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Eagles coaching job, Ray Lewis, RGIII in NFL Unfiltered: Wildcard Edition


Contrary to the views held by both the fans and the local media, the Philadelphia Eagles’ head coaching job is not one of the best in the NFL.  

Of course, someone will eventually fill the position since there are so few openings and there is no shortage of men lacking the self-awareness to recognize their shortcomings.  

Still, it has been a week since the Eagles unceremoniously showed Andy Reid the door.  And after a flirtation with Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, (more on him later) the Birds must continue their search.  That is a surprise, since the assumption around here is the Eagles’ gig is a good one and the best candidates are angling to get it. 

And before you accuse me of being reactionary or revisionist, keep in mind I voiced my concerns about Reid’s eminent departure in this space over a year ago.  My main question then is the same as it is now: who does Jeffrey Lurie think he is?  

Does he realize an owner’s main role is as a glorified ATM?  Is he smart enough to understand he should have the biggest chair in the room but the smallest voice?  Could he possibly fool himself into thinking he can make a significant football contribution after rubbing elbows with the NFL’s enlightened for 14 seasons?

The Eagles will hire someone eventually but the best available coaches, the ones with the largest cache, must have concerns regarding the direction of the franchise.  If you were Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly, wouldn’t you like to know general manager Howie Roseman’s role?  Wouldn’t you want assurances that your future is not dependent upon his ability to evaluate talent?  

The other important question that is surely being discussed in each interview is whom do the Eagles brain trust believe is the starting quarterback?  How can you possibly sell the job to the best candidates when it is very possible next year’s starter is not even on the roster?

One of the NFL’s indelible myths is the notion a bad team is not that far away. The truth is, without good quarterback play, or at least good quarterback play during a game’s most pivotal moments, teams lose most of the time.

Nevertheless, I am not saying Lurie should have kept Reid.  He had his time and his recent failures warranted a change, but you were mistaken if you expected the Eagles to have their choice of any coach they really wanted.  

Like virtually all other endeavors, the NFL is about relationships and if Reid is as highly regarded as they say, you have to wonder if firing him has forced the Eagles to answer some difficult questions.  

Now, it appears Atlanta Falcons’ defensive coordinator Mike Nolan is garnering consideration.  He is exactly the kind of second-tier, self-deluded man I mean.  Nolan has likely convinced himself he has learned from past mistakes as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, including drafting quarterback Alex Smith over Aaron Rodgers because of Smith’s unwavering obedience.  If that were not enough, later in Smith’s career, Nolan publicly embarrassed him by questioning his toughness. Naturally, Smith tried to prove Nolan wrong by playing through a shoulder sprain and wound up requiring season-ending surgery.       

Nolan’s candidacy reeks of desperation, and it makes me wonder how much longer Lurie’s wish list will get.  
What the pundits can’t or won’t say

Apparently, there is nothing in Reid’s personal life that fulfills him like the grind of the NFL.  That is so incredibly sad, I feel sorry for him.  

I applaud Chip Kelly for having the wherewithal to see his quality of life is very good…this time. However, there is something inherently wrong with his obvious need for wooing.  

Bengals’ head coach Marvin Lewis managed the game like Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin.  That is not a compliment..  

I keep hearing from friends Texans quarterback Matt Schaub is good enough, but every time I watch him I am less than impressed.  

Shame on Vikings’ offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave.  Instead of leaving the outcome in the hands of the NFL’s likely MVP, running back Adrian Peterson, he decided to show the world how balanced and innovative he is.  Joe Webb should not have attempted more than 15 passes regardless of the score.  

Since passing teams are comfortable calling 40 pass plays in a game, why are running teams reluctant to call 40 run plays?  Charles Woodson made a difference in that game, but I would have tested his twice-repaired collarbone a lot more.  

Andrew Luck fought hard, but the Colts are making a grave mistake if they view him as a savior.  Like every quarterback in the league, the skill of his teammates will determine his success.  Ray Lewis photo: Getty Images

Because the Ravens won the Super Bowl, I consider Ray Lewis the best linebacker of his era, just ahead of Junior Seau.  But in my view, he is not one of the top 10 defensive players of all time.  If I really give it some thought, he might not be in my top 25.  

Also, regarding Lewis, his leadership is terrific, but the notion he is the best leader ever is absurd. Too often loudest and best are synonymous.  He is unquestionably the most promoted leader in NFL history.  

If Robert Griffin III needs reconstructive surgery on his knee, head coach Mike Shanahan should clean out his office.  He has been in charge of a valuable commodity less than a year and he allowed it to depreciate.  Simply unforgivable.  

Lost in the furor surrounding RGIII’s injury is the fact the Redskins might need three new receivers.  

Here’s hoping all the stats geeks notice the rather pedestrian numbers quarterbacks are posting in the playoffs.

Congratulations to everyone’s darling, the Seattle Seahawks.  They are playing good ball, but they are still under .500 on the road this season.

I am surprised there aren’t more confrontations after pro football games. There is at least one agitator like Seahawks’ cornerback Richard Sherman on every squad.   

Top four this week (rankings disclaimer: my top four will always feature two AFC teams and two NFC teams).

1. Denver Broncos (13-3) – Manning cannot outsmart the Ravens.    
2. Atlanta Falcons (13-3) – This is Matt Ryan’s best chance.   
3. San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1) – The most important Smith will play some.
4. New England Patriots (12-4) – If they score first it will get ugly again.

Earl Myers is a freelance writer from the Philadelphia area.  He closely follows North America's four major sports leagues but just about any sporting event gets his attention.  His goal is to provoke a little thought in his readers.

Contact Earl at emyersiii@gmail.com

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