Source: Eagles Contacted Oklahoma's Riley
In his Zoom conference to discus Doug Pederson's firing, Eagles chairman Jeffrey Lurie on Monday said "there's no rush, no pressure" to find his next head coach. But it didn't take long for the Eagles to reach out to at least one candidate.
The Eagles contacted University of Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley just a few hours after announcing the Pederson firing, a source told Inside The Birds, to gauge Riley's interest in the vacancy. Riley is 45-8 since taking over as Sooners head coach for Bob Stoops in 2017, with three appearances in the College Football Playoff, all losses. In his four seasons, Riley's offense has never finished lower than sixth-best in college football and has never averaged fewer than 42 points in a season.
In 2018, the Sooners led all of college football with an average of 48.4 points per game. His starting quarterbacks in 2017 and 2018, Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, respectively, were each drafted No. 1 overall in their respective NFL Draft classes. The Eagles drafted Riley's 2019 starting quarterback, Jalen Hurts, in the second round. Hurts, as a rookie, started the last four games in place of a benched Doug Pederson. Several of Riley's offensive standouts have been drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft, including wide receivers Marquise Brown, who went 25 overall in 2019 to the Ravens, and CeeDee Lamb, who was picked 17th by the Cowboys last season. Lurie's last three head coaching hires going back to 1999 have all been offensive-minded but Lurie said he would consider any head coach regardless of pedigree. "In terms of the characteristics, I'd rather not specify, but I can tell you no matter who we have, it needs to be a leader of coaches, a leader of players and someone who represents the organization in a great leadership way," Lurie said. "I think there's a couple ways to skin that cat. You can hire somebody really steeped in offense or you've seen great offenses coached by head coaches coming from the defensive side. "I don't think there's any predilection for one over the other, but I do think somebody that is constantly curious of where the league is headed and what you need to do to have really good units and again, without a really good elite offense, I tend to err on that side. But not that side of the ball for head coach. Doesn't matter." – 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 with Geoff Mosher and Adam Caplan: