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January 28, 2024

Eagles coaching search tracker

A running list of all the potential assistant coaches the Eagles have been talking to.

Eagles NFL
012224NickSirianni Kim Klement Neitzel/USA TODAY Sports

It appears that Nick Sirianni will keep his job as the head coach of the Eagles, but his staff should look very different in 2024.

After suffering one of the worst collapses in modern NFL history, the Philadelphia Eagles will be making quite a few changes to their coaching staff this offseason. And so, let's keep track of all the hirings, firings, interviews, and noteworthy rumors in one place. Most recent entries at the top of the tracker:

Kellen Moore expected to become the Eagles' new offensive coordinator (1/28)

Much more on Moore here

Eagles QB coach Alex Tanney is "free to explore other coaching opportunities" (1/27)

Per Jeremy Fowler: 

To translate that, Fowler is saying that Tanney has other coaching opportunities around the league, he asked the Eagles if he could explore those opportunities, and the Eagles said, "Sure."

The switch from Shane Steichen to Brian Johnson at offensive coordinator was a downgrade, obviously, but so to likely was Johnson to Tanney at quarterbacks coach, as Jalen Hurts took a step back in 2023.

So, you know, add quarterbacks coach to the Eagles' search, though they may not begin interviewing folks for the position until the new offensive coordinator is in place.

Joe Barry will interview for a position on the Eagles' staff (1/26)

Per Dianna Russini:

That's presumably be for the linebackers job, given Barry's résumé:

• USC (1995): Graduate assistant & defensive line coach
• Northern Arizona (1996–1998): Linebackers coach & defensive ends coach
• UNLV (1999): Linebackers coach
• San Francisco 49ers (2000): Defensive quality control coach
• Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2001–2006): Linebackers coach
• Detroit Lions (2007–2008): Defensive coordinator
• Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2009): Linebackers coach
• USC (2010–2011): Linebackers coach
• San Diego Chargers (2012–2014): Linebackers coach
• Washington (2015–2016): Defensive coordinator
• Los Angeles Rams (2017–2020): Assistant head coach & linebackers coach
• Green Bay Packers (2021–2023): Defensive coordinator

As you can see, Barry has had three different stints as a defensive coordinator, with the Lions, Washington, and the Packers. The Packers fired him on Wednesday.

Mike Caldwell will interview for a second time with the Eagles, this time for linebackers coach (1/26)

Per Ian Rapoport

Caldwell previously interviewed for the Eagles then-vacant defensive coordinator job. You can scroll down for more on Caldwell. If you'll notice yours truly noted that he'd probably be a better fit for the linebackers job. 🎯🤷‍♂️

The Eagles reportedly interviewed Kellen Moore for vacant offensive coordinator position (1/25)

Moore played in the NFL for six years with the Lions and Cowboys, before transitioning from player to Cowboys quarterbacks coach in 2018. He was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2019 at the age of 30.

The Cowboys led the NFL in yards gained twice in the four years Moore ran the offense. His one season with the Chargers went badly, as the defense was among the league's worst, and head coach Brandon Staley was fired in season. The Chargers' full-season offensive stats were not impressive, but it's worth noting that starting quarterback Justin Herbert suffered a season-ending injury, and backup Easton Stick started the final four games (all losses).

Moore is technically still the Chargers' offensive coordinator, but with Jim Harbaugh having been hired to be the new head coach on Wednesday, Moore could soon be looking for a new job.

The Eagles interviewed Moore for their vacant head coaching job three years ago, but obviously went in a different direction.

More on Moore here.

The Eagles are expected hire Vic Fangio to become their new defensive coordinator

Much more on Fangio here.

The Eagles interviewed Jerrod Johnson for their vacant offensive coordinator job (1/24)

Per Adam Schefter:

Johnson played quarterback in college at Texas A&M, and competed in a bunch of NFL training camps (including an Eagles camp in 2011), but never made a 53-man roster. He became a coach, and has quickly risen up the ranks, landing a quarterbacks coach job with the Texans last offseason.

Soon-to-be Offensive Rookie of the Year C.J. Stroud had an outstanding rookie season at quarterback for the Texans, and he didn't run a simple offense. Stroud was mature as a quarterback beyond his years, throwing with anticipation, and displaying an ability to read defenses, in addition to making good use of his pure physical talents. As such, it should be no surprise that Johnson is getting some interest as a coordinator.

