see right through if you're not. If you're a salesman coach, that's not going to work.

"Somebody who is completely comfortable in his role and in who they are as a person, that's the most important thing. But there are a lot of other characteristics that go into it. How well does the person hire? Is he going to surround himself with strong coordinators and good assistant coaches? In this league, that's one of the most underrated aspects. If you don't hire the best around you, they may not be name coaches but you've got to hire great teachers and strong coordinators, I think you're operating at a disadvantage and I'm looking for that.

"I'm looking for someone that's innovative. Somebody that is not afraid to take risks. Somebody that looks (at) and studies the league and studies the college world and decides what the best inefficiencies are on offense and defense and special teams and can execute it with their coaches so that you take advantage of trends and take advantage of, again, inefficiencies in terms of where the game is at and understand where it's going.

"So, a student of the game who is obsessed and who absolutely and, on his own, is completely driven to be the best, that's what you're looking for."

It hasn't happened yet. The Eagles haven't yet found their man. But understand that it's going to happen. Plenty of good candidates are out there, and the Eagles are going to find their man. It may not have gone to date the way you imagined it would, this coaching search, but that doesn't mean it's time to worry.

It just means we have to hang in there a bit longer to find out where this long and winding road ends for the Eagles in their search for the right next head coach.

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