Eagles' head coaching search was high comedy


Eagles' head coaching search was high comedy

Well, that was a mess. When Jeff Lurie fired Chip Kelly before the final game of the season, he said part of the reason was to give the Eagles a “jump start” on hiring the next head coach. It took them 16 days to come up with Doug Pederson. Can you imagine how absurd the search would have gotten if they didn’t have that jump start?

Before we get to how they ended up stuck with Doug Pederson, let’s discuss Doug Pederson. For someone who still worships at the alter of Andy Reid, it’s not hard to imagine Lurie talking himself into one of Reid’s disciples. But even so, there weren’t a lot of people lining up to praise the good work of Pederson and hire him away from Kansas City. In fact, the list of teams looking to land Pederson was really short. It had only one name.

Just to be sure that no other teams had secretly interviewed Pederson or even thought about maybe/possibly considering him, I checked with a tapped-in football reporter friend of mine who’s been all over this story. Hey football friend, did anyone else consider interviewing Pederson? Football friend responded by laughing for a while. A long while. Then he said Springfield High. Then he added Salesianum, but for special teams. He wanted to make sure I spelled Salesianum right.

The Eagles are always good for an accidental laugh, but the unintentional comedy component to this search was significant even for them. So, yeah, Pederson is the guy. And when they hold the press conference, Lurie will swear Pederson was the guy they wanted all along (though he won’t be able to explain why they needed that jump start to get a guy no one else was after). But it sure didn’t look like they wanted Pederson to be the guy until they ended up with Pederson. In fact, it looked like they wanted a bunch of other guys to be the guy, but those guys turned them down. Sad face.

Thursday morning began with a report that the Eagles had “turned their attention” to former Giants head coach Tom Coughlin. He’s 69. He just got pushed out of New York. He had a losing record in three of his last four seasons. And he missed the playoffs each of the last four years. But at least the Eagles figured out they wanted him. The problem? The soon-to-be septuagenarian didn’t want them and withdrew his name from consideration.

Ouch. Getting snubbed by an older coach with few options at the end of his career has to hurt, but it wasn’t the only insult the Eagles absorbed in this process. Former Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase was the hot name league-wide when the search started. The Eagles brought him in. They reportedly liked him. He liked them less and signed with the Dolphins.

That’s two potential paramours who refused the Eagles’ courtship. Three if you believe the narrative in New York right now. The New York Daily News theorized that the Eagles wanted Ben McAdoo and the Giants “screwed the Eagles” by hiring him instead. CSN’s Derrick Gunn also said this week that the Eagles had “a lot of interest” in McAdoo.

Making matters worse (or funnier, depending on your perspective and your level of cynicism), not long after the Coughlin kerfuffle on Thursday, the 49ers hired He Who Shall Not Be Mentioned At The NovaCare Complex. Kelly, who had an absolute disaster of a year on just about every front from coaching to personnel decisions to how people perceive him, got a new job with the 49ers. Twitter had a good time with that. Philly Twitter is at its best at times when our teams are dysfunctional (and malfunction).

About that: Before the news about Pederson came down, word leaked that Ken Flajole accepted a job with the Eagles. He previously coached with Reid in Green Bay and Pat Shurmur in St. Louis, but the timing was so very Eagles. To interested observers and fans, it seemed like they hired an assistant before a head coach. The Eagles didn’t just botch the head coaching search, they botched how the information on that search was disseminated, which skewed the attendant public reaction.

When Pederson was ultimately revealed as the new head coach, Philly Twitter had a good time with that, too. If it’s true that you have to laugh to keep from crying, at least we have the Eagles to provide all these punchlines.

Why Eagles will miss joint practices this summer

Why Eagles will miss joint practices this summer

We learned two things on Tuesday night about the NFL’s restrictions for training camps this summer:

One is that NFL teams will reportedly be required to stay at their own facilities this summer. That won’t be a big deal for the Eagles who haven’t held training camp at Lehigh University since 2012. 

But the other probably will affect them. 

Based on a memo sent by commissioner Roger Goodell to all 32 teams on Tuesday night, joint practices will be prohibited this year. 

While this decree makes sense when we’re talking about limiting exposure during the COVID-19 age, it could throw a wrinkle in the Eagles’ summer plans. While we don’t know for sure that the Birds were going to hold joint practices, we do know Doug Pederson is quite fond of them. 

