Chip Kelly has been one of the head coaches linked the most to replacing Andy Reid for the Philadelphia Eagles gig, but the National Football Posts’s Dan Pompei wrote that he is hearing Jon Gruden could be headed to Philadelphia if he wants to get back into coaching.
He wrote, “People around the NFL who know are convinced Jon Gruden is coming back to coaching this year, provided the right situation presents itself. I’ve been told Gruden feels he needs to come back now if he’s ever going to do it. He already has been away from the game for four years, and it becomes increasingly difficult for a coach to return the longer he is away. The right situation for Gruden very well could be in Philadelphia. People close to him think he has a good chance of landing there.”
This is extremely interesting, and Gruden would be a better fit for the Eagles than Kelly would. Even though the Oregon Ducks coach would bring a high-tempo offense to the team and help the receiving and rushing games, the problem for this team is finding some consistency on defense. I don’t know that Kelly can do that, and it’s because most of Oregon’s defensive scheming is done by top defensive coordinator Nick Ailotti. It’s not like Kelly is an incompetent defensive mind or anything, but there’s a big difference between coaching defense in college and in the NFL (obviously). One of the biggest differences? You have to be more hands-on.
Gruden could also be a better help to future second-year quarterback Nick Foles, if the Eagles (and the new regime) believe that Foles can be the man to lead the franchise. Quarterback development doesn’t seem like a strength for either one of them, but Gruden never had much to deal with in Tampa but managed to milk out solid seasons from subpar talents. Meanwhile, Kelly has done a good job recruiting quarterbacks in college, but none of them have had extended success in the NFL. However, it’s a small sample size, none of those QBs screamed “future high pick”, and Kelly did a solid job with them in college.
The biggest take from this is that Gruden does indeed want to get back into coaching (if those close to him can be trusted), and that he thinks the Philadelphia Eagles are a good fit for him. Are the Eagles a fit for him? I would say so, especially since there aren’t that many head coaching candidates to go for. There is no “perfect” fit for a team these days, and there isn’t a “great” fit either. Both Gruden and Kelly, the two main candidates (or so it seems like that), are both risky but in different ways.
Kelly wants to have almost complete control over personnel decisions, which is an outlandish demand for somebody with no head coaching experience in the NFL. The Eagles and Jeff Lurie are too prudent to do anything like that, and that’s the main reason why I can’t see Kelly going to Philly. He wants too much power, and he has no experience. Gruden will also want plenty of power over personnel decisions, but it doesn’t sound like he wants almost total control. On top of that, he actually has made the playoffs as an NFL head coach in the past and has plenty of experience.
In the end, Gruden looks like the most appealing candidate out of a tough sea of potential coaches. If he’s interested, I think the Eagles should take a very long look at him- an even longer look than they should at Chip Kelly.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.