After whiffing on their top three Head Coaching candidates to replace Andy Reid, the Philadelphia Eagles announced Tuesday that they will interview former Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith on Thursday.
Spurned by top choices Bill O’Brien from Penn State and Chip Kelly from the University of Oregon who opted to return to college, and Doug Marrone who made the leap from Syracuse University to the Buffalo Bills in the NFL, the Eagles brass has been forced to turn their attention to Plan B.
Philadelphia will meet with Smith, who spent nine seasons with Chicago, compiling a 81-63 record while making one visit to the Super Bowl in 2006 and making the playoffs three times in that span.
Smith was fired by the Bears on New Year’s Eve despite winning 10 games this season and narrowly missing the playoffs for the seventh time during his tenure. The Bears suffered only two losing seasons since Smith became Head Coach in 2004.
The 54-year old Smith is a defense-centric Head Coach that has led his teams to an average finish of 10th in the league in scoring defense over the last nine years. The Eagles defense finished the 2012 season 18th in total defense while allowing 27.8 points per game. Philadelphia’s defense could use a dose of consistency after Defensive Coordinator Juan Castillo was fired on October 16th, and he was replaced by Todd Bowles, the team’s secondary coach.
Chicago’s defense has featured some of the most feared players in the league including linebacker Brian Urlacher and cornerback Charles Tillman. Tillman has recorded 33 interceptions in 142 career starts for the Bears and made two trips to the Pro Bowl under Smith.
Philadelphia’s last 14 years were manned by Andy Reid, one of the premier offensive minds in the league and the franchise leader in both regular season and playoff victories.
In addition to Smith, the Eagles traveling contingent consisting of owner Jeffrey Lurie, GM Howie Roseman and President Don Smolenski, have already met with Kelly, Falcons Defensive Coordinator Mike Nolan and Special Teams Coach Keith Armstrong, Denver Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy and have been granted permission to speak to the likes of Seattle’s Gus Bradly, Cincinnati’s Jay Gruden and Colts Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians.
As up and coming assistant coaches continue to be scooped up by teams to fill Head Coach vacancies across the league, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that Smith is in the running to be the next Eagles Defensive Coordinator, at not Head Coach.