Jeffrey Lurie didn’t become a billionaire by taking a match to $34 million and making a bonfire out of a stack of cash that high, so if he wanted to find a coach to fix quarterback Carson Wentz, then so be it.
The Eagles owner believed Nick Sirianni was the best man for the job as his next head coach.
Howie Roseman thought differently. The general manager wanted Josh McDaniels, per multiple sources.
One source speculated that the reason for some confusion with a few of the holdover assistants was that Roseman believed McDaniels' hiring was imminent and was why special team coordinator Dave Fipp fired up his contacts line and offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland reached out to Nick Saban in Alabama about returning as the Crimson Tide’s O-line coach.
Now, after moving away from McDaniels, the Eagles denied the Lions’ request to talk to Fipp about being their ST coordinator and Alabama hired Doug Marrone as their O-line coach earlier in the week, obviously eliminating Stoutland from consideration.
Roseman’s messaging may have also led to the multiple reports that the hiring of McDaniels was close. A source close to the team said he was told by an assistant coach that McDaniels would have the job by Wednesday, but in matters such as this it takes two sources to tango and nobody was quite ready to report flat-out that the job was McDaniels.
The decision to move away from McDaniels to Sirianni was totally Lurie’s call.
Again, his money, his choice.
And Lurie should be given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to hiring head coaches because his track record for doing that has been close to impeccable.
This is fifth, and the first four won at least one division title, made the playoffs, and, in Doug Pederson’s case, won a Super Bowl. While the wheels fell off spectacularly and quickly from the Chip Kelly bandwagon, he did make the playoffs and won the NFC East in his first season.
So, when the last weekend came and went and McDaniels was still hanging out in the green room, the tide for his candidacy began to ebb.
Four more interviews were held coming out of the weekend, with Todd Bowles, Kellen Moore, Sirianni, and Dennis Allen sitting down to chat with Lurie and his search party. Clearly, Sirianni hammered his opportunity out of the park, and why wouldn’t he?
Presumably, he had the answers to the test questions about Wentz and how to fix him, answers likely provided by Sirianni’s boss in Indianapolis, head coach Frank Reich, who worked closely with Wentz for the first two seasons of the quarterback’s career as the Eagles’ OC.
During the still-ongoing interview process, another source indicated that McDaniels was beginning to have doubts about the job, particularly the team’s front office structure with Roseman and John Dorsey now in the mix – and why wouldn’t he?
McDaniels, after all, infamously jilted the Colts at the coaching altar in 2018, changing his mind about accepting the offer to be Indy’s next head coach just hours after the Colts announced him as their head coach and scheduling an introductory press conference.
Both McDaniels and Sirianni had their ideas about fixing Wentz, they just would have gone about it differently.
McDaniels’ approach would have been brasher - his way or the highway to the bench.
Sirianni’s approach would be more subtle – patient and cajoling, but, presumably, firm.
Meanwhile, Lurie continued to be inundated with texts from Eagles players current and past praising Duce Staley and how they believed he would make a terrific head coach.
Staley’s approach to fixing Wentz, per a report by the Philadelphia Inquirer, would have been similar to McDaniels’, maybe not as brash but he wouldn’t have babied Wentz, either, the report said.
That was likely strike one against Staley.
Strike two could have been Lurie felt that if he wasn’t going to run it back with Pederson, he wasn’t going to do it with his assistant head coach.
The third strike was Lurie likely wanted to just move in an entirely different direction.
At no time, was race a factor in the decision not to hire Staley, as some social media posts have indicated.
Lurie’s decision to hire Sirianni was simply that he seems to have preferred the kid-glove approach to fix Wentz over the alternatives.
As the owner, one with a good track record, that’s was his call.
Ed Kracz is the publisher of EagleMaven. Check out anything you may have missed pertaining to the Eagles by going to www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.