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Coaches the Eagles should consider

JEFF LURIE wants his next head coach to be a smart, strategic thinker. He wants someone who interacts well and communicates clearly with everyone he works with and comes in contact with, including, presumably, us media scum.

JEFF LURIE wants his next head coach to be a smart, strategic thinker. He wants someone who interacts well and communicates clearly with everyone he works with and comes in contact with, including, presumably, us media scum.

He wants someone who understands the passion of the fans and what it's like to coach in this Super Bowl-starved city.

He wants someone with an attention to detail. Someone who can "open their heart to players and everybody you want to achieve peak performance." Someone who "values emotional intelligence."

I'm assuming he also wants someone who knows how to coach football; someone who, in the immortal words of Bum Phillips, can take his'n and beat your'n and take your'n and beat his'n.

Lurie hit a home run - OK, a triple - in 1999 when he plucked an up-and-coming NFL assistant by the name of Andy Reid to coach the Eagles.

He flied out to center three years ago when he hired Chip Kelly away from the University of Oregon.

But Lurie insisted Wednesday that his unfulfilled experience with Kelly won't prevent him from dipping his toes into the college waters again if he feels somebody there is worth considering.

"No category is diminished here," Lurie said. "We're going to look at NFL coaches, NFL coordinators, college coaches, retired coaches, any category you can come up with if we think it's the best candidate."

Here are six names to keep in mind:

David Shaw: Stanford's 43-year-old Shaw is one of the most highly regarded coaches in college football. He knows the pro game well, having spent nine years as an NFL assistant, including two with the Eagles in the late-1990s on Ray Rhodes' staff. His father, Willie, was a longtime NFL assistant.

"He's very cerebral, very creative offensively," an NFC executive said. "He knows how to utilize personnel. He's got a run-oriented philosophy, which I like."

Shaw was Jim Harbaugh's offensive coordinator at Stanford from 2007-10, then was elevated to head coach when Harbaugh left to take the 49ers' job. He has been on the short lists of NFL teams for a few years now, but hasn't been interested in leaving Stanford. Maybe that has changed, maybe it hasn't. It won't hurt the Eagles to ask.

Jon Gruden: Gruden, 52, hasn't coached since the Bucs fired him after the 2008 season. He has spent the last seven years working as analyst for ESPN's "Monday Night Football" broadcasts. He's had numerous opportunities to get back into the coaching game before but has declined.

Lurie knows Gruden well. He was the Eagles' offensive coordinator from 1995-97. Has the kind of dynamic personality Lurie is looking for in a coach, and he absolutely loves the passion of Eagles fans. He still brags about how he used to get booed by the toll takers on the Walt Whitman Bridge on the way to work.

"I don't worry about the time away from the game with him because, between the 'Monday Night Football' thing and his quarterback camp and the contacts he has, he's kept his fingers in the pie ever since he left Tampa," an AFC personnel director said. "He's stayed on top of personnel. When he came in to do one of our games, he knew everybody on both rosters. He was asking questions about guys the average commentator wouldn't know about."

A big concern with Gruden would be his desire for control. He'd likely want final say over personnel decisions. Lurie's new and improved plan is a collaborative arrangement involving the new coach, senior director of player personnel Tom Donahoe and executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman. Gruden could work with Donahoe. But Roseman might be a deal-breaker.

"In my conversations with Jon," the AFC personnel man said, "he realizes the importance of having somebody that he can work with, and the person understands that they're going to respect one another. He's going to listen to him. Because he realizes you can't do both. Truthfully, I don't see that as an issue."

Mike Munchak: The 55-year-old Munchak was a Hall of Fame offensive lineman with the Houston Oilers. He was the Tennessee Titans' head coach from 2011-13 and has spent the last two seasons as an offensive-line coach with the Steelers.

He's not a glamour name, but is well-respected.

"He has a presence," said the NFC executive. "Talking to people on his staff when he was the head coach, he didn't act like an offensive-line coach. He acted like a head coach. He coached the coordinators and allowed the coordinators to coach the assistants. I think he knows how to be a guy in charge.

