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Eagles' search for new coach could take awhile

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Eagles' search for new coach could take awhile

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Jeffrey Lurie's search for the Philadelphia Eagles' next coach began before he fired Andy Reid and could last until the Super Bowl.

While the Eagles were struggling toward a 4-12 finish, Lurie ``meticulously and in great detail'' researched potential successors to replace a coach that won more games than any other in franchise history.

Reid, however, didn't win a Super Bowl and the team still is seeking its first NFL title since 1960. Lurie considers the Vince Lombardi Trophy his ``obsession.''

So, the pressure's on to find a coach who can deliver that elusive championship.

``The important thing is to find the right coach, not to make the fastest decision,'' Lurie said. ``That's our priority.''

The Eagles already have lined up interviews with three assistant coaches on the Atlanta Falcons: Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and special teams coach Keith Armstrong. The Falcons (13-3) are the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs and have a bye this week.

Other NFL assistants that are likely on Lurie's ``very defined list'' include Denver's Mike McCoy, San Francisco's Greg Roman and Vic Fangio, Cincinnati's Jay Gruden and Mike Zimmer, Seattle's Gus Bradley, Green Bay's Ben McAdoo, and Arizona's Ray Horton. Bruce Arians, who was 9-3 as interim coach with Indianapolis, is another candidate.

Oregon's Chip Kelly may be the most sought-after coach from the college ranks, and he's said to be atop Philadelphia's list. Penn State's Bill O'Brien would be more attractive if it weren't for the $9 million buyout in his contract.

``I think the most important thing is to find the right leader,'' Lurie said. ``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, 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.''

Fans hoping the Eagles make a big splash and hire a high-profile coach like Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden are probably going to be disappointed. Lurie downplayed ``famous'' names and pointed to Reid as an example of an unknown coach who had tremendous success after getting his first chance.

When Lurie hired Reid in 1999, he was never a coordinator. Reid coached quarterbacks and offensive linemen in Green Bay under Mike Holmgren.

``Somebody who is completely comfortable in his role and in who they are as a person, that's the most important thing,'' Lurie said. ``But there's 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.''

Reid assembled a strong coaching staff in Philadelphia, especially in the first half of his tenure. Six of his assistants became head coaches: Brad Childress (Minnesota), John Harbaugh (Baltimore), Leslie Frazier (Minnesota), Ron Rivera (Carolina), Pat Shurmur (Cleveland) and Steve Spagnuolo (St. Louis).

Harbaugh has reached the playoffs in each of his five seasons with the Ravens. Frazier has the Vikings in the playoffs in his second full year. Childress took Minnesota to the NFC championship in 2009.

``I'm looking for someone that's innovative, somebody that is not afraid to take risks, somebody that looks and studies the league and studies the college world,'' Lurie continued ``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.''

This is the third time Lurie will hire a coach since he bought the Eagles from Norman Braman in 1995. His first hire was Ray Rhodes. He took the Eagles to the playoffs his first two seasons and lasted four years.

Reid led the Eagles to nine playoffs appearances, six division titles, five NFC championship games and one Super Bowl loss.

``Once you've experienced the success we've had, it makes you just realize that there's nothing more that you want than a Super Bowl, and to deliver that to our fans,'' Lurie said. ``I'm very confident that we can attract a very good head coach, and he's going to attract a very good staff. We have the people in place to work with them to be very, very impressive in terms of the future.''

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EA Sports pauses scheduled preview of Madden NFL 2021: 'This is bigger than a game'

EA Sports pauses scheduled preview of Madden NFL 2021: 'This is bigger than a game'

EA Sports will not preview its Madden NFL 2021 game on Monday as originally planned,  the company announced on Sunday.

The reason for the decision stems from the ongoing protests and civil unrest in cities across the country following the death of George Floyd, the Minneapolis man who died last week after police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes.

Understanding the gravity of the situation, EA Sports will wait to release its first look at the game, wanting to keep focus on helping others at this time. A new date for the unveiling was not given. Madden '21 will be released on next-generation gaming consoles later in the year. 

"We stand with our African American / Black community of friends, players colleagues and partners," the EA Sports statement said. "Our immediate attention is on actions we can take to drive change against the unjust treatment and systemic bias that is plaguing the nation and our world."

"We'll find another time to talk football with you. Because this is bigger than a game, bigger than sports, and needs all of us to stand together and commit to change."

Whenever the cover is officially announced, it will feature Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. The 2019 NFL MVP prematurely broke that news during a conference call with media in late April.

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What Roger Goodell said about death of George Floyd, protests

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What Roger Goodell said about death of George Floyd, protests

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sent condolences to the family of George Floyd, a black man killed in Minneapolis by a police officer and said that there is much more work to be done in the NFL and our communities in a statement issued Saturday.

His statement: 

"The NFL family is greatly saddened by the tragic events across our country. The protesters' reactions to these incidents reflect the pain, anger and frustration that so many of us feel.

"Our deepest condolences go out to the family of Mr. George Floyd and to those who have lost loved ones, including the families of Ms. Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and Mr. Ahmaud Arbery, the cousin of Tracy Walker of the Detroit Lions.

"As current events dramatically underscore, there remains much more to do as a country and as a league. These tragedies inform the NFL's commitment and our ongoing efforts. There remains an urgent need for action. We recognize the power of our platform in communities and as part of the fabric of American society. We embrace that responsibility and are committed to continuing the important work to address these systemic issues together with our players, clubs and partners."

Goodell's statement came a day after an op-ed was published by former NFL spokesperson Joe Lockhart calling for an NFL team to sign Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback who lost his spot in the league after kneeling in protest of police brutality and inequality in America. Many, including LeBron James, have cited Kaepernick's message - and the consequences he suffered for delivering it - throughout the unrest and response to Floyd's death.

"Do you understand NOW!!??!!??" James wrote on Instagram with a side by side photo of Kaepernick kneeling during a game and a police officer kneeling on Floyd's neck. "Or is it still blurred to you??"

In a statement to Pro Football Talk in response to Lockhart's article, current NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said that Kaepernick is a free agent. “Clubs may sign him if they choose to do so," he said.

McCarthy also pointed to the work that the league has done with its Inspire Change social justice initiative, which has included millions in grants to non-profits around the country.