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December 21, 2017

Two Eagles assistants among list of 12 head coaching recommendations distributed by NFL

According to Michael Lombardi (of 'Doug Pederson is the least qualified head coach in the history of the Universe' fame), two Philadelphia Eagles assistants are among a list of a dozen head coaching candidates recommended by the NFL to all 32 teams. They are defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and quarterback coach John DeFilippo.

Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk translated what Lombardi was trying to say above.

The NFL’s Career Development Advisory Panel has distributed its annual list of recommended candidates for head-coaching vacancies, and this year’s list features a dozen current assistants.

The Career Development Advisory Panel consists of former NFL GMs and coaches who keep an eye on the league and help teams identify strong candidates for career advancement.

Lombardi listed the candidates in his tweets, which we'll do once again here (with an assist from PFT), so you can actually read it:

  1. John DeFilippo, Eagles quarterbacks coach 
  2. Jim Schwartz, Eagles defensive coordinator 
  3. Matt Nagy, Chiefs offensive coordinator 
  4. Josh McDaniels, Patriots offensive coordinator 
  5. Matt Patricia, Patriots defensive coordinator 
  6. Mike Vrabel, Texans defensive coordinator 
  7. George Edwards, Vikings defensive coordinator 
  8. Dan Campbell, Saints assistant head coach and tight ends coach 
  9. Dave Toub, Chiefs special teams coach 
  10. Steve Wilks, Panthers defensive coordinator 
  11. Jim Bob Cooter, Lions offensive coordinator 
  12. Pat Shurmur, Vikings offensive coordinator 

As we noted earlier this month, the Eagles are highly likely to have one or more of their assistants poached, with DeFilippo being the most likely candidate.

The Eagles' objective during the 2016 offseason was clear. They wanted to draft a quarterback and surround him with a quarterback-focused coaching staff. That approach has paid off big-time two straight years both for the Eagles and (to a similar degree) the Los Angeles Rams. Other teams around the league are sure to copy it.

DeFilippo's work with Carson Wentz and the Raiders' David Carr has been widely recognized. Working against the Eagles' chances of retaining him are three factors: 

  1. His contract is up at the end of this season, so the Eagles can't even block him from offensive coordinator opportunities anymore, like they did a year ago.
  2. The 2018 NFL Draft class is thought to be very deep and talented at the quarterback position. 
  3. Simultaneously, it is believed by some that there could be seven or more head coach firings during or after the 2017 season. The New Giants have already moved on from their head coach, Ben McAdoo, earlier this season.

The combination of factors No. 2 and No. 3 are going to leave quarterback gurus with experience in demand. DeFilippo is as good as gone, and Frank Reich could find himself on some teams' radars this offseason as well.

Schwartz will get looks too, even with the Eagles defense faltering a bit over the last three weeks. If you go back to 2015, the most successful hire that offseason was defensive-minded coach Dan Quinn, who left Seattle to become the Atlanta Falcons' head guy. In the Falcons' case, a defensive-minded coach made sense, since the Falcons' defense was the weak link, and they already had an established franchise quarterback in place in Matt Ryan.

A potential coaching vacancy similar to Atlanta's that offseason that may make sense for Schwartz is Indianapolis, depending on what they think of Andrew Luck's health. Beyond the Colts, it's tough to find many mirroring situations. If you squint hard enough, maybe the Cincinnati Bengals?

The Eagles' extraordinarily successful 2017 season was fueled in part by the staff the Eagles assembled during the 2016 offseason. They may need to replace some of their star assistants soon.

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