Eagles peel back curtain on interview process for coaches

Cincinnati Bengals v Philadelphia Eagles
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NFL teams rarely share much information regarding the inner workings of their procedures for hiring head coaches. In extended remarks preceding the formal introduction of coach Nick Sirianni on Friday, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie peeled back the curtain, a little.

“Our interviews are long,” Lurie said, via the transcript provided by the Eagles. “They’re anywhere from usually seven to 10 hours, non-stop. We delve into every aspect of the sport, leadership, football, in many, many ways. Our fan base, what we want to accomplish in the near future and going forward. . . . They give a lot to us. We don’t give a lot to them.”

Lurie also explained that the Eagles entered the process with roughly 25 names of coaches to consider.

“We go into the details of their background, not just their résumés, but every aspect of leadership potential, X’s and O’s, of course, but far more than you would expect in terms of just what’s on a football résumé,” Lurie said. “It’s much more about the people and how they conduct themselves, how they surround themselves, do they reach for greatness, are they risk averse, do they manage well, do they have a great attention to detail, how are they to work with, how are they to work with when there’s ups and downs of a season, how are they under enormous stress, how are they in competitive situations? The list goes on and on and on about the characteristics. . . . I think for the Eagles, what we’ve harped on very, very much is we’re looking for the best football leader going forward. It’s not about who is the hot coordinator, who is the best Xs and Os, who is the best résumé. Everything is important. Everything is important.”

The Eagles then cut the initial group of roughly 25 to a smaller group of candidates to be interviewed.

“[W]ith lots and lots of research, [we] narrow it,” Lurie said. “In this case we narrowed it to 10. We interviewed 10 candidates. Again, I was blown away by the quality of these candidates. The NFL is lacking in slots, not in candidates. I’m really glad to be able to say that. I’m not saying that diplomatically. Trust me, any friend who has asked me, it’s like these were really, really impressive people and candidates. Some of them quite young. They’ll be the hot candidates in a year, two or three, no question about it. That’s what we learned in the process.”

Lurie also said that the interview, despite its length and apparent intensity, counts for “probably 33 percent” of the broader decision.

Regardless of Lurie’s intended reason(s) for providing such transparency, it necessarily helps boost the decision to hire Sirianni by suggesting that he emerged from a rigorous, probing, and demanding process that started with 25 or so highly-qualified candidates and ended with one. The message to fans and media: By winning this contest of coaches, Sirianni must be extraordinarily qualified.

“As soon as you got to spend time with Nick, and we probably spent about, I don’t know, 10, 12 hours together over two days, it became apparent that this is a very special communicator, not just a brilliant football IQ, which was very evident early on as we went through how he game plans, how he attacks defenses, how he maximizes personnel, not just relying on a scheme but how to each week attack exactly who you’re playing, what their strengths and weaknesses are in great detail,” Lurie said. “Much more than that. . . . He’s somebody who connects with everybody. To me, it continues the culture we’ve had and builds on it. In today’s world, it doesn’t get talked about maybe that often, but for the Eagles, culture remains the most important thing. In our world today, there’s such polarization, there’s such a disconnect between people, people get divided by race, by age, by politics, whatever it is. There’s social media that contributes to that.

“I think it’s really valuable to have somebody that innately and genuinely cares about who they work with, the players that play for them and with them, the other coaches, the staff. Somebody who is genuine about caring. For me, Nick epitomizes that. The first step I think in being a great coach in modern football today, modern sports today, is to care very much about the players and coaches you work with, and everybody. But a player who is 22, 30 years old, in this world, if you care, you can earn trust. If the caring is not real, if you’re not being genuine, players are too smart and they see right through that, as they should.”

Lurie also admitted that, with Sirianni, there will be “a lot of projection” regarding his ongoing development.

“It’s an evaluation of what is now and what coach he can become and what organization we can become with his leadership,” Lurie said.

That’s an implicit plea from Lurie for patience. And it implies that Lurie will be patient. Sirianni may not be ready immediately to become one of the best head coaches in football, but in time he will.

