Matt Rhule is out in Carolina after a 1-4 start and a dismal 11-27 mark over parts of three seasons.
It never accomplishes much to replace a coach in-season with an interim mentor, save for the head start you get in advance of hiring season.
Steve Wilks, a one-and-done head coach in Arizona back in 2018 who is a Charlotte native, will get 12 games to try to convince David Tepper, one of the richest owners in the NFL, that safe is a better bet than splash.
That’s an uphill battle, though.
For those who forgot after all the losing, Rhule, a former Temple coach, was a one-time splash, one that took seven years to get him out of the college ranks and back to the NFL while also fending him off from the New York Giants.
The length of Rhule’s contract will have Tepper paying some money for years to come even if offset language is in the deal and Rhule secures a big-money college deal as expected.
For some owners, that might give pause to going down the rabbit hole of big money and grandiose promises again, but this is the owner who pressed for Deshaun Watson hardest early in that process and is believed to want to look at a Sean Payton-level name to restore some cachet into Charlotte.
The thing is when you hire coaches for anything other than winning football games it’s usually a bad idea.
The latest example of that is Denver, who hired Nathaniel Hackett to be a recruiting tool and never got the recruit (Aaron Rodgers). The early returns on that decision point to the least-prepared first-time head coach since Adam Gase or perhaps Josh McDaniels.
If Tepper learned anything from his Rhule mistake, he’ll want to stay away from college head coaches making the leap, long contracts, perhaps the en vogue names, and get on the pendulum to a more hands-on offensive coach instead of the CEO type that Rhule proved to be.
Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen fits that bill during the snapshot of October but will need to finish strong to be a real contender here and elsewhere come January.
Although Payton is clearly the crown jewel expected to be on the market this winter, other former head coaches like Dan Quinn, the current Cowboys defensive coordinator, and Mike Zimmer, the ex-Vikings coach, could spark interest.
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Then there are the typical younger coaches waiting for their turns like former Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans, the current 49ers DC, Dallas OC Kellen Moore, Tampa Bay OC Byron Leftwich, and New York Giants OC Mike Kafka, a former Eagles draft pick and backup QB.
Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon also remains a hot commodity after getting bites from three organizations back in January.
Steichen is getting noticed for two reasons: Nick Sirianni’s acknowledgment that he stepped back to a CEO role and handed the play calling to Steichen last season and the development of Jalen Hurts under their watch.
The 2022 Eagles offense, Steichen’s first full season at the helm as the play-caller, has proven to be equally adept at running the football and throwing it based on the opposition’s game plan.
Through their league-best 5-0 start, the Eagles have found different ways to win.
Philadelphia’s start has the betting markets placing Steichen third in the race to be Carolina’s next full-time head coach.
His current odds are plus-500, according to OddsChecker. That’s behind only Payton at plus-350 and Quinn at plus-450 and it gives Steichen a 16.7% implied chance of getting the job.
Gannon is No. 7 on the list at plus-1200 with a 7.7% implied chance.
The only names higher than Gannon are the aforementioned trio along with Moore, Wilks, and former Carolina head coach Ron Rivera, who would have to be fired in Washington first.
Get used to all of this hype if the Eagles continue to play well because the unintended consequence of success in the NFL is losing assistant coaches.
The more the Eagles win the less likely Steichen and Gannon are back for the 2023 season.
-John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com’s Eagles Today and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on YouTube. John is also the host of his own show “Extending the Play” on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen