Lurie, Roseman turned Eagles coaching search into a farce

A wave of activity swept the NFL with coaches being hired left and right on Thursday. In all, four teams made new hires on Thursday, but no team had a more interesting day or week than the Eagles.

The past 16 days of a coaching search that concluded on Thursday with the report that the Eagles would hire Doug Pederson, the Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator, had become nothing short of a total farce. With Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman and Don Smolenski leading a parade of shortlist candidates, the Eagles watched one after the other opt for better opportunities or none at all.

The Eagles do have a coach, certainly the first step to forgetting the mess that Chip Kelly helped create. But there is still a lot of cleanup and recovery to do, especially with the braintrust that started the whole Kelly saga responsible for the circus of a coaching search.

Let's start with Thursday's timeline.

Thursday morning started with the Eagles going in a completely different direction, suddenly pursuing veteran coach Tom Coughlin after missing out on his offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. By noon, the Eagles were meeting with Coughlin and preparing to potentially complete a deal.

Coughlin turned down the opportunity. He withdrew his name from consideration and at 1 p.m. the Eagles were back to square one.

Within the hour, the former coach of the Eagles, Chip Kelly, had a job. He had been hired by the San Francisco 49ers.

With that, Pederson emerged as the leading candidate, but questions still remained as other teams continued to move. The Giants made the hiring of McAdoo official at around 3 p.m. with the Eagles in clear disarray.

Finally, just after 5:30 p.m., the announcement came. Doug Pederson was going to become the next head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.

But before Thursday, it was a two-week struggle that featured just six interviews, two to internal candidates who probably never really had a chance at the job unless everyone else turned it down. 

The Eagles first serious candidate, Adam Gase, had four interviews between the Eagles, Cleveland Browns, New York Giants and Miami Dolphins. He took the job with the Dolphins, who not only stepped up their pursuit but had more to offer. The same happened on Wednesday, when the Eagles were closing in on hiring McAdoo, when the Giants stepped in.

With the Eagles braintrust running the coaching search again, as they did with hiring Kelly, there were precautions and reservations to hiring any head coach.

The new coach was not going to get any control. He would instantly become part of a decision-making team that included Roseman. Working with Roseman was a concern in and of itself. The very center of the problem in the Chip Kelly era was his hunger for power and to take away such decision-making abilities that Roseman had.

Gase got control of the 53-man roster in Miami. He wasn't going to in Philadelphia.

What Gase also got, that Pederson now has to deal with, was a stable roster, headed by a quarterback.

Every team that is looking for a new coach has a hole somewhere in the roster, whether they lack overall offensive or defensive talent or are particularly weak in a certain position. The Eagles fall into both categories — still needing some defensive talent in the secondary and an overload of questions on the offensive side.

There is no bigger question facing the Eagles than the quarterback position, which currently rests on whether Sam Bradford returns under a new contract or the franchise tag or leaves via free agency.

Look at each of the other open coaching positions. The Giants have Eli Manning. The 49ers have Colin Kaepernick. The Dolphins have Ryan Tannehill. The Tennessee Titans have Marcus Mariota. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have Jameis Winston.

While Bradford provides a similar comfort to a Tannehill or second-year quarterback still developing like Mariota or Winston, his lack of a contract leaves no guarantees as to who will be the quarterback next season. If you sub out Bradford and insert Mark Sanchez, the second-string quarterback who is under contract, you find yourself in the same situation as the Cleveland Browns: starting over.

So the Eagles braintrust of Lurie, Roseman and Smolenski had to find a way to make a very discombobulated roster and a position with little to no power in decision-making somehow look attractive. It was a losing battle from the start.

But the longer the Eagles fumbled around trying to figure out where to go next, the more of a farce it all became. The Eagles missed out on Gase and scrambled to schedule an interview with Pederson after already reportedly having interest. After meeting with Pederson, suddenly Coughlin entered the picture, as if something had changed in their perception of Pederson.

When McAdoo signed on with the Giants and Coughlin withdrew, the Eagles were left with no other candidates to turn to. It was Pederson or nothing. So, Pederson is the coach.

It's really a raw deal for Pederson, who now has to prove that the Eagles braintrust still made a good decision despite really being their third choice and being offered the job only after all of the remaining candidates had removed themselves from the running.

All the while, the Eagles lack of aggression and definitiveness in their scheduling of interviews and meetings also hurt. They put in a late call to Hue Jackson that was too late. They didn't bother to contact other top coordinators like Teryl Austin or Sean McDermott or Matt Patricia or Josh McDaniels. You can easily question what the Eagles were doing.

Perhaps that was because they always had Pederson in their pocket. Pederson did not interview with any other team. The demand was low. The Eagles, knowing Pederson from his time on Andy Reid's coaching staff, already had some knowledge of him as a coach and more importantly as a person, something Lurie said would be a focal point in the coaching search.

Through the entire process, the Eagles seemed to let more time go by and content to let the rest of the league dictate where they would go rather than step up and aggressively pursue a candidate. There was no pursuit. Everyone else found a way to remove themselves from the search, leaving one true candidate left.

It turns out that what Gase and McAdoo and Coughlin proved is that the Eagles were not nearly as desirable a destination as they perceived. They let their egos get in the way, needing to prove where the power of the organization stood and essentially not just evaluate a coach, but also a human being.

They essentially started over after three years of disaster, from a front office standpoint, with Kelly. Jeffrey Lurie gets a guy that is essentially "Andy Reid 2.0," hoping for the potential of what was under Reid in his 14 years coaching the Eagles. Howie Roseman gets a coach who comes across as the total opposite of Kelly, willing to work with others, not hungry for power, ready to let Howie do whatever it is Howie does.

In trying to find that very thing, it left the Eagles with one lowly seemingly unwanted candidate, who now has to prove the braintrust of the Eagles right or face a similar fate to Kelly. Anything to prove it's not them that is the problem.

Only there's nothing left to prove. This absurd coaching search said it all.

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

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