Since firing Andy Reid at the end of the 2012 season, the Eagles kept Chip Kelly for three years and Doug Pederson for five. Pederson didn’t last even though he won a Super Bowl and took the team to the playoffs in three of five seasons. When will Lurie be doing this again?

At this point and moving forward, it’s up to Sirianni.

24 responses to “Eagles peel back curtain on interview process for coaches

  1. “This is a very special communicator”

    Jeff must have missed the coach’s introductory press conference.

  2. Lurie loves to talk about how smart he thinks he is. It’s his hubris that have the Eagles in this mess in the first place.

  3. Unfortunately for my Eagles, neither Lurie nor Howie know anything about football, so even after listening to some poor soul rambling for 7-10 hours, they are in no better position to select a good person.

  4. It’s a QB league, so winning comes down to how well you can evaluate QB’s. I mean, didn’t Bill Belichick just go from the GOAT to a coach that missed the playoffs entirely, the minute Tom Brady left for Tampa? And didn’t Tampa Bay go from a team that hasn’t won a playoff game in 18 years, to a super bowl team as soon as Tom Brady arrived? I mean, the final four playoff teams had arguably the top 4 QB’s in the league. I’m sure all the ex-Patriots assistants who had gotten head coaching jobs interviewed very well. I’m sure they could go on and on about the Patriot Way and about how they can come into the building and build a winning culture, just like New England. Well, they’ve all been fired. I like Mr. Lurie, but I hope he realizes what it takes to win. It’s important for the coach and the owner to be on the same page, but the fans also want wins. I hope Lurie spends as much energy choosing the right guy to evaluate QB’s. That’s really the bottom line in today’s NFL. Look how long Andy Reid has been coaching. He had won a lot of games, but no Super Bowls. He never had the best QB. He finally found an elite QB, and he moved up in the draft to take him. Not everyone agreed, and this is what I’m talking about. It was the ability to evaluate and recognize Mahomes’. Don’t listen to the Mahomes doubters who are now saying it’s Andy’s coaching. Andy was heavily criticized for questionable coaching prior to Mahomes. Andy hasn’t changed. Now Andy Reid is a first ballot HOF coach. I also agree with everything Lurie is talking about. Lurie is a very smart man, and Howie Roseman is too. But Belichick, Andy Reid, and now Bruce Arians would have to agree. The team with the best QB almost always wins. But someone in that building needs to find that QB. That guy is the most important person in the entire building.

  5. He’s not the only new head coach hire lately that has underwhelmed in the public speaking department. Go take a speach class dudes. They’re paying you millions to clearly communicate and inspire confidence. Practice or something. People never cease to amaze me.

  6. What Jeff didn’t mention is that during the 7-10 hour interviews, Jeff does the talking for 6-9 of those hours. If the candidate does not get up and leave, he then becomes a finalist.

  7. Please. Lurie’s questions were, “Are you going to play Wentz, and do you like Howie?”

  8. 1- nice way of masking the clear incompetence of the GM and I’m starting to think the owner, too

    2- nobody cares about this

    3 – they care about how a locker room is managed, how a game is managed, how games are won and lost.

    4 -they care about the talent being decided by football people

    5 – they aren’t looking for Hallmark calling card people as HCs

    6 – the truth is this: for the second time in a row, they hired the fifth guy on the list. Why? Because no one wants to work with Roseman.

    7 – They should ve just given it to Duce Staley, which the fan base would’ve supported in spite of lack of complete background to ve a HC.

    8 – the guy they hired wont do well in the aggressive Phila media mkt

  9. Roseman and Lurie have convinced themselves they are football guys and smarter than everyone else. This combo is running the franchise into the ground.

  10. Sirianni gonna be upset when he gets in camp and realizes wentz is rubbish. And Hurts doesn’t have a big enough sample or enough quality around him to succeed. Laurie acts like he was a win or two out of the playoffs…oh wait in the NFC east he was.

