Who Wants To Be Eagles Next Coach?
Hey, Lincoln Riley, want to give up that comfy Oklahoma job where you're a superstar and the most popular guy in the state to come coach the Eagles? What say you, rising NFL assistant coaches Robert Saleh and Brian Daboll? Ready to go all-in on the Eagles? The job sounds really attractive, right? As owner Jeffrey Lurie said Monday – and he's right – the Eagles have top-notch facilities, a plethora of resources and have made the postseason three times in the last four years, including and Super Bowl title.
It's an organization that's been known – until two Sundays ago – to prioritize winning, with an owner willing to sign big checks and provide necessary resources. This job has to be viewed favorably, no? Well, maybe not...
Let's examine some important obstacles facing the next head coach, issues that every coaching candidate will surely understand and ponder before deciding whether to accept. First, there's the quarterback situation, the sport's most important position. The next Houston Texans head coach knows the job comes with Deshaun Watson, who even in a four-win season managed to lead the NFL in passing yards and placed second only to Aaron Rodgers in passer rating. The next Lions coach will inherit Matt Stafford, a good enough quarterback to win with if there's enough support around him. Some feel Stafford is the game's most underrated quarterback, the victim of a dysfunctional organization. The next Jaguars coach will begin his tenure with Trevor Lawrence. The next Chargers coach has rising star Justin Herbert. The next Falcons coach can start with Matt Ryan, a former league MVP. What quarterback situation is the next Eagles coach walking into?
The next head coach will either be asked to rebuild Carson Wentz, who's coming off the worst statistical season of his career, a plummet that landed him on the bench after 12 games, or to push the reset button as the Eagles trade Wentz and move onto Jalen Hurts or another quarterback.
Lurie left the door open to anything Monday, saying it's not an owner's decision to decide on the quarterback. In fact, he referred to both of his starting quarterbacks from 2019 as "really interesting assets," a vague statement that leaves much to interpretation. Let's talk about resources, starting with money. The Eagles won't have any in 2021. The team is way, way over the cap and will need to say goodbye to several veterans just to be compliant. There won't be much money to commit in free agency to fill the many holes that will result from the roster purge or add depth at key positions. Allen Robinson isn't coming here. Neither is Justin Simmons. Lurie dismissed his team's unusual cap hell as "a one-year phenomena," and he's probably correct, but that doesn't make the situation for 2021 any better. Also, Lurie said that he's looking to turn over the roster and win at the same time. "I'm not somebody who is very satisfied, My personality is, even when we are winning, we can do a lot better," Lurie said. "My message to [defensive coordinator] Jim Schwartz after we won the Super Bowl was, ‘Wow, that was not a good defensive performance in that game.' My personality is I want to win badly. I want to win more Lombardis for Philadelphia and our fans. I will do anything possible, and if it means making any change necessary, I will."
So the message from Lurie is clear: the next Eagles coach will come to our tenuous franchise, resolve our muddled quarterback situation, and help us transition into a new era despite our limited resources in Year 1 – oh, and make sure you're ready to win from the moment you arrive. Let's talk about support. The next Eagles head coach will not be winning a power struggle with the team's top executive, Howie Roseman. Lurie has been there, done that. Roseman will remain atop the personnel chain and maintain control of the 53-man roster barring any unforeseen changes. Plenty of coaches over the past few years have been given 53-man roster control or a voice into the team's general manager hire. The next Eagles coach isn't walking through the NovaCare doors with the power to make those decisions. The next Eagles coach needs to understand and be comfortable with Roseman calling the personnel shots and with the franchise's heavy reliance on analytics, which plays a role in their draft strategy. And since we're on the subject of support, the next Eagles head coach should observe that after Doug Pederson was fired just three years after winning the Super Bowl, reports like this immediately emerged:
The message here, again, is eminently clear: the next Eagles coach will be fully supported by the administration – until things go south. Then they can expect to be tossed under the bus while others spin the message to save face. Let's recap: The next Eagles coach will inherit a four-win roster with an unstable quarterback situation and very little cap space at the beginning, along with an entrenched executive vice president football operations who calls all the shots and a heavy-handed owner who expects to win while also flipping the roster. So...who wants the job? – Geoff Mosher (@geoffmoshernfl) is co-host of the "Inside the Birds" podcast and staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com. Listen to the latest "Inside The Birds" podcast from Geoff Mosher and Adam Caplan here: