Each week Patrick and Dave discuss the week that was and will be. It's Two Guys Internetting Football!
Patrick: Happy new year, buddy! The awful, awful 2015 season is almost over, and we get to ring in the new year with a coaching search and a whole lotta questions.
I guess we should start with the obvious. Chip is gone, and I think you and I may have been in the blogosphere minority in feeling like it was the right move. So instead of rehashing reactions, let's look ahead - what are you looking for in a new head coach?
Personally I was happy to hear Jeffery Lurie say that they won't rule out any kind of coach. Obviously actions will speak louder than those words, but I think the worst thing you can do in a search like this is to let past biases prevent you from hiring the right person.
Dave: Happy New Year Patrick!
Looks like Jeffrey Lurie took "should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?" pretty seriously. *rimshot*
Lurie has to do what he said he evaluated Chip on when he fired him, and that is look at the whole picture and not get swept away by a singular season or outcome. In other words, "hot coordinators" need not apply. They don't work out anyway.
Most coaches don't work out no matter their background and resume though. It's really hard to find a good coach. Lurie says he wants a strong leader and communicator, but then everyone wants that. How do you even properly judge that with a stranger? Anyone who has hired people knows that interviews aren't always an accurate reflection of a person's ability to do the job. League wide perception and word of mouth is an even worse indicator. Every year pretty much every coach who is hired is praised for his leadership, and nearly every one of them stinks as a head coach. Being a head coach in the NFL is the perfect illustration of the Peter Principle.
But there are some criteria we can ask a coach to have just to get to the interview stage. I want a coach who has a track record of both developing young players and getting good seasons out of veterans. There's a decent amount of right time, right place for coaches, but if you're having first and second year players progress and veterans who have been around the block having strong years, you're probably doing something right.
I want a coach who has been to the playoffs with multiple teams, as it would be an indication that he was a reason for success rather than just be along for the ride. And by being part of different successful teams, he would have some diverse experiences that influenced him and a solid group of former coworkers to pool from for assistants. Speaking of diverse experiences, I would prefer someone with some time as a college coach, which many coaches have, but it's not a deal breaker.
I used to be against hiring former NFL head coaches, but Tony Dungy, Tom Coughlin, Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick have won five of the last ten Super Bowls, and Carroll, Belichick, John Fox got to five and lost. I know these aren't the most specific criteria, but I think you've got to cast a wide net these days. If you only look at three or four guys, your chances of missing are pretty good.
We are you looking for in the next coach?
Patrick: I want a coach with a short skirt and a long jacket.
But seriously, folks. The reason I was so on board with the Chip Kelly hire was because of the "program" he wanted to put in place. To me, that program was supposed to be a structure that would emulate the glory days of the Andy Reid era - essentially, a sign that said "This Is How Things Are Done In Philadelphia." Unfortunately, what we got was the classic "be careful what you wish for" instead.
But! I still like that idea. Ultimately, you want a coach with a clear vision. When I look around the league and see coaches like whoever happens to be coaching in Tampa Bay or Cleveland in any given year, I see a coaching philosophy hovering somewhere in the realm of "don't get fired". Nah, son. I don't want that.
And nor do I think Lurie wanted that, which is why the firing of Chip is even more striking. Forget all that nonsense about owners not having the patience to cultivate a talent like Belechick - the Patriots got so insanely, improbably lucky on the two most important positions on a football team that trying to learn anything is like pointing to the Minnesota Timberwolves and saying "See, Sam Hinkie?! THAT is what you should be doing!"
All of this is to say that I would like the following: I want an offensive coach. I want to see the Eagles hire someone with a proven track record of improving quarterbacks. I want someone who is willing to be a collaborator but also knows how they want things done. I want someone younger. I want someone who can adjust on the fly and who understands how to delegate. Unfortunately for us on the outside, very few of these things are immediately clear. Even for the head coaching committee, it's going to be tough. Which is another reason I think Lurie let go of Chip when he did. Gathering the facts takes time, and with the exception of the Titans and Dolphins, the Eagles have a head start on the other handful of teams expected to fire their coaches.