The Philadelphia Eagles can finally begin the search for Andy Reid’s replacement after firing him on Dec. 31. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer on Jan. 1, the Eagles will start by interviewing several assistants for the Atlanta Falcons. However, it will likely only serve to pass the time before the Eagles can talk to their top choice in Chip Kelly.
The Inquirer quotes two “NFL senior personnel officials” in confirming that Kelly is at the top of Philadelphia’s coaching list. However, Kelly’s Oregon Ducks will play in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 3, so the Eagles and any other interested team can’t start pursuing him until Jan. 4.
However, the Eagles do need to start looking at other options, in case they lose out on Kelly. As such, getting a head start by interviewing other candidates first may do Philadelphia some good in the long run. To that end, owner Jeffrey Lurie has requested to talk to Falcons assistants Mike Nolan, Dirk Koetter and Keith Armstrong, according to the Inquirer.
Borrowing from the Falcons coaching staff seems to be a good move on paper, since Atlanta finished with the best record in the NFC. Because the Falcons have a bye week, the Eagles can talk to members of their staff this week, although they are off limits after that until Atlanta is knocked out of the playoffs.
Nolan is the former head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, while Koetter is the offensive coordinator who helped turn Matt Ryan into a star, and Armstrong is a special teams coordinator with ties to the Philadelphia area. The Eagles may need someone with NFL experience, and certainly need someone to give their offensive and special teams a jump start, so all of these candidates have some appeal.
However, none of them are Kelly, so that puts them at an early disadvantage. Yet with seven teams firing their head coaches on Dec. 31, the Eagles may have to fight off several other suitors to land Kelly. They have the resources and tradition to lure him, but there’s still no guarantee that they’d pull it off.
As such, if Philadelphia goes all in for Kelly and fails, it will be back at square one if it doesn’t have a backup plan. Therefore, talking to Nolan, Koetter and Armstrong gives them options, albeit ones that the Eagles may not want to use right now.