The Eagles are back on the coaching market.
After Doug Pederson and the organization parted ways Monday, the Eagles became the sixth team looking for a new head coach, and the other five teams had a considerable head start. The Jets, Jaguars, Texans, Chargers, and Falcons have started their interview processes, so the Eagles have some ground to make up.
Here are some of the candidates you can expect to hear plenty about in the next few weeks:
The big names
Bienemy, 51, has been the Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator for the last three years. He was the team’s running backs coach before that. Pat Mahomes certainly helps keep the Chiefs offense going, but Bieniemy’s offenses have ranked second, third, and first in offensive DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) in the last three years. Since Bieniemy also hails from the Andy Reid coaching tree, Bieniemy’s scheme is not worlds apart from Pederson’s, although anyone who watches Kansas City would know there’s a bit more creativity involved with that offense. It helps to have Mahomes throwing to Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, but Bieniemy is still one of the best coaching candidates available.
Daboll has been the Buffalo Bills’ offensive coordinator for the last three seasons and is partially responsible for turning Josh Allen into one of the best young quarterbacks in the league. Daboll spent 2017 as Alabama’s offensive coordinator, too, so he’s got experience with Jalen Hurts. Daboll, 45, has catered the Bills offense to the strengths of its personnel, which is a promising sign considering the Eagles’ offensive struggles. It’s also encouraging because Allen’s strengths are similar to Carson Wentz’s, so there would be hope that a Daboll-led offense could help restore Wentz to his previous form.
Smith is another offensive guru getting the most out of his quarterback. The Titans’ offensive coordinator for the last two seasons has crafted a play-action heavy scheme that ranked fourth in DVOA this season and sixth last season. Smith’s offense is built around star running back Derrick Henry, but Ryan Tannehill has been one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the league in the last two years after flaming out in Miami. Smith is another coach who has garnered a lot of interest, having interviewed with every team other than the Eagles already.
Brady has become one of the fastest-rising names in the coaching world in the last two seasons. He was LSU’s passing-game coordinator in 2019 and helped the Tigers win a national championship while Joe Burrow had one of the best seasons in college football history. He spent this season as Carolina’s offensive coordinator and led a Panthers offense ranked 17th in DVOA even though Christian McCaffrey missed 13 games. Brady, a 31-year-old who graduated from Penn State, would offer the Eagles a chance to once again be at the forefront of offensive innovation in the league, but he has no head coaching experience.
Saleh, 41, is the only defensive coordinator on this list, and that’s not by accident. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie has a track record of hiring offensive guys as head coaches instead of defensive-minded coaches. Ray Rhodes is the only defensive-focused head coach Lurie has hired in his 27 years owning the team. Saleh has been the 49ers’ defensive coordinator for the last four years and you might recognize him as the big man screaming and flexing on the sideline during their games. If the Eagles were to hire him, it would likely be with the hope that he’d bring a well-respected offensive coordinator along with him.
The interesting others
Staley is likely the leading internal candidate. The 45-year-old interviewed for the Eagles’ head coaching gig in 2016 and was the team’s assistant head coach the last few years in addition to his role as running backs coach. Hiring Staley would afford the Eagles two things: the ability to maintain the culture the team has had during Pederson’s tenure and presumably the flexibility for general manager Howie Roseman and Lurie to have significant say in coaching-staff hires. As a first-time head coach who has been with the organization for 10 years, Staley is familiar with the players and the organization. Because he’s not coming from a position of great leverage, he’d likely receive guidance on his staff from Roseman and Lurie, which played a part in Pederson’s departure.
Riley is another intriguing play-caller and offensive innovator. He has been the head coach at Oklahoma since 2017 and has helped develop Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, and Hurts. Quite the opposite of Mike Kafka, Riley, 37, gives off serious Chip Kelly vibes. He doesn’t have any experience coaching in the NFL but has piqued the interest of pro teams because of the program he has built in Oklahoma combined with the offensive production players have had in his system. He’s also very familiar with Hurts, obviously.
Kafka’s name has already been linked to the Eagles job. The 33-year-old was the Chiefs’ passing-game coordinator this season in addition to his role as quarterbacks coach, and he gives off some Pederson vibes as a former quarterback turned Andy Reid understudy.
Shaw, 48, has been Stanford’s head coach since 2011. Stanford has always run a pro-style, tight end-heavy scheme under Shaw and he has gotten a handful of interest from NFL teams in the past. Unlike Riley, Shaw has some NFL experience as an assistant coach, and was actually a quality control assistant for the Eagles in 2000.