Black Monday began early in the NFL. After Chip Kelly was fired by Eagles owner Jeff Lurie last Tuesday, other coaches got the ax before they could even change into civvies after Sunday’s games. Mike Pettine in Cleveland. Jim Tomsula in San Francisco.
There will be more, certainly, by the time you read this article. By mid-week, expect between eight to 10 head coaching vacancies.
Given the small field of competent candidates, this is not welcome news for the Eagles. The more franchises to fight over the few elite choices, the tougher it gets for Lurie to snag his first choice.
So if Sean Payton leaves New Orleans, he’ll get his pick of most available jobs. Stanford coach David Shaw will evaluate multiple offers if he decides to go pro.
Given that reality, how attractive are the Eagles? Let’s do a checklist of plusses-and-minuses, based on what coaches will be looking at:
You may be frustrated by Lurie for valid reasons. But the Eagles’ owner spends money (Lurie gave Chip Kelly everything he wanted), and doesn’t meddle like, say, Jerry Jones. He is a positive.
Football brain trust
The resurrection of Howie Roseman to executive poobah could be problematic. Some coaches want no influence on personnel, or don’t have the resume to demand it. But most do. Sean Payton controls the roster in New Orleans and would likely want the same here. It would be tough to sell him on the “collaborative” plan Lurie laid out last week.
Market and fan base
No coach wants to be stationed at a remote outpost where people don’t care about your product and the games never make it onto prime time. Rough as our reputation may be, coaches appreciate the passion Eagles fans exude.
Modern stadium? Check. Grade-A training facilities? Check. World’s largest smoothie station? Check.
Opportunity to win fast
Rarely does a coach get to step into a ready-made contender, as Jon Gruden once did in Tampa. The core of talent here is subpar, but that’s no different for other teams seeking coaches. The Eagles are strapped by future cap commitments – thanks to Kelly signing guys like Byron Maxwell and DeMarco Murray to outlandish contracts. That won’t help.
I left the best for last. Every coach knows he wins and loses based on QB. So Tennessee, with young Marcus Mariota, grows attractive. Cleveland, with . . . well, who wants to go to Cleveland anyway?
The No. 1 factor for the next guy may be whether he believes Sam Bradford can drive this car to a title. Why would Lurie want to hire a coach eager to ditch Bradford and restart with Mark Sanchez and a rookie?
More than anything that’s what this comes down to. You may or may not be sold on Bradford after his strong finish. The next coach? He’s going to have to believe that in the right offense, Sam can take the Eagles all the way.