It's worth noting that in November of 2020, the NFL approved a proposal that rewards teams for developing minority coaches and front office executives who go on to become head coaches and general managers for other organizations. If a team loses a minority coach or executive to a head coach or general manager position with another team, they will receive a pair of third-round picks in return. They are called "Resolution JC-2A" picks, but function in a similar way to compensatory picks. Johnson is African-American, and would thus qualify as a minority candidate.

More on Johnson here.

The Eagles interviewed Kliff Kingsbury for their vacant offensive coordinator job (1/24)

Per Mike Garafolo of NFL Network: 

Kingsbury played quarterback in the NFL for five different teams, and he spent some time in NFL Europe and the CFL. He is best known for his four-year head coaching tenure in Arizona, a span during which Kingsbury led the Cardinals to a 28-37-1 record.

The Cardinals' best season under Kingsbury was in 2021, when they jumped out to a 10-2 record, before losing four of their last five games followed by a blowout loss in the wildcard round of the playoffs. That sounds familiar to me for some reason. 🤔

Kingsbury runs the "Air Raid" offense. We'll cover that more in-depth should Kingsbury get hired in some capacity, but if interested you can read up more on that here, but basically it's a spread, up-tempo, mainly shotgun approach, and its effectiveness is contingent on how well the players can master and execute a predictable, limited playbook.

According to Garafolo, this was a virtual meeting, not in-person.

More on Kingsbury here.

Brian Johnson is reportedly out as Eagles' offensive coordinator (1/23)

For the second consecutive offseason, the Philadelphia Eagles will be looking for new offensive and defensive coordinators, as Jeff McLane is reporting that Brian Johnson is out, #AsExpected.

Derrick Gunn had previously reported that "all indications" were that Johnson would not return, but McLane's report is more definitive.

Johnson served as the Eagles' quarterbacks coach in 2021 and 2022, and under his tutelage Jalen Hurts became an MVP candidate. After Shane Steichen left to become the Colts' head coach, it was widely expected that Johnson would take his place, and when he did, the move was met with wide acceptance.

The Eagles' offensive DVOA ranking fell from 3rd in 2022 to 10th in 2023, despite fielding mostly the same cast of players. But worse than the advanced stats was the eye test. There was no mystery that opposing defenses were going to blitz the Eagles heavily, and yet the staff rarely had any basic, quick-hitting throws that could exploit opponents' over-aggressiveness. The absence of adjustments was staggering.

Anytime the offense struggled, the fan base (mostly) blamed Johnson, an easy target because he was the new face in the offense's brain trust, but it was hardly all on him. You could probably take your pick of where to lay the blame: 

• Was it Nick Sirianni? It was his offense that the team was running.

• Was it Brian Johnson? He was calling the plays.

• Was it Jalen Hurts? He ran the offense on the field.

The answer to all three questions is "Yes." In Johnson's case, there's no question that he was a downgrade as a play caller from Steichen. 

Interestingly, Johnson was reportedly going to be interviewing for the Falcons', Titans', and Panthers' head coaching vacancies. His chances of landing a head coaching job were always a longshot, and interest in him from those teams seemed to have fizzled out in recent days.

The Eagles will interview former Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell (1/22)

Per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.

Caldwell played linebacker for six different teams from 1993-2003, including the Eagles from 1998-2001. He's been a coach in the NFL since 2008, serving as the Jaguars' defensive coordinator for the last two. 

The Buccaneers got outstanding linebacker play from Devin White and Lavonte David during Caldwell's time in Tampa (2019-2021), with both players earning All-Pro nods and Super Bowl rings in 2020. Fowler's report notes that the Eagles are interviewing Caldwell and that they are "looking for a new defensive coordinator," but it does not expressly say that he is interviewing for that specific vacancy.

If Caldwell is interviewing for a job working with the linebackers, that is a position where he has definitively had success, and the Eagles could certainly use a strong coach at that position. His résumé as a defensive coordinator is less accomplished.

More on Caldwell here.

Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni and general manager Howie Roseman will hold a press conference on Wednesday (1/22)

If it wasn't already clear that Sirianni will remain the Eagles' head coach in 2024, it should be now.