"A lot of these new coaches, they don't graduate from their expertise, whether it's coordinator or position coach or whatever. Mike gets the big picture. He understands the role of a head coach. And I thought he did as good a job as head coach when he was with Tennessee as anybody could have, given the talent around him. Plus, I've always felt that if it's the right guy, he'll be a better head coach the second time around."

Matt Patricia: Patricia, 41, is New England's defensive coordinator. You've no doubt seen him on TV on the Patriots' sideline. He's the burly guy with the black beard and the backward cap.

Patricia isn't flamboyant like Gruden. His demeanor and personality are more like Shaw's. "He's more of a strategist," the AFC personnel man said. "He's not into that New England ego thing like some of the guys Bill (Belichick) has had on his staff like (Josh) McDaniels and Charlie Weis and others.

"Watching Matt through the years, he's an all-ball kind of guy. You don't see him running up and down the sideline throwing his headset or yelling at the officials. It's all about the next call. It's all about, what do I have to do correct."

Brian Kelly: Lurie, Roseman and club president Don Smolenski interviewed the Notre Dame coach three years ago before hiring Chip Kelly. Like Chip in 2013, Brian, 54, has no pro experience. But he has been successful everywhere he's coached, from Division II Grand Valley State to Central Michigan to the University of Cincinnati to Notre Dame.

"He's a hard-nosed guy," the NFC executive said. "He's a focused yeller. By that, I mean he yells for a reason,as opposed to just yelling.

"He's a really good X's-and-O's guy. He's won at different levels, in different situations. Notre Dame is a hard, hard job. The expectation level is always up there with the Alabamas every year. But they don't have the ability to get players that some other schools (with less stringent academic standards) have.

"I know it's a cliché, but he's just a winner. Even though he's never coached in the NFL, I have no doubt he could be successful."

Mike Shula: Don's kid. Shula, 50, who is the Carolina Panthers' offensive coordinator, has sandwiched 23 years as an NFL assistant around a forgettable four-year stretch as Alabama's head coach (2003-06).

He has helped turn Cam Newton into an MVP candidate.

"I really like the way he's developed Cam," the NFC executive said. "If you watch their offense since he's been the offensive coordinator, he knows how to utilize players. He's really creative offensively. He adapts the things they do to the people they have.

"With (Kelvin) Benjamin hurt, he's playing with really average receivers this season aside from the tight end (Greg Olsen). But the quarterback makes it go. He's devised a good hybrid offense with Cam."

This and that

* It will be interesting to see whether the Eagles ask permission to interview Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott. McDermott, 39, who grew up in Philly and went to La Salle College High School, spent 11 years on Andy Reid's Eagles staff. He succeeded the late Jim Johnson as the team's defensive coordinator in 2009-10 before Reid let him go. McDermott has taken his opportunity with Carolina and run with it. He is expected to get multiple head-coaching interviews. But while Jeffrey Lurie said he doesn't necessarily favor an offensive coach over a defensive one, I'm not totally convinced of that. Also, according to a league source, the relationship between McDermott and Roseman wasn't all that great when he was here.

* Linebacker Marcus Smith, the team's 2014 first-round pick, didn't play a single defensive snap against Washington and has played only 91 all season. "My expectation was to play on special teams and be in the rotation a lot more than I've been," Smith said earlier this week. "I feel I can be a playmaker when the time's needed. I want to be out there. There's no doubt in my mind that I should be out there at some point in the game."

* Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, who was named the Eagles' interim head coach after Chip Kelly was fired Tuesday, likely will get an interview for the vacant head-coaching job. Both Lurie and Howie Roseman like Shurmur. And his relationship with quarterback Sam Bradford also is a plus for him. But Lurie wants someone who is a strong, decisive leader, and that probably isn't Shurmur. "He'll probably be a fall-back option," said someone familiar with Lurie's thinking. "The fact that they fired Kelly early so that they could get a head start on their search probably means that they're not starting with the thought that Pat is the guy. Maybe if (Lurie) goes through the process and (other) people aren't interested or he can't find the right person, then maybe he comes back to Pat."

