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January 20, 2021

Updated Eagles head coaching search tracker

Eagles NFL
112920JeffreyLurieHowieRoseman Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and GM Howie Roseman likely the ones running the coaching search.

As the Philadelphia Eagles continue to conduct their head coaching search, we’ll cover each legitimate candidate individually, while also letting this page serve as a centralized tracker. 

It should be noted that the Eagles are likely to interview a whole lot of candidates, seeing as they will partly be conducted via Zoom meetings, and can be executed without the need for travel. In other words, the expectation here is that this tracker is going to be populated with a lot of names, and there will plenty of updates. Bookmark, please.

Most recent updates at the top of this list:

Dennis Allen, Saints DC

Allen has been a coach in the NFL since 2002, and if you'll recall, the Eagles interviewed him for their vacant defensive coordinator job in 2011, but he accepted a job in Denver. The Eagles ended up promoting Juan Castillo instead. Allen was the Broncos' DC for one year, before landing a head coaching job with the Raiders. In Oakland, Allen posted a 8-28 record, before he was fired early in the 2014 season.

Allen has since settled in as the Saints' defensive coordinator, where his defenses have finished in the top quarter of the league in DVOA in each of the last four seasons.

More on Allen here.

John Fassel, Cowboys ST coordinator

Fassel has been a special teams coordinator in the NFL since 2008, with three different teams, and served briefly as an interim head coach of the Rams after Jeff Fisher was fired in 2016.

It's interesting that NFL teams don't hire more special teams coordinators to become head coaches, given the success of John Harbaugh in Baltimore. However, this would obviously be about as boring a hire as imaginable.

More on Fassel here.

Update: This interview didn't happen, and isn't going to happen.

Nick Sirianni, Colts OC

In addition to serving as the Colts' offensive coordinator the last three years, Sirianni has experience as a quarterbacks coach, and a wide receivers coach. Obviously, the Eagles' wide receivers -- both present and future -- could use some help. 

In his three years as the Colts' offensive coordinator, Indy has gotten reasonably good results, especially with three different starting quarterbacks the last three years, in an injured Andrew Luck (2018), Jacoby Brissett (2019), and Philip Rivers (2020).

One knock on Sirianni could be that he does not call the plays in Indy. Frank Reich does. Of course, Reich didn't call plays in Philly either before the Colts hired him to be their head coach.

More on Sirianni here.

Josh McDaniels, Patriots OC

After finding success as the Patriots' offensive coordinator, McDaniels' first head coaching opportunity came via the Denver Broncos, when he was only 32 years old. After a strong start (on the field, anyway), it all went downhill fast. His head coaching career got off to a 6-0 start in 2009, but the Broncos went 2-8 the rest of the season. In 2010, Denver started out with a 3-9 record, and McDaniels was fired after Week 13.

McDaniels ruled with an iron fist, and his tenure with the Broncos was turbulent from start to finish, with some of the gory details memorialized in this article in the Denver Post after his firing. He immediately clashed with a number players, most notably starting quarterback Jay Cutler, who was traded for Kyle Orton and draft picks. He also reportedly did not get along with some assistant coaches, including defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, who left after one season with McDaniels.

After his firing, McDaniels coached for one year in St. Louis before heading back to the Pats, where he has been their offensive coordinator for the last nine years. Of course, along the way, McDaniels agreed to become the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, before infamously leaving them at the altar. 

If the Eagles are looking to rattle the cages of their players, who may have become accustomed to a player-friendly approach taken by Doug Pederson and the majority of his assistants, then McDaniels would be a coach who is not afraid to do that kind of dirty work. But obviously, he comes with more than his share of major red flags.

More on McDaniels here.

Update: Based on information PhillyVoice has gathered, McDaniels has become something of a frontrunner to land the Eagles' head coaching job, though certainly it's far from a done deal.

Eric Bieniemy, Chiefs OC

Bieniemy was a running back in the NFL for nine years, including one year in Philly, in 1999. He has mostly either been a running backs coach or an offensive coordinator over his 20 years as a coach, with one season mixed in as an assistant head coach.

The Chiefs have had one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL in the three years that Bieniemy has been the offensive coordinator. Of course, Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes have a lot to do with that.