The Eagles will interview former Commanders and Panthers head coach Ron Rivera for their vacant defensive coordinator position (1/22)

Per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.

Rivera was a linebacker for the Chicago Bears from 1984 to 1992, and he has been coaching in the NFL since 1997. He has 13 NFL seasons under his belt as a head coach, with a career record of 102-103-2. He was 76-63-1 with the Panthers, which included a Super Bowl appearance in 2015, and 26-40-1 with the Commanders. He has six additional years as a defensive coordinator with the Bears and Chargers, and he was also a part of the Eagles' staff during the Andy Reid years as a linebackers coach.

Rivera is thought of as a good person, and one of the selling points for him as a leader of the Commanders was that he would help strengthen the team's disastrous culture, which was basically an impossible task while Dan Snyder still owned the team. He probably should have been let go after the 2022 season, but he survived firings likely because of the transfer of ownership from Snyder to Josh Harris. Once the Commanders' 4-13 season ended, moving on from Rivera was an obvious choice.

Rivera doubled at times as the team's chief personnel decision maker, and he was never able field a quality roster, most notably failing to find a capable franchise quarterback. He also struggled with game management decisions, and often failed to take appropriate risks, despite being known to some as "Riverboat Ron." It could also be argued that some of his coaching staff hirings were questionable, most notably tabbing numbskull Jack Del Rio to run his defense.

However, a move back to his roots as a defensive coach — minus the added responsibilities of personnel decisions, game management, and hiring a coaching staff — could be an invigorating move for Rivera. From the Eagles' perspective, Rivera could provide competent leadership on the defensive side of the ball, which is something they lacked in 2023.

More on Rivera here

Eagles de facto defensive coordinator Matt Patricia 'plans to explore other opportunities' (1/21)

It was already obvious that Eagles de facto defensive coordinator Matt Patricia would not be returning to the team in 2024, but we have the first reporting to confirm that, via Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. 

To translate and/or correct some notable points in Pelissero's tweet:

• "Patricia is not under contract and plans to explore other opportunities" = The Eagles don't want him back.

• "Patricia took on play-calling last month under difficult circumstances, running someone else’s scheme with a depleted unit." Eh, he also made nonsensical changes to the scheme and failed to put his players in the best position to accentuate their skill sets, notably having Haason Reddick regularly drop into coverage.

• "He’ll be a top DC candidate." He most certainly will not.

The defense became substantially worse after Patricia replaced Desai. Players often didn't know how to line up or what their assignments were, while opposing offenses bulldozed them in the run game and easily found ways to get receivers running wide open through the secondary.

More on Patricia's ousting here.

The Eagles fired defensive coordinator Sean Desai

The Eagles have fired defensive coordinator Sean Desai, a source confirmed to PhillyVoice on Sunday night. The news was originally reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. 

After a three-game stretch against the Bills, 49ers, and Cowboys during which the Eagles allowed 109 points (36.3 per game) and 1,355 yards (451.7 per game), Desai was demoted and was replaced by de facto defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. In reality, he was fired over a month ago.

Desai learned for four years under Vic Fangio, who was Chicago's defensive coordinator from 2015 to 2018, and who consulted for the Eagles in 2022. If the Eagles hadn't gone on a long playoff run, Fangio might have been the Eagles' defensive coordinator. Instead, Fangio was hired for that role by the Miami Dolphins while the Eagles were preparing to face the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl. In Desai, they found a defensive coach who knew Fangio's scheme.

The Eagles seemed hellbent on employing a Fangio-style defense, which didn't go well for them or for any of the other coordinators around the league who are branches on the Fangio tree, like Joe Barry, Joe Woods, Jonathan Gannon, Brandon Staley, and Fangio himself.

Here's how those guys fared in defensive DVOA:

• Joe Woods, Saints: 15th
• Vic Fangio, Dolphins: 19th
• Brandon Staley, Chargers: 26th
• Joe Barry, Packers: 27th
• Sean Desai, Eagles: 29th
• Jonathan Gannon, Cardinals: 32nd

Offenses around the league figured out how to beat Fangio's style of defense and they punished it all season. Still, Desai had his moments as the Eagles' defensive coordinator, notably against playoff teams like the Buccaneers, Rams, Dolphins, and Chiefs. 

More on Desai's firing here

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