Andy Reid was fired on Monday morning in front of a ton of press members, and gave a somber farewell speech to his players who were visibly upset to see the downfall of their season fall on Reid's shoulders. Owner Jeffery Lurie presented Reid with a commemorative football for all the work he had done in his 14 years with the organization, and just like that Reid was out as the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. Lurie stressed in his press conference with the media that he will closely examine the names they will consider for the coaching vacancy, and are looking for a coach with exemplary leadership ability. As the days go by, the interviews will start and it is time to look at what names are being considered, and who will be the best fit on the sidelines in Philly for 2013.
Dick Nolan---Atlanta Defensive Coordinator
Nolan is 53 years old, and has been coaching football at the collegiate and professional level since the early 1980's. He was formerly the head coach for the San Francisco 49ers from 2005-2008 where he went 18-37. Nolan is a defensive minded coach, and was a defensive coordinator with the Ravens, Jets, Redskins and Giants before landing his first head coaching stint with the 49ers. He was hired in January of 2012 as the defensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, and has them ranked 22nd overall in the league. Nolan has longed for another shot at trying his hand at head coaching once again, and definitely has a dynamic personality that can overtake a locker room. He was heavily scrutinized during the end of his tenure in the Bay Area with the 49ers, but since then has been praised for his work with Miami and Atlanta this season.
Keith Armstrong---Atlanta Special Teams Coordinator
Armstrong is a Bucks County, Pennsylvania native and played his college football in Philly at Temple University. Upon graduating he took a graduate assistant position with the football team and worked his way up the coaching ranks. Armstrong is highly regarded as one of the best special teams coordinators in the NFL, and has had the Falcons in the top of the league the past five seasons. Armstrong also is reportedly going to interview for the Chicago Bears head coaching vacancy as well. His only "downfall", if you want to call it that, is he has never had any head coaching experience at any level. Nolan may not have the most sparkling head coaching record, but he has shown that he can command a locker room. Armstrong has yet to show that he can lead an entire organization thus far, so it'll be interesting to see how highly Lurie, GM Howie Roseman and President Don Smolenski think of Armstrong in the interview process. All three have stressed they are looking for someone with strong leadership ability, and Armstrong will have to separate himself from the other candidates in terms of his resume and experience. He is 47 years old, so is still relatively young in terms of getting his first shot at a head coaching vacancy. Most organizations have started to stray away from the older coaches and are looking for younger, uptempo coaches that have more energy than their elder counterparts.
Mike McCoy---Denver Offensive Coordinator
McCoy has become the hottest name on the coaching block in the past week, as pretty much every team with a head coaching vacancy has requested an interview with him. He's young (age 40), and has proven he had achieve success in the NFL. He's doing a tremendous job with Denver this season, and has Manning and the offense well on their way to make a deep postseason run. McCoy, like Armstrong, has never been a head coach at the collegiate or professional level. He has shown he is an amazing schemer and offensive architect, and was one of the main reasons Tim Tebow saw success in Denver's surprising playoff run last year. Reid was an offensive coach before coming to Philadelphia, so it'll be interesting to see if Lurie & Co. will stay away from an offensive-minded coach this time through, or stick with what they know.
Bill O'Brien---Penn State University Head Coach
O'Brien has also become a hot name on the market the past two weeks, and it is becoming interesting to see if he will leave PSU for the NFL. He was the offensive coordinator for the Patriots before leaving to take the reins at Penn State after the Jerry Sandusky scandal. He took a Nittany Lions team that was supposed to fall well below mediocrity this year to an 8-4 record and ended the year with a dramatic overtime victory over Wisconsin. His agent says that O'Brien is staying at Penn State, but the rumor mill has been swirling. PSU has an $5-8 million dollar buyout with O'Brien that he would have to pay if he were to leave before his contract expires, but most NFL owners could pay that at ease if they wanted him bad enough. Time will tell if O'Brien will bite at his first opportunity at coaching at the highest level of football, or if he will stay and continue to build a new legacy at PSU. O'Brien definitely fits the mold of the leadership qualities that Lurie is looking for, and has shown his players at Penn State have bought into him, his systems, and his coaching philosophy.
Vic Fangio---San Francisco 49ers Defensive Coordinator
Fangio followed current 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh from Stanford University to the Bay Area and has transformed the 'Niners defensive unit into the league's best this year. They rank 4th in opposing passing and rushing yards, and have produced a league high 35 turnovers this season. Fangio has also been a defensive coordinator for the Texans, Panthers and Colts. He is 54 years old, and has Pennsylvania roots as well, hailing from Dunmore, Pa and receiving a degree from East Stroudsburg University. Personally, I'd rather see Fangio hired over Nolan if it came down to the two of them. They both are defensive minded coaches, and we already know how Nolan has fared as a head coach. Fangio has been around the league long enough that he deserves a shot at being a head coach at some organization within the NFL, whether with the Eagles or another team.