Well, that’s all she wrote, folks.
After yet another pathetic performance (one in which there appeared to be a glimmer of hope following the gorgeous bomb Nick Foles threw—did you feel the increased level of excitement and confidence there? I know I did) it’s all but over for Andy Reid here in Philly. It’s Reid’s first five-game losing streak in his 14 years in this city, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time.
As much as we’d all love to see some severe changes made rather quickly, that’s not going to happen—unless things get so ugly that Mr. Lurie has no other option. Like I’ve mentioned before, the respect level for Reid in football-land is far too high for Lurie to axe the long-time head coach midway through the season.
The other victim of this mess, unfortunately, is going to be Michael Vick. Boo-birds have been raining just as heavily on Vick as they have been on Reid, but not deservedly so if you ask me. Sure, Vick takes far too much time to get rid of the ball, but about 2.9 of the 3.12 seconds is spent running for his life. Nevertheless, the Eagles are scheduled to pay Vick $16 million next year, $3 million of which is guaranteed if he’s still on the roster three days after the Super Bowl. He’ll be shown the exit along with the man who gave him a second chance at a football career.
So while Reid tries to end his tenure in Philly with some sort of dignity, let’s take a moment to think about what the years ahead might look like. Who exactly could this team turn to in order to right the ship? There are a few better than average options out there, and to be honest, I’d be happy with anything else right now.
He’s already the leading candidate of candidates for the future candidate list. Reports have been flying left, right, up, and down about Gruden landing in Philly if when the Eagles fire Andy. Gruden has always hinted that he’s more than interested in a return to the sidelines, so this move makes perfect sense. (It’s also convenient that Gruden’s son, Deuce, recently started at Lafayette College, a shortish drive north of the city.)
Chuckie may have made the first move in this courtship in a recent interview with Sam Farmer of the LA Times. Gruden was asked who the next rookie QB to emerge would be, and he had this to say:
I had [Philadelphia’s] Nick Foles in the preseason against New England. Michael Vick got hurt on the fifth or sixth play, and Foles went the distance, on the road in Foxborough. If you like prototype pocket passers with some functional mobility and a tremendous amount of toughness, Foles is interesting.
What really impressed me in the preseason was they weren’t running generic formations. They ran about 30 different formations out of about eight different personnel groupings in successive plays. So I see him recognizing coverages.
I see him getting to second and third receivers, just like you’d want a quarterback to do in that system, and I love his NFL size. He reminds me a lot of Brad Johnson, from his football character to his ability to decipher a lot quickly, and we won a championship with Brad.
Gruden, a former Super Bowl-winning coach, would bring a no-B.S. attitude to this city that the fans are craving. The current system, at least as I see it, is too lackadaisical. There’s no emotion. That’s exactly what he would bring to this team and maybe would be the spark they need to get going. The talent is there, it’s just being underutilized, mismanaged, and plays with no motivation.
The Oregon Ducks’ head coach flirted with the idea of moving to the NFL last year, before ultimately turning down the Tampa Bay job. Maybe a good move on his part since his Ducks are in the thick of the BCS title hunt. Imagine what a BCS title would do to his price tag.
So it only makes sense that the talks are once again heating up.
His spread offense approach might not adapt well to a majority of NFL offenses, but the pieces that are in place in Philly might make it the perfect situation. Kelly loves his gadget plays, utilizing speed, and taking risks. Having guys LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin would give Kelly so many options. Maybe he’s the guy who can maximize the talent.
Columnists and message-board fans have already dissected and debated the topic, and most agree that while the move would be a risky one—bringing in a coach who’s unproven at the professional level—for a team where not much is working at all, it might be one worth making.
Imagine the uproar this would cause in Pennsylvania-West?
But then think about how awesome this would be for the rest of the state.
There’s no other coach available with credentials like Cowher’s—except maybe Mike Ditka, but the chances he comes out of retirement are slimmer than Andy’s chances of remaining in this town. The Chin would bring a much-needed defensive focus.
(I hate to admit this, but) Joe Buck said it best during the Dallas game that the Eagles have been longing for someone to fill the gigantic empty shoes left behind by the late Jim Johnson. In the three and a half years since his passing, the Eagles have had four different defensive coordinators on the sideline. A head coach with a defensive focus could be exactly what this team needs.
NBC 10 points out something else of significant importance about Cowher: “[He’s] a great motivator and is highly underrated in his ability to hire a great staff underneath him. Folks like Ken Whisenhunt, Dick LeBeau, Russ Grimm, and countless others have served under Cowher, and his Steelers teams were always well coached, often getting far more out of their talent than other teams.” This stands in direct contrast to Reid’s entire tenure (with the exception of Johnson, of course).
The Eagles need motivation, and they need a better set of assistant coaches. Cowher would bring both to the table.
I’ll spend little time here, because it looks like Payton will be back in New Orleans.
But! Let’s say negotiations fall through. Then what? The Eagles would be stupid to not at least pose the possibility to the third Super Bowl-winning coach on our list.
Payton is an exceptional game manager (unlike Reid), knows how to run an offense (unlike Reid), and can motivate a team and city (guess what? Also unlike Reid).
It’s nice to dream.
More wishful thinking.
Joe Vitt, in Payton’s absence has done an incredible job turning the Saints season around. After an 0-4 start, the Saints are on a tear and just knocked off the remaining undefeated team in the league. In this semi-audition, he’s done a fantastic job leading his team through a difficult situation and brought them back into the playoff picture.
But again, with how invested he is in that team and city, I don’t think it’s very likely he leaves to go somewhere else right now.
Here’s an interesting one.
Kelly is in the midst of bringing the once-fading Irish team back to prominence. They’re one K-Sate or Oregon loss away from being in the BCS title-game talk.
So how about he comes and does that in Philly?
I think what I’ve been craving most out of head coach is some attitude. Kelly has that. While he admitted to going a bit too far in his first season, he hasn’t backed down much. His signature purple face—happens when he’s ripping into a ref or player—is fantastic. When Andy Reid gets flustered he just huffs, puffs, then has someone bring him a donut to make everything better.
Forget catering to your players and making them happy. If someone’s not performing, bench their ass, and let them have it. You’re paid to do a job in football, and if someone is not doing their job they should hear about it. Kelly would let them know. He’s got the cojones that Reid is lacking.
His smash-mouth offensive style might not be the best thing for the Eagles, so Kelly would have to adapt that to be successful with this team.
Who doesn’t love a blast from the past? I’ll let the folks from Camel Clutch Blog analyze why the current Ravens running back coach would be a great candidate:
Philly loves to bring back familiar names, from Mo Cheeks to Larry Bowa, so why not a try for Wilbert? He worked in St. Louis and prepped a few guys named Marshall Faulk, and Steven Jackson, perhaps you have heard of them? He is a student of Dick Vermeil as well, another plus for Philly fans. In his current position with Baltimore he is teaching the ropes to the very successful Ray Rice, so his track record of making premier backs speaks for itself. He could bring back some old time Eagles ball here, get some familiar names to join in and maybe even make this a fun team. Heck at least we won’t be asking “why don’t we run the ball”. Long shot, very long, but he deserves a shout out here.
It sucks that we have to wait at least two more months until something is done here, but it’ll be a nice healthy debate until then.
Which of the names above do you think makes the most sense? Or is there someone else out there that you think would be a better fit? Let us know in the comments.