The Eagles’ gantlet of interviews for their head-coaching vacancy endures.
The organization is closing in on double-digit interviews. Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni and Dallas Cowboys OC Kellen Moore each interviewed Tuesday and New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen is scheduled for Wednesday. Allen would be the Eagles’ 10th interview in nine days. For reference, the team interviewed just five candidates over a 17-day span before hiring Doug Pederson in 2016. At least this time, the Eagles’ brass is being efficient.
Sirianni, 39, could be described as a dark-horse candidate, but under-the-radar coaches might be the Eagles’ best option at this point. Colts head coach Frank Reich, the Eagles’ offensive coordinator from 2016-17, handles the brunt of the Colts’ play-calling, so Sirianni doesn’t have much experience calling plays. Neither did Pederson when he was hired, though.
Sirianni started his career in 2004 as a defensive backs coach at Mount Union, a Division III powerhouse in Ohio. His first NFL experience came five seasons later as an offensive quality control coach with the Kansas City Chiefs. He spent five seasons with the San Diego Chargers, starting as a quality control coach in 2013 before replacing Reich as the team’s quarterbacks coach once Reich was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2014. After Reich left for the Eagles’ job in 2016, Sirianni eventually moved over to wide receivers.
In his last three seasons as the Colts’ offensive coordinator, Indy’s offense twice has ranked in the NFL’s top 10 for points scored and stayed relatively productive even when Andrew Luck abruptly retired before the 2019 season. The Colts were 11-5 in 2020 before losing to Buffalo in the wild card round of the playoffs. Their offense ranked 12th in defense-adjusted value over average, Football Outsider’s efficiency stat, after quarterback Philip Rivers signed with the team in the offseason.
Moore fits the former-quarterback mold the Eagles were fond of when they hired Pederson. The 31-year-old has spent the last two seasons as the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator, retaining his position even when the team changed head coaches last offseason.
Dallas’ offense was one of the worst in the league in 2020, but Dak Prescott’s season-ending ankle injury coupled with backup quarterback Andy Dalton’s head injury was largely to blame. Still, Dallas ranked 24th in offensive DVOA and 17th in points scored. In 2019, the Cowboys had the second-best offense according to Football Outsiders and ranked first in yards gained and sixth in points scored.
Moore spent three seasons in the league after going undrafted in 2012. He was primarily a backup but played three games for the Cowboys in 2015 after Tony Romo was hurt. He got into coaching in 2018 as the Dallas quarterbacks coach before being promoted to his current position.
Allen, 48, would be the latest defensive coach to get a shot at the Eagles’ head-coaching vacancy. He’s coming off a year in which the New Orleans defense ranked fourth in yards allowed, fifth in points allowed, and second in defensive DVOA this season.
Allen is the only one of the three latest candidates with experience as a head coach. He spent two-plus seasons leading the Raiders from 2012-14, when he went 8-28 and was fired four games into the 2014 season. In Allen’s six years as the Saints’ DC, the team has finished eighth or better in defensive DVOA four times.
There’s a chance one of these three candidates wows the Eagles and secures the job, but it appears Josh McDaniels is still the front-runner for the opening going into Wednesday. The Patriots offensive coordinator took his turn visiting Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie’s South Florida estate on Sunday. Now, the organization is doing its due diligence on the 44-year-old, making calls around the league.
It’s still possible someone in the interview process outdoes McDaniels, though. The team is also intrigued by Cowboys special-teams coordinator John Fassel, whose father Jim was the New York Giants’ head coach from 1997 to 2003. The team has also reportedly expressed interest in Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, although he hasn’t been interviewed yet.
Staff writer Jeff McLane and Inquirer columnist Marcus Hayes contributed to this report.