Bieniemy was a hot name during last year's head coaching cycle, but the Chiefs' Super Bowl run may have hurt his chances to land a head job, like it also like did for Robert Saleh, who got hired this year by the Jets.

More on Bieniemy here.

Brandon Staley, Rams DC

Staley only has one year of experience as an NFL defensive coordinator, and only four years coaching in the NFL. Prior to landing his initial job in the NFL with the Bears in 2017, Staley coached at an assortment of small schools, and never as a head coach.

In Staley's one season as the defensive coordinator in LA, the Rams' defense was the strength of the team. They were ranked No. 1 in the league both in points and yards allowed, they were 10th in takeaways, and they were 4th in DVOA. It's perhaps also worth noting that the Bears were the No. 1 defense in the NFL in 2018, when Staley was part of that staff.

Update: Staley is the new head coach of the Chargers.

More on Staley here.

Kellen Moore, Cowboys OC

Moore, 32, is now the third candidate that the Eagles are linked to who is in his early 30's. They reportedly already met with Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady (31) and Patriots LB coach Jerod Mayo (34), as you'll see below.

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

The Cowboys' offense has obviously been the strength of their team the last few years. In 2019, it finished 6th in points and 1st in yards. In 2020, it was handicapped by injuries to Dak Prescott, Tyron Smith, La'el Collins, and Zack Martin, as well as the retirement of Travis Frederick, and yet, it still finished 17th in points and 14th in yards.

Yes, I know, ew, Cowboys yucky, but Moore is an intriguing young candidate who has gotten the most of Dallas' offense, and has helped Prescott go from a fourth-round pick to a borderline top 10 NFL starting quarterback.

More on Moore here

Brian Daboll, Bills OC

The Eagles "are interested in Daboll," according to John Clark of NBC Philly. Daboll is an attractive candidate, mainly because of what he and Josh Allen have been able to do with the Bills' offseason this season. We'll have more if a report emerges that the Eagles will interview him.

Update: Daboll is reportedly the favorite to land the Chargers job.

Update: No. 2: Daboll didn't land the Chargers job.

Update No. 3: Daboll isn't interested in the Eagles' job, per Rob Maaddi of AP. That, or, the Eagles didn't want to interview him, so he's "not interested."

Joe Brady, Panthers OC

Brady is only 31 years old, and NFL teams are interested in learning more about him, at a minimum, as he has interviewed with almost every team looking for a new head coach, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Brady's two notable coaching jobs were in 2020 with the Panthers as their OC, and as LSU's passing game coordinator & wide receivers coach in 2019, when LSU rolled to the CFB National Championship, largely on the strength of their passing game.

The Panthers' offense in 2020 was 24th in points, 21st in yards, 17th in giveaways, and 17th in DVOA.

In 2019, LSU's offense led college football with 565.8 yards per game and 47.2 points per game. Joe Burrow won the Heisman Trophy and was selected first overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, while Ja'Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson had monster seasons under Brady's tutelage.

More on Brady here

Ryan Day, Ohio State HC

Day is "a name to keep your eye on," according to John Clark of NBC Philly. Day was formerly with the Eagles as a quarterbacks coach in 2015. We'll cover him more in-depth if/when a report emerges that the Eagles intend to interview him.

Update: Bruce Feldman is reporting that Day is not a candidate for the Eagles' job, though it should be noted that bigtime schools don't like it when there's a perception their coach could be getting poached by an NFL team, thus potentially scaring off recruits.

Jerod Mayo, Patriots linebackers coach

As a coach, Mayo only has two years of experience. His official title was "inside linebackers coach," which doesn't sound like much, but his role was bigger than that title would indicate. The Patriots don't have an official "defensive coordinator" on their staff. Mayo and outside linebackers coach Steve Belichick served as something of the top two defensive assistants under Bill Belichick. It should also be noted that Brian Flores was "only" the Patriots' linebackers coach when the Miami Dolphins hired him to be their head coach in 2019.

Mayo was thought of as a fierce leader and highly intelligent player on the field in his playing days, and at just 34 years of age, he is clearly thought of as a young riser as an NFL coach. Still, it's probably too soon for Mayo to make a huge leap to head coach at such a young age, and with only two years of coaching experience.

More on Mayo here.

