The Philadelphia Eagles waited quite a while for Chip Kelly to be their head coach. Yet the Eagles seem to have sped up their search for an offensive coordinator, as the Associated Press alleged on Jan. 21 that Pat Shurmur would take the job. However, Kelly is willing to be patient for a defensive coordinator, as he told the press after Senior Bowl practices on Jan. 21.
USA TODAY quoted him as saying that he won’t “put a timetable” on when his staff is complete. If Shurmur has indeed been hired, then the biggest puzzle left to his staff is a defensive coordinator. Given how Philadelphia’s defense has fallen apart in the last four years, Kelly may indeed need to be “particularly deliberate” with this, as USA TODAY alleges.
No definitive favorite has emerged yet, although Kelly supposedly had his eye on Georgia Bulldogs defensive coordinator Todd Grantham last week, according to Comcast SportsNet. Hiring another coach out of college may be questionable, as it is already risky enough to have an inexperienced college coach leading the Eagles.
But no matter where the new defensive head comes from, Kelly insists that he needs to have “shutoutability.” Andy Reid certainly never made up a word like that before, which is bound to make Kelly even more enduring to Philadelphia. It would be much better if his new defense could back that up, given that the Eagles haven’t shut out anyone since Ray Rhodes was in charge in 1996.
Of course, Kelly was mainly hired to revive the offense more than the defense. Shurmur could help him on offense, given his NFL experience and his time on Reid’s Philadelphia staff from 1999 to 2008. Yet can Kelly hire an equally qualified defensive mastermind, or will he gamble on another newcomer like himself?
If there’s one thing the Eagles have been defined by this month, it has been patience. As such, perhaps it will be a good sign if Philadelphia’s defensive coordinator search goes on a while longer. Still, if Shurmur does get confirmed soon, the Eagles will probably take less than two more weeks to hire his counterpart.