There is more to picking a new head coach than identifying the candidates, interviewing them and hiring the one you think is the best choice. The flip side is that the men you are interviewing also have a choice to make.
The best candidates usually have more than one option and that will certainly be the case again this offseason when as many as 10 teams could be searching for that special guy who they think can turn around a struggling franchise.
How do the Eagles look when you measure them against some of the other potential teams on the head coaching market? That will be up to each candidate to decide, but owner Jeffrey Lurie is on record as saying he does not believe the 2016 Eagles will be a rebuilding team. At least a few people who work at One NovaCare Way agree with him.
"I think we've got a lot of talent," defensive end Brandon Graham said. "I think we do. I think we have a lot of guys in here that I've seen do some amazing things in practice. Sometimes you just never know if you're getting coached right. There are so many things that come into play. Some people probably just weren't feeling Chip [Kelly] and didn't want to give it their all. Who knows? But I know in this locker room we've got the guys to get it done."
Pat Shurmur, in his first news conference as interim head coach, believes the Eagles remain one of the most attractive franchises in the NFL.
"Absolutely," Shurmur said before practice Thursday. "I have very strong feelings about this organization. This is the end of my 13th year here and I've grown to really appreciate how strong this organization really is. All my years here have been terrific. Now, we haven't won every game, but all my years have been great and I certainly think this is an outstanding opportunity for anybody that wants to coach here."
Shurmur, of course, would love to remain with the Eagles and could be a candidate to replace Kelly as the head coach. But the way he looks at the Eagles is going to be different than the way other candidates look at the organization. He already knows the players, both on the field and in the front office. It's hard to imagine that he would balk at the idea of allowing the executive vice president of football operations, Howie Roseman, to make final decisions on the draft, free agency and contract extensions.
That stuff will, however, matter to a coaching candidate coming in from the outside and the Eagles could have a serious perception problem in that regard. What happens, for instance, if a candidate is told that Roseman will make the roster and draft decisions? The candidate will certainly investigate the Eagles' draft history from 2010 through 2014 when Roseman was the general manager.
Lurie previously absolved Roseman for anything that happened in 2010 and 2011, choosing to pin the blame for those disastrous drafts on former coach Andy Reid and former team president Joe Banner. For the record, the Eagles selected 24 players in those two drafts and only three of them - Graham, Riley Cooper and Jason Kelce - remain on the roster.
It can be successfully argued that Roseman did well in the 2012 and 2013 drafts. He took Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks, Vinny Curry and Nick Foles with his first four picks in 2012 and Lane Johnson, Zach Ertz and Bennie Logan with his first three picks in 2013. The first-round selection of Marcus Smith in 2014 already can be declared a disaster.
Whether a coaching candidate believes Roseman had little to do with those 2010 and 2011 drafts could go a long way to how he feels about the organization as a whole. The perception, fair or not, could exist that everyone gets blamed for the Eagles' failures except Roseman, who suddenly has been thrust back into a position of power.
The bigger problem for the Eagles in their search for a new head coach is the quarterback situation. Here's a list of some other teams that could be looking for coaches: Cleveland, Indianapolis, San Diego, the New York Giants, Miami, Detroit, New Orleans, San Francisco and Tennessee.
Every one of those teams, with the exception of Cleveland and San Francisco, knows who its starting quarterback will be next season. The Browns and 49ers may be able to select their next quarterbacks with first-round picks who could be in the top five overall.
Find a head coach who doesn't believe having the right quarterback is essential to success and I'll show you a guy standing on the unemployment line.
The Eagles are likely going to begin their coaching search without knowing whether Sam Bradford is their quarterback of the future, and if they beat the Giants they will also begin their search without a top 10 first-round pick and without a second-round pick.
This might be a great organization to work for, as Shurmur noted, and the passion for the football team around here doesn't figure to wane any time soon. But the Eagles have some high hurdles in front of them as they begin their search for Kelly's replacement.