The Eagles practiced with the Dolphins in 2017 and the Ravens in 2019. The only reason they didn’t have joint practices in 2018 was because the schedule didn’t work out. 

And this year, an obvious joint practice opponent would have been the Patriots, who come to Philly for Week 3 of the preseason. The Patriots held joint practices from 2012-17 and held joint practices with two teams last summer. They practiced with the Eagles in 2013. 

The Patriots open their 2020 preseason schedule with the Lions and head coach Matt Patricia, their former defensive coordinator. They also held joint practices with the Lions last year too, so perhaps the Patriots would have practiced with them. But they could have held double joint practices again this year if allowed. 

The Eagles also open their preseason against Frank Reich’s Colts and then go to Miami for Week 2. They obviously have a history with Reich and they held joint practices with the Dolphins a few years ago. So there were plenty of options this summer. 

But you can forget all that. 

So what will change now that we know the Eagles can’t hold joint practices? 

Well, they’re probably going to have to play a little harder during the preseason, especially in the third preseason game. Historically, that third preseason game has been the dress rehearsal game. But last year, Pederson got a lot of that work in during the joint practices with the Ravens.

Pederson said coaches could actually evaluate better in joint practices than they could during preseason games. 

"Yeah, because in practice sometimes you don't get all the situations in a game that you'd like to see your players in," Pederson said last summer. "So practices, I can set practices up that way. I can set them up hard. I can set them up where we're in pads, or going live, whatever it might be that we can really get a true evaluation of a player.

"The only real change from a game to a practice is in a game you don't get to do it over. At least in a practice setting, if we make a mistake, we can line up and do it again, and so we can correct that mistake right away.  In preseason games, we can't do that. We get a little bit better evaluation in practice in that case."

Another element the Eagles will miss from joint practices is the break in monotony. It gets old facing your teammates in practice for five to six weeks and going against another team can provide a boost. 

For now, the Eagles are fully planning to begin their training camp at the NovaCare Complex in late July. They have held their entire offseason program virtually. Pederson has previously said the Eagles will need a full training camp to prepare for an on-time start to the 2020 season.

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How the NBA playoff schedule could create insane overlap with 2020 NFL season

How the NBA playoff schedule could create insane overlap with 2020 NFL season

The NBA's Board of Governors is expected to approve a 22-team proposal from NBA commissioner Adam Silver this week, bringing basketball back in late July after four and a half months off.

There's so much to unpack, but one of the more interesting nuances in the unique proposal is pretty clear.

This fall, the NBA will intersect with the NFL, and it will be wild.

The proposed date for a hypothetical Game 7 of the NBA Finals is scheduled for Oct. 12, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowksi, which is the final day of the NFL's Week 5:

That means, for five weeks, sports fans will toggle back and forth between meaningful NFL football and playoff basketball.

What if the Sixers somehow go on a deep playoff run? Could we be watching Sixers playoff games and early-season Eagles games on the same days?

Looking at the lengths of the most recent conference finals and NBA finals series, the Sixers would likely need to reach the conference finals in order to overlap with the Eagles' regular season games.

(I know that those who watched the Sixers' 2019-20 regular season can't imagine that scenario, but you never know.)

The 2019 NBA Finals was on pace to play seven games in 18 days, meaning a seven-game Finals series could possibly start on Sept. 25, two days before the Eagles host the Bengals in Week 3.

Last year, the league put five days between the conference finals and the NBA Finals, and the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals took 15 days to play six games. Could a seven-game Eastern Conference Finals start on Sept. 8 and end on Sept. 20, the same day the Eagles host the Rams? That, too, is possible.

Of course, this is simply going off what happened last year, when the league was operating normally and also building its schedule to account for travel days. Since this year's NBA playoffs will be held in one location, and without much wiggle room, the schedule might be a bit different.

I'd imagine everyone in charge of scheduling sports for late September and early October will try to keep the Finals aways from Sundays, meaning Philly sports fans' craziest scenario would be riding the high of a Game 4 NBA Finals victory (?) into a big Sunday Night Football road matchup with the 49ers.

Which would still be wild.

And this is all before you remember the Flyers will be playing playoff hockey this year, likely beginning their postseason in late July or early August, and a potential shortened MLB season could also be underway.

The picture will round into shape better when the playoffs actually begin and the series take shape. But after extended break, it seems September and October could be quite a time for sports fans.

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