Why Philly Should Love Lovie Smith
Here's the case for Lovie Smith, who the Eagles will interview on Thursday:
He's the foremost expert in overcoming bad quarterback play, what the Eagles may be subjected to for the foreseeable future.
In nine years in Chicago, Smith's leading passer was either (in order) Chad Hutchinson, Kyle Orton (twice), Rex Grossman, Bryan Greise.
The buck stops there, though.
While Smith turned around a defense that in 2003 ranked No. 22 in scoring, he did it with players -- Brian Urlacher (2000), Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman (2003) -- he inherited.
That's not to say that Smith didn't have a stellar draft record, and didn't provide for those players more than adequate support. His were Tommie Harris, Tank Johnson (2004) and Danieal Manning (2006) -- all taken in the first or second rounds, where you won't find many misses -- but not much of late.
After failing in Chicago -- no different than eventual Super Bowl winners Bill Belichick, Mike Shanahan and Jon Gruden flamed out of their first head coaching gigs -- some believe that Smith in his next job could have Super Bowl stuff.
But here come the counterarguments:
Smith's Bears only made the playoffs in three of nine seasons, twice falling apart after reaching seven wins in 2011 (7-4) and 2012 (7-1).
The latest collapse came despite Brandon Marshall, arguably the big-threat wideout the team had lacked for, basically, ever.
He pretty clearly whiffed on offensive coordinators, employing Mike Martz and Mike Tice for an utterly unsuccessful decade, offensively.
Gus Bradley, Seattle's defensive coordinator, seems a capable substitute, demonstrating with the Seahawks his ability to entirely rebuild a roster -- and give it an attitude he should patent. He's scheduled to interview with the Eagles, though the team wouldn't be able to hire him until Seattle is done with the postseason. They're 2.5-point dogs to the Falcons this weekend.
How Seattle fares this weekend could factor heavily into the decision for the Eagles, who also have serious interest in Mike McCoy of the Broncos, who aren't going anywhere in these playoffs any time soon.
If the Seahawks were to win -- as Denver is expected to -- the Eagle front office could become anxious over their hire's ability to piece together a staff, target draft picks and free agents, make due with the No. 4 overall pick (especially in a down draft), and get this team headed in the right direction before the other six new hires begin to do the same.
If it came down to defensive types, my vote would go for Bradley over Smith.
Still, if only as a due diligence move, interviewing Smith was a must.