The season is now over. What many had speculated has now come to pass: Chip Kelly is no longer the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. Whether it was his inability to adapt to certain players, as the story goes from many inside the locker room, his inflexibility with Jeffrey Lurie, or even his own hubris, no matter. The fact remains, Kelly is now gone. And, as Eagles fans, we are all left to hold what Kelly used as his own real-life fantasy football team.
So now, the search for a new coach begins. Duce Staley has already been interviewed. I’m sorry. Whenever I see him, all I can think of is the commercial he did where he says “She got to spell cat”. I don’t see head coaching material. Nor do I see it in Doug Pederson, the current offensive coordinator in Kansas City. And, the thought of bringing in a “re-tread” coach is simply not appealing to me.
I want a coach with fresh ideas on how to turn around this team. I want a coach that comes from the defensive side of the ball (sorry, Adam Gase). I want a coach to make this defense back into the mean, nasty unit it once was. In other words, I want Sean McDermott. But, until the Panthers are done playing, McDermott is off-limits. And, with the way they’ve been playing, it may be a while before the team can bring him in for an interview. This time, I don’t want to see the team go for the flashy, hot college coach, like David Shaw, Stanford, Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M, or Chris Pedersen, Washington. I want a coach that has coached at the professional level, and knows how to get things done at this level. I want a coach that’s mainly focused on coaching, and not on the personnel side of the team. Certainly, I want the coach to have some input on players, but I don’t want that person to be the final authority on the players.
Is it too much to ask to bring in proven personnel guys? Is it too much to ask someone like a Bill Polian to come aboard, even if it’s in just an advisory role, to assist the front office staff? Mainly, what I’d be looking for, in this position, is stability. Sure, you can come back with the fact that, unless you’re an owner, no job in the NFL truly has stability. But, in the past three seasons, we’ve all seen how the personnel side was treated. Cut Desean Jackson. Trade LeSean McCoy. Trade for Sam Bradford. Now, granted, people will say that Kelly never liked Nick Foles. But, last time I checked, before he got hurt, Foles led this team to the playoffs once, had a legendary game against Detroit, in the snow, and, had 6 TD passes in a game. He knew the system, and, most importantly, I really cannot stress this enough: he wasn’t afraid to throw it down the field! Are you hearing me, Sam Bradford, king of the checkdown? The trade for Bradford was simply asinine. The team could have the chance to have the 13th and the 45th best player in the draft next season, but, because of the trade, once the first round selection is made, start doing your homework for Round 3. You may be able to mask some things in free agency. Judging off last year’s foray into that market, I’d have to say it was a dismal failure. But again, get someone that knows personnel and how to manage a cap.
The transition is going to be difficult. I completely understand that. With malcontents such as DeMarco Murray and Jason Peters still on the team, with their respective enormous cap hit numbers, this will not be an easy transition, for whomever Lurie decides to hire. I’m hoping for someone with the courage to be able to stand up to these players, and let them know, they work for Lurie, not the other way around. Is this team in line for a playoff run next year? Doubtful, but, with this division, you never really can tell. But, with a possibility of having to do hard Knocks, and a trip to London, the Eagles will certainly have enough distractions to deal with just from that point.
I’m staying on the bandwagon. It’s been bad before. It can be good again. I just hope that the broom that Lurie wields does a good enough job to return this team back to the top of the NFC East.
Photo: Rob Carr-Getty Images