McCown Move Should Have Been the Play for Lurie
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - As the Eagles offensive coordinator search marches on, the latest bit of news is that the organization attempted to convince Josh McCown to kickstart his post-playing career by adding him to the coaching staff.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer the Eagles' brass, which included owner Jeffery Lurie, broached the subject during the exit interview with McCown, who balked because the 40-year-old didn't want to close the door just yet on another season despite tearing his hamstring in the divisional round playoff loss to Seattle.
The idea was discussed in a general fashion, according to Jeff McLane, and McCown really could have fit in as a position coach -- either quarterbacks or receivers -- and even the OC, although that would have been a stunning decision to bypass not only an outside voice, which has been a narrative, or in-house candidates like Duce Staley and Press Taylor.
Around the league, many consider McCown a future head coach so starting the clock makes sense from both perspectives but McCown also proved to himself and the rest of the NFL that he is still a top-tier backup and that carries with it a far bigger check than any assistant job.
As for jumping right to OC the Eagles pride themselves on having the reputation as a forward-thinking organization that will go outside the box which is why a candidate like Southern Cal OC Graham Harrell was broached.
There's a strange narrative in sports which I first encountered covering the NBA when Derek Fisher was named the head coach of the New York Knicks, fresh off a nearly two-decade playing career as the floor leader with some of the best teams of the generation. So many piled on the Knicks for hiring a coach with "no experience," as if actually playing the game successfully at the highest level wasn't an important part of understanding it.
Fisher was by no means a success but then again no one else has been able to turn around the disaster that is the NYK either.
Coaching is about teaching and the first part of that equation is understanding the subject matter. Admittedly, the much more difficult aspect is dispensing that knowledge so others can understand and excel with it.
By all accounts, McCown is a great communicator and there is a reason others have tabbed him as a future coaching star so breaking from convention and not forcing him to pay his dues after a nearly two-decade career could have been spun as innovative, a tag Lurie is always chasing.
Lurie shouldn't have forced Doug Pederson to fire Mike Groh because that's who his Super Bowl-winning coach wanted but once the owner went down that path he should have offered the gig to McCown, the type of decision which would have energized much of the fan base and propped up Lurie's own ego for its brashness. It's also would have put McCown on the fast track to the big chair and forced him to reevaluate playing at 41.
There's always the chance that McCown still makes the same decision but success means you aren't preparing to sell underwhelming consolation prizes.
That's a cost-benefit analysis that makes sense.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen