The Eagles coaching search has been too limited, but there is one upside to that: the fewer candidates you interview, the fewer poor candidates you have to choose from to be your next head coach. Every year around the league teams are interviewing coaches who the should otherwise stay away from. This year is no different.
in alphabetical order
Jon Gruden, Monday Night Football player liker
Despite being out of coaching for seven years, Jon Gruden remains an extremely popular name thanks to his job as a Monday Night Football announcer. He shouldn't be. Gruden never won another playoff game again after winning the Super Bowl, which isn't bad since he won the Super Bowl. But to put it another way, after his first year with the Buccanneers, Gruden went 45-51 with two playoff appearances and no wins. In his 11 years as a head coach in Tampa and Oakland, his teams have drafted and developed just five Pro Bowlers, and three of them were special teamers. Ten years ago if you were in a win now mode with a veteran team, he'd be a fine guy to show interest in. Today, he's just a guy who is popular because he's on TV a lot.
Dirk Koetter, Buccanneers offensive coordinator
The Eagles apparently showed some interest early on in Koetter, but with the Buccanneers firing Lovie Smith to seemingly promote Koetter, that interest waned. Which it should have. Koetter has some good seasons on his resume, but as we said in our profile of him, they are too far and too far between, and his tenure as head coach at Arizona State was mediocre.
Doug Marrone, Jaguars offensive line coach
When Jeffrey Lurie explained why he fired Chip Kelly and what he was looking for in a head coach, he nailed shut the coffin on Chip Kelly's NFL head coaching career when he said that he was looking for someone with "emotional intelligence." Doug Marrone has even less of it than Kelly does. As the Bills head coach in 2013 and 2014, Marrone reportedly called himself "Saint Doug" because it took a miracle to win at Syracuse (which he did inconsistently) and it would take another miracle to win in Buffalo. He had explicative laden shouting matches with the front office that required physical restraint and basically taunted his superiors to fire him. He quit the Bills using a contractual out clause and notified his players via text message, which is a half a step above Bobby Petrino leaving a letter on their lockers, and left Syracuse by burning similar bridges. At Syracuse, his alma mater, he left for Buffalo without telling any of his players and took seven of his ten assistants with him, leaving the remaining staff scrambling to recruit and costing the Orange three verbal commitments. Marrone thought he had himself halfway in the door to be the Jets coaching job last year, but his interview with them reportedly went badly, and he had to settle for being the offensive line coach for the Jaguars. If you're looking for a strategic thinker and strong leader and communicator with emotional intelligence, Doug Marrone is so far from the pack that Eagles fans should hope the Giants hire him.
Josh McDaniels, Patriots offensive coordinator and Matt Patricia, Patriots defensive coordinator
It may be stereotyping to say that teams should stay away from Bill Belichick Patriots assistants (some of his Cleveland assistants have done extremely well), but none of them have had any real success. Charlie Weis' "decided schematic advantage" at Notre Dame saw him never have a winning season after the core he inherited graduated, and then he somehow managed to do even worse in Kansas. Romeo Crennel and Eric Mangini were deservedly fired from two head coaching jobs, and Bill O'Brien just got steamrolled in the playoffs after "winning" the AFC South. And then there's Josh McDaniels, whose scorched Earth policy decimated the Broncos in less than two years. The Eagles just fired a coach who was in over his head on personnel, repeatedly got out coached and was disliked by many within his organization by the end, hiring the guy who made it an art form would be insane. As for Patricia, he, like McDaniels before him, and save for one season Mangini and Crennel, has spent his entire NFL coaching career before becoming a head coach under Belichick. Patricia may be the one to buck the trend, but until he can be evaluated outside of the shadow of Belichick, teams should pass on him.
Sean McDermott, Panthers defensive coordinator
McDermott is a popular choice among many Eagles fans today, but his firing from the Eagles in 2010 was even more popular. McDermott was in over his head during his time as defensive coordinator in Philly, alienating players and turning one of the best defenses in the league in 2008 into one of the worst in 2009 and 2010. He completely changed the philosophy from Jim Johnson's blitz happy ways to one that relied heavily on zone coverage. He's somewhat rehabilitated his image in Carolina, but has done so under the watch of Ron Rivera, himself an excellent coach and successful defensive coordinator. Despite his pleas to appeal to Jeffrey Lurie, only the Browns and Bucs have showed any interest.
Mike Smith, unemployed
The New York Giants, who blew multiple 10+ point and fourth quarter leads this season, have interviewed former Falcons coach Mike Smith, who's multiple 10+ point and fourth quarter leads in 2013 and 2014 got him fired. The first coach with back to back winning seasons in Falcons history, Smith looked to be quite the find by Atlanta early in his tenure. He was aggressive on fourth down and got more than the sum of his parts when Atlanta was the top seed in 2010 and reached the NFC Championship Game in 2012. Then the wheels completely came off. In 2012 he became more conservative, which coupled with the continued struggles of the Falcons running game after Michael Turner lost his effectiveness, meant the bottom fell out. He was out of coaching entirely in 2015.
It's usually not a good thing to need a new coach. But some choices are better than others. The Eagles may be searching with blinders, but at least they're not putting themselves in a position to be wowed by a good interview with a coach who doesn't warrant one.