Hours after he fired Doug Pederson, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said he wasn’t going to rush to hire his next head coach.
He wasn’t kidding.
“If we find a head coach soon or it's early February, it's totally great,” Lurie said on Jan. 11. “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.”
Lurie has stayed true to his word and he’s stayed true to his process. To say the Eagles have cast a wide net would be an understatement. Today, they’ll interview their 10th candidate for the head coaching job and they’ve been linked to even more.
While it might be frustrating and it might seem like this coaching search lacks direction, Lurie is doing exactly what he wanted to do. He’s having an exhaustive coaching search and he’s not rushing it.
And at this point, what’s the harm?
If the Eagles were really after hot candidates Robert Saleh and Arthur Smith — both of whom they interviewed — then sure, go ahead and hurry up the process so you don’t lose out. That’s exactly what the Chargers did to make sure they didn’t lose Brandon Staley.
But now that there are just two teams left without coaches, there really isn’t any harm in taking a measured approach and meeting with as many candidates as possible. It seems like the Eagles’ top choices are not candidates for the job opening in Houston, which is the only other one left. So there’s not much reason to fear the Texans’ swooping in.
If the Eagles ever find out their top guy is also on the Texans’ radar, then sure, move faster. For now, though? Go through the process.
If the Eagles need to spend a little extra time vetting Josh McDaniels? Take it.
If they find the need to have a second interview with any of the 10 guys they’ve interviewed? Schedule it.
If they want to make sure Duce Staley can put together a top notch staff? Find out.
If none of these 10 guys impress them? Keep looking.
During this coaching search I’ve made plenty of jokes on Twitter — yes, they’re still jokes if I’m the only one laughing — about just how exhaustive this search has been. It seems like the Eagles are interviewing anyone who has ever held a football. But Lurie has been pretty good at hiring head coaches before. All four he’s hired since buying the team in 1995 have had success.
If you don’t like the names of candidates you’ve heard within the last week, I understand that too. But an unpopular coaching hire doesn’t make it a bad one. Heck, Pederson wasn’t a very popular decision in 2016 and he helped deliver the first Lombardi Trophy to the city.
Maybe the search is different this time. Maybe the Eagles never expected to be in this situation because they never expected to fire Pederson in the first place. After all, they fired him over a week after the season ended and got a later start than the six other teams. That doesn’t help in coaching searches. But now that we’ve reached this point, the Eagles should be taking their time … within reason.
The Eagles’ strategy to not rush this hire is a valid one but they don’t want to draw it out too long either. The next head coach needs time to put together his assistant coaching staff in Philly and will want to give his current team plenty of time to replace him. Not to mention, free agency and the draft are coming up in March and April.
But for now, I really don’t have a problem with the Eagles’ taking their time and interviewing as many candidates as possible. The only thing that matters is that they find the right guy.
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