Eagles need to strike a balance between risk and reward in HC search

As the Eagles continue to raid every nook and cranny of the NFL for the Head Coach who they believe can guide their ship back to clearer waters, it seems as though the team has accidentally stumbled into a dilemma.

Jeffrey Lurie has a history of doing one of two things – overcorrecting, and longing for the glory of yesteryear. Each decision made since Andy Reid’s departure at the end of 2012 has somewhat echoed that sentiment.

Chip Kelly’s arrival in 2013 was one of rampant intensity. Players complained that they were overworked in practice, but the new-look offense took the NFL by storm and blew up every opponent in sight.

The downside to Chip’s coaching was a total lack of emotional intelligence. His schematic ideas were brilliant, many of which have become staples in the league today, but his lust for power was an ultimate downfall. The locker room tore to pieces after names beloved by teammates and fans alike were exiled and the teams’ faith in his coaching methods crumbled. Within the space of just three years, Chip Kelly had rebuilt a culture around himself and watched implode.

This prompted Lurie to seek a coach with emotional intelligence as his replacement. Pining for the success under Andy Reid, the owner turned his eyes to Doug Pederson. A protege of ‘Big Red’ himself and a former Eagles coach and QB, the move made perfect sense as a foundation to begin building the new era upon.

Obviously, we all knew how it ended. A Super Bowl ring and 3 consecutive playoff runs were not enough to convince Lurie that one bad season was excusable. The desperation to restore the glory felt under Andy Reid was once again felt in his presser that followed.

We’ve over the last ten, 15 years, had a lot of success, a lot of success winning divisions, being in NFC Championship Games. I think one-fourth of the time I’ve been owner in the last 20 years, we’ve appeared in an NFC Championship game. That’s hard to do without really good talent.

Even after a Super Bowl ring, that sheer panic to stay at the top of the NFC East and look back to the early 2000’s when the Eagles truly were the Kings of the Castle remained.

Prior to Pederson’s firing, Lurie flipped his hand again as he scrapped to salvage what he perceived to be a flailing situation. The angered owner fired Mike Groh just one day after Pederson guaranteed his job security after the 2019 season, and set on assembling a committee effort to replace him.

The Eagles then shockingly drafted Jalen Hurts which led to utter disarray. Marty Mornhinweg and Rich Scangarello, two of the gurus brought in to help spice up the offense, ended up making a total mess of it. Before the benching of Carson Wentz, there felt like a real push to get Hurts involved in the offense. This would have been great if his snaps weren’t predictable in every sense. Whether it was 4th down or a failed RPO, these looks often killed whatever momentum the offense had, despite the creativity being visible.

Fast forward to the present day and the Eagles are in a familiar spot. There are head coaching candidates out there who have previous affiliations with Andy Reid. One even works under Frank Reich and has seen blistering success from his quarterback if the Eagles wanted to hit reset on the Pederson era. But then there are others. Guys like Josh McDaniels, who would bring a swiftly contrasting coaching style to the table, destined to either lead the team to greatness or leave it in ruin.

There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground for Lurie. It’s either a case of trying to hit copy and paste on the Andy Reid era again and again because of the wholesome memories he has from over a decade ago, or it’s panicking that those times have passed, slamming the big red button, and going all-in on decisions that could set the franchise back significantly.

The decision to reinvent the offensive coordinator position cost the Eagles an entire season and contributed to Doug Pederson losing his job. The drafting of Jalen Hurts meant that a position of key need wasn’t filled and a QB controversy sparked the downfall of their $127M investment.

Finding the right Head Coach is crucial. Lurie is 1-1 after the Andy Reid era in making that decision, but recent judgments show that he’s verging on the side of risk in order to keep the Eagles soaring.

There doesn’t have to be constant volatility or a need to blow things up the second the wheels start to wobble. If Lurie fails to make the correct hire here, there may be no stopping a very dangerous decline.

Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire

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