The Philadelphia Eagles have been a bit surprising with their recent interview choices. The Eagles somehow interviewed Brian Billick last week and kept it a secret until Jan. 13, and they also talked to Lovie Smith last week. And on Jan. 14, they interviewed old foe Ken Whisenhunt to everyone’s surprise.
Whisenhunt wasn’t considered a candidate until CBS Sports revealed that he talked with the Eagles on Jan. 14. Although it seemed like Philadelphia would hire a coordinator, whether it is Gus Bradley, Bruce Arians or Jay Gruden, former head coaches are starting to get into the mix now.
The Eagles are more than familiar with Whisenhunt, since he gave them several heartbreaking losses over the years with the Arizona Cardinals. Of course, his signature win came in the 2009 NFC title game, as Arizona upset Philadelphia in Andy Reid’s last shot at the Super Bowl. For good measure, the Cardinals gave the Eagles a very damaging last second loss on Nov. 2011, then slaughtered them on Sept. 2012 as well before the bottom fell out for both teams.
Although Whisenhunt briefly turned the Cardinals into a championship contender for the first time, his tenure flamed out in 2012 exactly like Reid’s did. Both Philadelphia and Arizona ended the season on 1-11 skids, with messy quarterback situations and wasted stars in other positions.
Just as Reid was never the same after Donovan McNabb was traded, Whisenhunt was never the same when Kurt Warner retired. But Reid still got a new job with the Kansas City Chiefs, while Whisenhunt is clearly still on the market.
Ironically, Reid was a brief frontrunner for the Cardinals’ job before he accepted the Chiefs’ offer. He was wise to do it, given that he would have joined a carbon copy of the Eagles if he went to Arizona. Likewise, Whisenhunt would just join a carbon copy of the Cardinals if he went to Philadelphia, so it wouldn’t be a good fit for him, regardless of his past success against the Eagles.
Yet Philadelphia seems set on looking for experienced head coaches before settling on a coordinator. However, the Eagles’ flirtation with college coaches failed miserably, so will this new attraction to former pro head coaches turn out the same way? Are they just buying time before they have to settle for Bradley, or the Gruden brother who isn’t Jon Gruden?