Two-minute drill

From the lip

* "Bottom line, I don't see myself in any other helmet but a Saints helmet. And I don't see myself playing for any coach other than Sean Payton. I'm confident that a plan was laid out last offseason for how we're going to build this thing back to where we can make a run." - Saints QB Drew Brees

* "We definitely didn't overlook the Ravens. What bothers me is that people overlook 4-10 teams like they aren't allowed to play good football or play up to a team that is hot or has a winning record. This is the National Football League. It is any given Sunday, and it's not always the best team that wins on Sunday. It's the team that plays best on Sunday." - Steelers RB DeAngelo Williams after the 4-10 Ravens upset his 9-5 team

* "If I'm Jim Caldwell, the first person I want back is myself." - NBC's Tony Dungy, when asked who he thinks the coach of the 6-9 Lions wants back

By the numbers

* The Patriots converted only one of 10 third-down opportunities (10 percent) in Sunday's 26-20 loss to the Jets. That's their lowest third-down success rate since Oct. 20, 2013, when they were 1-for-12 (8.3 percent), also against the Jets.

* The Steelers' loss to the Ravens was the team's 13th defeat to a sub-.500 team in the last four years.

* There have been 20 overtime games this season. That's the fifth most since the league instituted overtime in 1974. The most: 25 in 2002.

* The Redskins are the 12th team in the last 13 seasons to win a division title the year after finishing last or tied for last.

* Falcons wideout Julio Jones had nine catches for 178 yards against the Panthers last week, giving him 127 receptions and 1,722 receiving yards. He's only the second player in league history with at least 125 catches and 1,700 yards in the same season. Marvin Harrison did it in 2002.

Figuring the Eagles

* The Eagles' defense has had problems getting off the field all season. They are 26th in third-down efficiency, allowing opponents to convert 42.6 percent of their third-down opportunities. And they are 25th on third-and-7 or longer. Opponents have converted 29.1 percent of their third downs from that distance (32 of 110). Those 32 first downs allowed on third-and-7+ are the third most in the league. The seven teams with poorer defensive success rates than the Eagles on third-and-7 or more:

1D-Att. Pct. W- L

NYG. . . 30-87 34.5 6-9

JAX. . . 41-119 34.4 5-10

CHI. . . 30-95 31.6 6-9

TB. . . 29-92 31.5 6-9

DET. . . 29-93 31.2 6-9

WAS. . . 31-101 30.7 8-7

CLE. . . 25-84 29.8 3-12

* The Eagles' offense was much better on third down in the second half of the season than it was in the first half, but it didn't show in the record. In their first eight games, they were 29th in the league on third down with a 30.8 percent conversion rate, yet were 4-4. They are eighth on third down in their last seven games (43.6 percent), yet have won just two of them.

* Sam Bradford has a 108.9 third-down passer rating in the last four games, including a .646 completion percentage, 7.7 yards per attempt, three TDs and no interceptions. That's the eighth best rating in the league over that period. The Vikings' Teddy Bridgewater is first, with a 140.6 rating. The Cardinals' Carson Palmer is second at 136.6.

* The Eagles are averaging only 3.9 yards per carry this season. That's the 12th-lowest rush average in the league and the lowest by the Eagles since 1996, when they averaged 3.8 yards. The Eagles are among just eight teams that don't have a 650-yard rusher through 15 games. DeMarco Murray has 633.

* The Eagles blitzed Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins on 11 of 48 pass plays (22.9 percent) Saturday. He completed eight of 11 passes for 84 yards and a touchdown when they sent more than four rushers. He was 24-for-35 with 281 yards and three TDs when they rushed three or four. In their last four games, the Eagles blitzed only 18.4 percent of the times (33 of 179 pass plays). The blitz wasn't very effective. They had a 108.5 opponent passer rating when they blitzed in those four games, 87.7 when they didn't. A breakdown of the Eagles' pass rush this season:

Rushers No. Cmp.-Att. Yds. Rat. TD/I Sks.

Three. . . 40 22-38 229 73.2 1/1 2

Four. . . 414 259-395 2832 95.7 22/9 19

Five. . . 144 75-132 977 74.6 4/5 12

Six. . . 21 9-19 139 111.6 3/0 2

Seven. . . 7 5-7 48 129.7 4/0 0

* The Eagles have given up 48 runs of 10 yards or more. That's the ninth most in the NFL. Last year, they allowed 45, which was the 19th most. In 2013, they gave up only 38, which was the eighth fewest.

On Twitter: @Pdomo