Jeffrey Lurie wants somebody who is innovative and a leader. The Eagles owner also wants somebody who sees the big picture and can restore order to a chaotic team. And Lurie said he is confident he will find somebody who can do all of that and lead the Eagles into a new and better era.
Andy Reid was dismissed as coach of the Eagles on Monday and Lurie – the man who both hired and fired the most successful coach in franchise history – said the search for Reid’s replacement had already begun, although he hasn’t interviewed anybody yet.
Lurie said he wasn’t necessarily looking for an offensive or defensive coach and he will look at all worthy candidates, whether they’re college coaches or NFL assistants.
“No stone unturned,’’ Lurie said. “We’ve got our target list, and it’s from all sides.”
Lurie said the Eagles’ three-man search committee will consist of him, general manager Howie Roseman and team president Don Smolenski. And even though Lurie doesn’t know yet who he will hire as his new coach, he does know what qualities he wants that coach to have.
“I think the most important thing is to find the right leader,’’ Lurie said. “I’m not one who wants to buy schemes, wants to buy approaches that are necessarily finite. What you’ve got to find is somebody who is strategic, somebody who is a strong leader, somebody who is very comfortable in his own skin.
“That, to me, is probably one of the one or two top traits because players today see right through if you’re not. If you’re a salesman coach, that’s not going to work. Somebody who is completely comfortable in his role and in who they are as a person, that’s the most important thing.”
And Lurie said he will be able to hire the best man available even though there will be plenty of competition — at last count, there are six other openings for a new head coach in the NFL, in Chicago, San Diego, Arizona, Cleveland, Buffalo and Kansas City.
“I’m confident that this is the most attractive place for a coach to work in the National Football League,’’ Lurie said, citing the Eagles’ passionate fans, large media market, state-of-the-art facilities and winning tradition.
Lurie said the new coach will decide whether Nick Foles will be the Eagles’ quarterback of the future and which assistant coaches to hire. Lurie also said he will take his time and make sure he makes the right choice.
“There’s no guarantee that I’ll make a great decision,’’ Lurie said, “but I’m confident that I will.”
The first order of business for the new coach will be deciding which players to keep, and attitude might have as much to do with that as aptitude. Several players — including quarterback Michael Vick, running back LeSean McCoy, wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and guard Evan Mathis — were upset on Monday at what they perceived to be a lack of effort by some unnamed teammates, a malady they say was the root cause of the Eagles’ dismal season and eventually Reid’s dismissal as coach after 14 seasons.
“We had guys who lacked focus, who lacked heart,’’ McCoy said. “It’s obvious we had some guys who didn’t lay it all on the line this season. As a player, you’re here to play football. Your job is to play football and I don’t think the coach should get penalized for the guys who didn’t.”
When asked again if there were some players who didn’t give 100 percent effort 100 percent of the time, McCoy shook his head.
“I don’t think they did, no,’’ he said. “I don’t think some players did at all. That’s obvious. You see some of the scores. You see some of the plays. You see some of the stuff happening — you don’t see Coach Reid out there making errors like that.”
Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin agreed with McCoy and said a big reason for the lack of chemistry and collective effort was all the new faces that were brought into the Eagles locker room in the last two years. He didn’t name names, but it was obvious he was talking about well-paid newcomers like cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and defensive end Jason Babin.
“You go back and look at who was on this roster even when I was drafted just four years ago,’’ Maclin said, “and there are a lot of new faces, guys who are used to doing things a certain way. When you come to a new place, you have to buy into everything the coach is preaching, whether it’s scheme-wise or how you handle yourself as a professional.”
Even the players who gave everything they had this season will have to prove themselves to a new coach and that includes Foles, whose uneven play in his six starts did little to prove or disprove whether he can be an elite quarterback in the NFL.
“That’s the nature of this business anyway, whether you have a new coach or not – you’ve got to go out and prove yourself every day,’’ Foles said. “But I can’t even think about the future right now – I’m just concerned about Coach Reid. It just gives you a sick feeling, because we know it’s our fault.”
Vick was more than sick about it – he was also mad that selfish, unmotivated players cost Reid his job.
“I give 110 percent effort,’’ Vick said. “My body is scarred up all year. I’m hurt, I’m bruised and I get up after every hit and still try to fight and push. I do that for my coaches, I do that for my teammates and I would expect the same thing in return. It’s all about focus, dedication and commitment. Until you get guys who are willing to better themselves week in and week out and want to win, you ain’t going to win. And I haven’t played with guys like that.”
“I gave [Reid] 100 percent and at least I can feel good about that,’’ Vick added. “And there are guys in here who gave it their all. But you need consistent effort from every guy in this locker room.”
Andy Reid didn’t get it, at least not from all of his players. Now those players will have to change or the new coach will change the players.
Contact Kevin Noonan at firstname.lastname@example.org.