Let's start with the obvious stuff. This season has been the copyrighted dictionary definition of “lousy” and practically everyone from position coaches upward is fair game to get fired with a swift kick to the backside (if they haven't already). So naturally, a lot of names are popping up – potential head coaches, new coordinators, free agents to target, potential draft choices. I'd like to do things differently – rather than trot out a bunch of names, I'd like to focus on the type of choices that might be good ideas for the Eagles as a whole, given their current personnel and playing style.
The first place to start is the head coach, because obviously he's the guy who has a large part of the say on choices to make in terms of coordinators, position coaches, and players.
Head Coach Specifications
Let's be realistic, so no “somebody who's already won a Super Bowl”. Besides, no coach has ever won a Super Bowl with two different teams. I'd prefer someone with a winning record as a head coach overall (or at least over his past 3-5 years as a head coach) and whose teams have shown strong defenses. The reason for the latter part of the sentence is because I feel like in recent years, defense has been more of a weakness for the Eagles than offense.
Otherwise, I'd recommend an experienced defensive coordinator who has shown the ability to put together consistent top-10 defenses. I wouldn't recommend a DC who has a proven bad track record as a head coach (so no defensive equivalents of Mohrningweg).
I'd even consider a college head coach with proven achievements who has consistently put together top defenses if he has NFL experience as a defensive position coach or defensive coordinator and is considered to have done a good job there. I don't want somebody who was successful in the NCAA but for whom the NFL would be a culture shock, so no spread offense or wishbone guys.
Defensive Coordinator Specifications
The Eagles play a 4-3 and have invested in some solid young 4-3 personnel (Graham, Cox, Thornton, Landri, Hunt, possibly Curry). The wide-9 may have become an outdated gimmick, but that doesn't mean throw out everyone who's played on the DL. Also, the linebackers are starting to improve with the addition of Ryans and the growth of Kendricks. Therefore, I wouldn't recommend a “3-4 only” guy who would want to overhaul all the personnel and would require some serious adjustment time. Washburn has proven that he was a rectal cancer, but that doesn't mean every idea he had was wrong: the defensive line rotation scheme is something I think should be retained.
What I would go for in a DC is a 4-3 guy who has shown his ability to develop young linebackers. Considering this year's secondary, I should probably say “and defensive backs”. A 4-3 guy who has positive experience (as in, he did it and it worked) with mixed fronts and hybrid schemes would be a further plus. Also, I would want a DC whose defenses have performed well against both the run and the pass – no sense in bringing in a new guy who already has a definite weakness. Cue Captain Obvious: somebody who will make these players (or whichever ones are drafted or brought in) into good tacklers.
Offensive Coordinator Specifications
Cue Captain Obvious again: balanced attack. To get more specific: Shady and Bryce have shown that the running attack is going to be a strength for this team going forward. However, this team is going to need to develop a young quarterback, whether that's Foles or somebody who's going to get drafted. Even if a franchise quarterback is brought in and does well, a few years down the line a young guy is going to need to take over (you can't assume that there will always be the right free agent QB available and that you'll bag him every time). So what am I looking for: an OC who has shown his ability to develop young quarterbacks but also understands the importance of the running game. I could go for a QB coach who's clearly closely connected with the development of some currently successful QB or QB's if he's worked for teams that also had good running games.
Special Teams Coach Specifications
I'd prefer somebody who's shown he can put together good NFL special teams squads and develop consistent returners. The ideal would be a guy who's shown that he can use special teams as a way to develop players into better contributors on offense and defense as well. Actually, I would mind a college guy less in this position than in any other because I think less adjustment is required from college ball to NFL special teams (although if I'm dead wrong about that, go ahead and tell me).
So, do you think there are names out there to fit these specifications? Or what do you think of this approach? Got someone specific or something different to recommend? Go for it.