Expect Eagles to make quick decision in coaching search

If there is one thing we've learned over the past week, it's that the Eagles are not messing around when it comes to finding the next head coach.

One week ago, the Eagles fired Chip Kelly at what appeared to be the most unlikely time. On Wednesday, Jeffrey Lurie said the search was already underway.

The Eagles will have conducted three interviews by the close of Tuesday, and have at least two more expected to happen by the end of the week.

If there is any certainty in the coaching search, it's that the Eagles are going to put it behind them quickly, but diligently finish the job before the rest of the offseason takes shape.

Duce Staley interviewed on Friday. Pat Shurmur coached the team to a 35-30 win on Sunday and interviewed on Monday. On Tuesday, the Eagles will interview their first outside candidate, Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase.

Jacksonville Jaguars assistant head coach Doug Marrone and Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin are also expected to get interviews this week, but there is also a report that says the Eagles will not be interviewing Marrone.

The reason it is important to note the Eagles timeliness in selecting a coach is the decisions that have yet to be made around the rest of the NFL. It is almost a certainty that the Eagles would like to see Sean Payton's name as a legitimate candidate. But as long as he is still discussing his future with New Orleans, the Eagles hands are tied.

Surely, the Eagles would like to grab the established coach, and that's why you'll hear rumblings of Payton and John Harbaugh — who is almost definitely staying put in Baltimore. But the Eagles will either take on a new head coach that primarily served as a coordinator or hire from within.

Shurmur certainly emerges as a very legitimate candidate. His interview was no formality. The Eagles have a long history with Shurmur and many offensive players do like his presence with the team.

Gase, among the top coordinators available, should get a serious look as well. His interview on Tuesday will actually be the second time he has spoken with the Eagles, as he spoke with the team by phone on Sunday.

Austin is a similar case, though not as regarded as Gase has been among coordinators.

As the search continues some, it wouldn't be shocking for the Eagles to also take a look at Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott and Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson.

While the option of going after another college coach remains open to Lurie, it wouldn't be surprising, given the way things went with Kelly, if the Eagles avoided that avenue. This team is looking for a fresh start, and to do that, they might have to give a coordinator a chance.

While there's no way to truly guess the next Eagles head coach, especially since the list of candidates and interviews is growing by the day, I do think there is a lot of mutual interest between the Eagles and Adam Gase. In my look at potential candidates last week, I listed Gase and McDermott as two top candidates among coordinators, especially considering the general lack of current NFL coaches that would fit with the Eagles and the unlikelihood of pulling a retired coach back to the sidelines. Add in the Eagles likely hesitance to going for another college coach, and it seems obvious, a coordinator is coming to Philadelphia.

If I had to pick my Top 5 candidates, I'd look no further than the current interview list. Gase and McDermott seem like prime candidates, though I get the sense there could be some hesitation on the Eagles part to revisit a rough past with McDermott.

Add in Shurmur to the Top 3. I really feel that if the Eagles can stay the course as much as possible, they will. That's not to say they don't recognize the team's flaws, but if they want any form of NFL experience as a head coach, the best they are going to find, unless Sean Payton somehow becomes available, is Pat Shurmur.

Rounding out the Top 5 would be Teryl Austin and Doug Marrone. Marrone was part of the interview list when the Eagles were chasing after Chip Kelly. It wouldn't be shocking if the Eagles went that direction this time around. Austin has some good credentials, but doesn't quite have the body of work that the Eagles would probably like to see. 

There are always names that could be added, but if the Eagles are looking to get this done before the offseason really sets in, this process won't last long. If that's the case, one of the five names already set up for interviews will likely become the next head coach.

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.

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