- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Philadelphia Eagles announced Monday that they have interviewed former Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt for their vacant head-coaching position. Whisenhunt, who coached the Cardinals for six seasons and went to one Super Bowl (famously beating the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game four years ago to get there), is the second former NFL head coach whose name has surfaced in connection with the Eagles in the last two days. CSNPhilly.com reported that they also have interviewed former Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick.
Combined with the expected interviews of Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden and Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, this brings the number of known interviewed Eagles candidates to 12, including the three college coaches who turned them down and decided to stay at their schools. What's interesting is the variety -- the college coaches, offensive coordinators, defensive coordinators such as Seattle's Gus Bradley and former head coaches in Billick, Whisenhunt and Lovie Smith.
What it says to me is that the Eagles don't have a clear preference among their remaining available candidates and are interviewing as many people as possible to make sure they make the right decision. Some have expressed frustration that the process is taking so long and appears to lack focus, but I don't think either of those is a valid criticism. I think there's no harm in casting a wide net, especially when you don't have a clear top choice (or when your top choice, who in this case I believe was Oregon's Chip Kelly, has already passed). If nothing else, in talking to men who've done the job at the NFL level, the Eagles' decision-makers can get a sense of the different approaches people take to the job and maybe educate themselves about what they like and don't like in a candidate.
Eagles fans haven't been through a coaching search in 14 years, so they can be forgiven for forgetting what it's like. But a lot of times, this is it. And it's only been two weeks since Andy Reid was fired, so really it hasn't taken as long as it may seem. Just because you're hearing different names of different types of candidates doesn't mean anything negative about the search. If anything, it's careful and purposeful, which is good because it's important to get it right.