  11. Man, Lurie can’t do anything right according to some of you.

    The guy describes his interview process in more detail than any owner in recent history and it sounds holistic and thorough. But you say he’s “trying to make himself sound smart” by being this open and honest about the process.

    He was running the team back when they were winning year in and year out under Reid, and when they won a Super Bowl, but you give him no credit for it and now you think he was stupid to get rid of Reid. But you were the same people who wanted Reid gone for almost his entire 14 year tenure in midnight green.

    And as for Roseman, 2 years ago, after the Lombardi came to Philly, you were all on here saying “Howie’s playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers.” Now, according the very same people, Howie’s been running the team into the ground for years.

    Make up your minds.

  12. Evil Genius or Incompetent Fool ? I’m going to take a wild guess Lurie is somewhere in between. Its his billion dollar franchise and he can do what he wants with it……

  13. stinkman says:
    January 30, 2021 at 9:51 am

    Lurie loves to talk about how smart he thinks he is. It’s his hubris that have the Eagles in this mess in the first place.

    You know what the funny part is? He never took that approach before. He let the people he hired do their jobs. Didn’t get involved at all. Until Reid left.

    Which brings me to my next point. If they hadn’t caught lightning in a bottle 3 years ago, they (“they” being the Jeff and Howie show) wouldn’t have the “credibility” to justify what they are doing now.

    THEY found Pederson
    THEY found Wentz ( uh huh….sure did )
    THEY put the finishing touches on a roster that earned them the first SB championship in the 88 year history of the franchise. (Overlooking the fact the core players of that team were here before Roseman regained personnel control in 2016)

    THEY did it before and THEY will (attempt to ) do it again.

    To me, this looks like the ‘new’ tank. When your QB (seemingly) can’t perform at a high level anymore and your coach ( seemingly) loses the locker room, initiate tanking procedures.

    1. Fire the coaching staff, gut the roster and clear out salary.
    2. Hire inexperienced coaches, so no realistic expectation of winning exists for at least 2 years.
    3. Trade assets ( aging and expensive veterans) for draft capital.
    4. Draft another ‘franchise’ QB
    5. Rebuild roster from scratch.

    THEY did it before and, clearly, they look like they are doing it again.

    Nicky the S is just a placeholder for a few seasons. When they are serious about winning again ( and if they have the QB), they’ll hire a coach that has a pedigree of doing so.

    By first impressions, this guy isn’t it.

  14. And as for Roseman, 2 years ago, after the Lombardi came to Philly, you were all on here saying “Howie’s playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers.” Now, according the very same people, Howie’s been running the team into the ground for years.

    Make up your minds.


    No problem. I have. Roseman has. The proof is overwhelming. OVER. WHELMING.

    Here’s some more irony: Lurie seemingly has the loyalty …this OMERTA to Roseman for one reason or another, even in the very obvious face of failure , bordering on incompetence. Probably because of the way he shunned his protege when Chip Kelly arrived in 2013. I guess he feels obligated to give me a chance to redeem himself. That’s fine. Maybe even admirable.

    But the fact remains the majority of core players on the 2017 team were not assembled by Roseman, but his predecessors. The people that Lurie wanted OVER his prodigical son are most responsible than what Roseman did in 2 years prior that championship season.

    He made some key free agent signings, made some shrewd trades for draft position, and got extremely lucky with UFAs and their contribution to the club.

    However, since then,…..it has been a disaster. It isn’t even a discussion. You might say 2 playoff appearances after a SB isn’t too bad and you might be right.

    But the how the entire team just took a collective dump last season and how the QB dragged this team, built in large part by Roseman, to the playoffs with an offense Temple wouldn’t even start, the previous season, is nothing short of a miracle.

    (oh yeah….the same QB that you’re trying to trade now…)

  15. Well, the Eagles are good at hiring football coaches as their hires have won 2 of the last 3 Super Bowls. They are just not good at keeping them…….

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