Who the Philadelphia Eagles Shouldn't Hire as the Next Head Coach

Bernie Ollila@@bernieollilaContributor IIIJanuary 10, 2013

Who the Philadelphia Eagles Shouldn't Hire as the Next Head Coach

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    The Philadelphia Eagles front office has been under pressure to hire a new head coach since the departure of Andy Reid and rightfully so.

    After all, the team’s management knew they would part ways with Reid weeks before they finally cut him loose. So, they should have known exactly who they wanted and should have been fully prepared to offer that candidate the position. Either they haven’t interviewed their top guy yet, they have and he has turned them down or they were just clueless as to who they wanted for the job.

    None of those scenarios are favorable.

    If the team’s front office had done the homework they said they have, wouldn’t that work yield a surefire number-one choice to coach the team?

    The flip side of that coin is that the team’s front office is waiting for a reason.

    It may be reports on each player from the team’s assistant coaches. Another reason is that there are several coaches they believe would fit the head coaching bill. Finally, the front office could be holding out because they know who they want and they are looking for someone to change their mind.

    All of those scenarios are favorable. So, does it really matter if they have or have not yet hired a head coach?

    What does matter is that the Eagles’ fanbase has a good idea of who the team will hire based on the names that have been floating around. All of the names that have been rumored to be the team’s next head coach have upside and they all would be greeted with open arms because they are not Andy Reid.

    However, there are good choices the Eagles could make and there are not-as-good choices the Eagles could make. The following list will outline who the Eagles probably shouldn’t hire.

Lovie Smith

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    Lovie Smith’s interview with the Eagles was met with mixed reactions from the public.

    To start, Smith is not the best candidate to coach the Eagles because of what we know about him from his time in Chicago.

    Since 2004, Lovie Smith and the Chicago Bears hung their hat on defense. Although a defensive mind coming to the Philadelphia Eagles would be terrific, the NFL is an offensive league. That’s not to say the Eagles should not hire a defensively oriented coach, but it is calling into question Lovie Smith’s capacity to understand how to manufacture a competitive offense.

    With Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte and an impressive defense, Smith was unable to make the playoffs this year, which is saying something about the man coaching that talent. His offensive line wasn’t good, but how much of an upgrade would Philadelphia’s be for Smith?

    Of course, the injury-plagued Philadelphia Eagles offensive line could return to full-strength next season and be back to normal. But that’s not a guarantee. Even if chances are the Birds’ offensive line will be all right next year, there’s still a chance they won’t. That chance alone is more than enough to disqualify Lovie Smith.

    Furthermore, the Eagles do not have the offensive pieces that would enable Smith to make the team competitive. Even if they did, Smith’s offensive track record doesn’t exactly shine. 

Greg Roman

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    Although Greg Roman’s offense has been an integral part of the recent success of the San Francisco 49ers, those who would like to see him in Philadelphia should tread carefully.

    When Roman took over the 49ers offense, he and Jim Harbaugh had a lot of pieces in place. They had good players who had previously been playing in a bad system and a philosophy that did not work. Not just skill players, either. The 49ers had an offensive line with high draft choices that was waiting to break out.

    The lackluster Alex Smith thrived under Roman, but Smith had the pieces around him that enabled him to do so. If Roman came to the Eagles, he’d have Nick Foles, small receivers, and an offensive line with question marks.

    The next head coach isn’t just going to come in and uproot the entire franchise. He’ll have to be able to work with what’s already in place to keep the team competitive. There isn’t much evidence that would support Roman in that regard.

    The only real perk to bringing in Greg Roman (and this is a huge perk) is the fact that he made Alex Smith work and he played a huge role in Andrew Luck’s development at Stanford.

    If nothing else, Roman needs some more time to develop into a solid head coaching candidate. We need to see if his offense can sustain the level of success it has seen since 2011. 

Mike Zimmer

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    Although his name has been sparingly mentioned in connection with the Eagles’ head coaching vacancy, Zimmer has been seen as viable a candidate as the others.

    The longtime defensive coordinator has been waiting for his opportunity to be an NFL head coach. Why?

    Zimmer’s case is one in which you have to consider the fact that NFL general managers know what they are doing and may have passed on Zimmer for a reason.

    Perhaps Zimmer is not apt when it comes to staff selection, not to mention he’s a defensive mind whose defenses don’t exactly bring to mind much dominance. Although he was with the Dallas Cowboys in the 1990s, he did not play essential role in their success.

    Next, please.

Mike Nolan

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    Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan has been spoken of favorably in regards to filling the Eagles’ head coaching vacancy.

    However, Nolan has experience as an NFL head coach, four years worth, in fact. During that time, Nolan went 18-37. Four years is a long time and who knows if the 53-year-old really knows what it takes to be a successful head coach now?

    Retreads are not a bad option, but one who was given as much time as Nolan was coupled with his dismal record during that time don’t speak volumes to his potential.

    Nolan is one of those coaches who is an outstanding coordinator, but just doesn’t have the chops to succeed as a head coach.

    Besides, is Atlanta’s defense really all that good?

Jay Gruden

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    Why is Jay Gruden such a hot name in the Eagles’ head coaching search?

    Sure, Jay Gruden is the younger brother of Super Bowl-winning coach Jon Gruden, but that doesn’t mean that he’s qualified.

    Would Jay Gruden be as popular a candidate if it wasn’t for his namesake? No.

    Gruden was a UFL head coach, which is certainly experience that adds to his qualifications. But he has only been an NFL coach for two years. In that time, his Cincinnati Bengals have been average. The Bengals offense has been lukewarm and, though generally efficient, has exhibited no dominance whatsoever.

    Head coaching candidates need to have a history of success in college or as a coordinator or position coach in order to be viable options. Just because Gruden hasn’t been failure doesn’t mean he’s been a success. He has done a decent job. Essentially, Gruden has done what an offensive coordinator is supposed to do: no more, no less.

    Gruden needs to improve his offense and sustain some semblance of success if he wants to be an NFL head coach.


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    Frankly, all of the coaches on this list are decent options to coach the Eagles. But there are other names the Eagles should target first, more candidates we should be hearing reports about the team interviewing.

    Bruce Arians has a reputation for being predictable, but he is a proven winner from his time in Pittsburgh who turned the 2-14 Indianapolis Colts into a playoff team.

    Mike McCoy is an offensive coordinator who made it to the playoffs with Tim Tebow and then made his team a Super Bowl favorite when he got Peyton Manning.

    Jon Gruden may be pussyfooting around when it comes to returning to the NFL, but if he’s out there, the Eagles should be wasting no time offering him the job.

    Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley has been spoken highly of and has validated his reputation with his defense’s performance. Oh yeah, he’s a leader and motivator, too.

    Enough about Lovie Smith, Jay Gruden, and anyone who isn’t among the aforementioned! It’s time for the Birds to get serious and hire someone (or leak reports that they are going to hire someone currently in a role with another team) before one of the other teams without a head coach does.