Update: Mayo interviewed last Friday, according to Derrick Gunn.

Mike Kafka, Chiefs QB coach

The Eagles are reported to have interest in Kafka. Again, we'll have more if someone reports that he'll interview for the job.

Update: The Eagles are out on Kafka, per Jeff McLane.

Todd Bowles, Buccaneers DC

Bowles was with the Eagles for one season, and even served as their defensive coordinator to close out the disastrous 2012 season after the team fired Juan Castillo.

More notably, Bowles got a head coaching gig with the Jets, which lasted four years, and did not go well. The Jets actually went 10-6 under Bowles in 2015 with Fitzpatrick at quarterback in his first season there. However, he ultimately compiled a 24-40 record with the Jets, winning just 14 games over his last three years. In fairness, in addition to Fitzpatrick, his quarterbacks were Josh McCown, Bryce Petty, and rookie year Sam Darnold, in addition to a bad roster otherwise.

As a defensive coordinator, Bowles has gotten good results. In 2020, the Buccaneers had the best run defense in the NFL. They were No. 1 in opposing rushing attempts, rushing yards, rushing TDs, and yards per rush. In that sense, his "stop the run first" style of defense is similar to the approach we have seen over the years from Jim Schwartz.

Update: Bowles will interview with the Eagles on Monday, per Schefter.

More on Bowles here.

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Robert Saleh, 49ers DC

Saleh would likely already be a head coach, if not for a coaching search a year ago that worked against him. He was a hot name, but because the 49ers went to the Super Bowl, and because there were only three head coaching openings, he had to wait a year.

The Niners' defense was outstanding in 2019, and Saleh kept that unit playing at a high level (sixth in DVOA) in 2020 despite suffering an abnormal number of injuries at all three levels of the defense. Saleh is known for his demonstrative emotion on the sidelines during games, something his players seem to respond to.

If Saleh lands a head coaching job, it is believed that he will bring Niners offensive assistants with him, who will install some version of Kyle Shanahan’s widely praised offense.

More on Saleh here.

Update: Saleh reportedly interviewed with the Eagles Wednesday night, per John Clark.

Update No. 2: Saleh is the new head coach of the New York Jets.

Arthur Smith, Titans OC

Smith has been with the Titans' since 2011, surviving three head coaching firings. He has been their offensive coordinator since 2019. With a defensive-minded head coach in Mike Vrabel, Smith was afforded the opportunity to run the show offensively for Tennessee, and in the two years he has been their offensive coordinator, the Titans have gotten good results. In 2020, they were second in the NFL in points, and fourth in yards.

Of course, Derrick Henry gets the lion's share of the credit for powering the Titans' offense (and rightfully so), but Smith's offense has also helped turn Ryan Tannehill into a legitimately good starting NFL quarterback.

More on Smith here.

Update: Smith has an offer from the Falcons, per Dianna Russini of ESPN.

Update No. 2: The Falcons hired Smith.

Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma HC

Riley is arguably the best coaching candidate from the college ranks, as he has racked up a 45-8 record at Oklahoma, while developing a pair of No. 1 overall quarterbacks and Heisman winners in Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. Riley also coached Jalen Hurts for one year, and Hurts finished that season as the runner-up in the Heisman voting.

Riley is thought of as an innovative offensive mind, obviously in the passing game, but also in the run game, whose schemes have been stolen by many NFL offenses. Do Riley’s offenses succeed because of his scheme, or because he has been able to develop the talents of his quarterbacks? Either way, he’s a winner in that debate.

More on Riley here.

Update: Paul Domowitch of the Inquirer is reporting that Riley "seems content to stay where he’s at for now."

Duce Staley, Eagles assistant HC, RB coach

Jeffrey Lurie said during his press conference on Monday that Staley would get a shot. 

"I would expect Duce Staley to be a candidate," Lurie said. "He's a great representative of the Eagles and knows our values. I would expect him to be part of the search, as well."

Unlike the other candidates on this list, Staley does not have coordinator or a head coaching experience, however, he has the mental makeup and leadership skills to oversee a roster. Should Staley become the head coach, the Eagles would likely look to pair him with a play-calling offensive coordinator.

Update: Duce interviewed last Friday, according to Derrick Gunn.

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