Could it Really Be Coughlin?
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - There is perception and then there's reality.
The perception is that the Philadelphia Eagles are already 0-for-2 in their attempts to find a successor for former head coach Chip Kelly.
The reality is that the franchise did swing-and-miss in its attempt to lure Ben McAdoo away from the New York Giants and at least one member of the three three-man search team of Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman and Don Smolenski advocated the hiring of now Dolphins head coach Adam Gase.
What's known is the due diligence phase of the Philadelphia coaching search had ended with all eyes focused on McAdoo, the young coordinator of the Giants who was able to help Eli Manning cut down on his turnovers and up his completion percentage.
Two NFL sources confirmed to the Philadelphia Inquirer that the Eagles "were prepared" (notice the wording) to offer the job to the 38-year-old coach. The rumors that Philadelphia was ready to make its move in as little as 24 to 48 hours forced the Giants hand, who then elevated McAdoo once it became clear that Hue Jackson was choosing Cleveland and not boarding a flight for his scheduled interview with New York on Thursday.
McAdoo was one of six candidates interviewed by the Eagles, joining in-house options, Duce Staley and Pat Shurmur, as well as Gase, Chiefs offensive coordinator and Andy Reid disciple Doug Pederson, and former Giants head coach Tom Coughlin.
With McAdoo now off the table, both the NFL Network and ESPN have reported that the 69-year-old Coughlin has now emerged as Plan C, although nothing seems imminent as ESPN claimed “there are issues for the two sides to work through."
The big hurdle with Coughlin of course is shelf life and a clear succession plan would have to be developed with some speculating that the two-time Super Bowl winning coach would be asked to keep Shurmur as his offensive coordinator to help with continuity and the potential return of free-agent quarterback Sam Bradford.
Shurmur would then be groomed to take over for Coughlin, who will turn 70 in August, somewhere down the line.
The interest in Coughlin, however, is a bit strange for a number of reasons beyond age as well. His teams up the turnpike missed the playoffs for four consecutive seasons and six of the past seven while Philadelphia, which didn't exactly dominate most others during the Kelly era, generally handled Coughlin's Giants rather easily.
What he would bring, however, is discipline and a steady hand after Kelly's haphazard management style fractured the makeup of the organization and alienated many of his players.
Pederson, the ex-Eagles quarterback, who was originally brought to Philadelphia by Reid as the bridge and mentor for Donovan McNabb in 1999, along with Shurmur seem to be the fail-safe candidates at this point.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen