Fire up that Twitter account because we are officially knee deep into rumor season in the NFL. Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie fired longtime head coach Andy Reid on Monday and the rumors and speculation immediately followed. What is important about this week is the window teams with a head coach vacancy have to interview assistant coaches on NFL teams who have a bye week during the playoffs. That means the Eagles can interview assistant coaches from the Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers.
The Eagles have taken advantage of this and have already set up interviews with Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and special teams coach Keith Armstrong. I don’t expect either of these coaches to the top candidate for Lurie at this point, but a good interview can always change that. Andy Reid wowed Lurie with an exceptional interview where he demonstrated how detail orientated he was with the Eagles first day of training camp already planned out.
Koetter is a up and coming NFL coach who will get a head coaching job in the next year or two. I don’t know if this will be the year, but he will certainly get a chance to impress in a number of interviews. Nolan is a former head coach who has been an exceptional defensive coordinator for several different NFL teams. He may have failed at his first head coaching stint in San Francisco, but the truth is that most NFL head coaches get fired at some point, even Bill Belichick got fired at Cleveland.
Armstrong is going to puzzle some fans as to why the Eagles would want to interview a special teams coach. Don’t forget that Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was once the Eagles special teams coach. Maybe Lurie will get some insight as to why the Eagles special teams was so bad the last two seasons under Bobby April.
If I had to guess, Oregon Ducks head coach Chip Kelly and Penn State’s Bill O’Brien are the top two candidates in Philly. Lurie is from the New England area and hiring a former Belichick pupil who has had some success as a head coach would be very appealing to him. I have read that the buyout for O’Brien is somewhere around $9-$19 million right now. You also have to wonder if O’Brien would abandon Penn State after just one season.
Chip Kelly has risen ahead of Broncos assistant Mike McCoy as my favorite candidate. Kelly is reportedly the Cleveland Browns top candidate and is high up on the Eagles list as well. Kelly is doing a great job of shutting down all the speculation about him right now. He is 100 percent focused on the Fiesta Bowl and probably hasn’t even decided if he will leave Oregon just yet. I believe Chip will take the Eagles job if Lurie offers it to him. Kelly is from the East Coast and it seems like he wants to coach there. The Eagles also have the most talent of any of the teams that will offer him a job, but that is pretty subjective at this point.