Eagles Head Coach search: Ranking the eight remaining candidates

NFL: AUG 29 Rams Scrimmage
INGLEWOOD, CA – AUGUST 29: Los Angeles Ramsdefebsuve coordinator Brandon Staley during the Los Angeles Rams scrimmage on Aug 29, 2020, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire)

Over the past week there have been endless reports of coaches being linked with the Eagles, but only 10 have either been interviewed or have had an interview requested. With Arthur Smith and Robert Saleh now off the board, that leaves eight candidates going into week 2 of the search to replace Doug Pederson. Who should the Eagles be favoring?

8) Patriots ILB Coach Jerod Mayo

Mayo’s name being linked with the Eagles was a surprise to many. The former 10th overall pick had an incredible playing career but has only been coaching since 2019. While it’s easy to see the appeal, he’s been coaching a position the Eagles appear to value less than my ex valued our relationship.

Mayo’s hiring would be an intriguing one as defensive coordinator but as a Head Coach? It seems a little premature at best. He’s definitely a name to watch in the future though.

7) Bucs DC Todd Bowles

Bowles is coming off of a stellar run as the Bucs’ defensive coordinator where he guided the defense to an 11-5 record and a #6 rank in the NFL. He has a lot of experience as an assistant coach and even some in Philadelphia.

As a Head Coach however, the record is not so impressive. Through four seasons with the New York Jets, he led them to a 24-40 record. And the Lions cancelled their interview…so there’s that?

Bowles is clearly thriving in Tampa Bay on what is a defense loaded with young talents like Devin White, Antoine Winfield Jr., and Shaq Barrett. Jumping ship to coach yet another rebuilding team? It doesn’t make sense considering the current position of Tampa Bay and availability of other Head Coaching vacancies in the league with arguably a more stable foundation.

6) Patriots OC Josh McDaniels

To Eagles fans, McDaniels will forever be known as the man who pushed over the domino that led to Frank Reich’s departure. Since returning to New England, McDaniels has had a rollercoaster of a time.

Going from the 3rd ranked scoring offense in 2019, to the 29th in 2020, it’s safe to say the Patriots fell a cliff while Tom Brady swam to calmer seas. McDaniels has long been one of Belichick’s most beloved coaches and the Pats offense has been consistently great while he’s been around…until this past season at least.

He also had a brief and frankly poor coaching stint with the Denver Broncos, going 11-17 through the 2009-10 seasons.

It’s not like Belichick graduates have had a hugely successful career outside of New England (CC: Matt Patricia) and the last thing the Eagles need right now is the inevitable friction that would follow as a much firmer coaching style is implemented.

5) Cowboys OC Kellen Moore

The Cowboys offense may have been a train wreck last year, but in 2019, they took a huge step forward and Kellen Moore played a big role in that, replacing Scott Linehan as offensive coordinator.

The 32-year-old is a former NFL QB and a recent one at that. This makes him one of the youngest candidates on the market and although he’s batting for the enemy team, Moore’s creativity and ability to correctly use a diverse group of playmakers shouldn’t be overlooked.

He has just signed a three-year contract in Dallas, so that’s worth noting and will probably play a big factor in potential negotiations. Moore won’t want to leave something he’s been building for a while, especially if Mike McCarthy’s job is still uncertain after next season.

Moore has three years of coaching experience – two as a coordinator. The Eagles parted ways with Doug Pederson after a Super Bowl win, three playoff appearances, and a five-year stint. If they want an instant impact, this is not the right option.

4) Eagles RB Coach Duce Staley

The people’s choice. Eagles players both past and present have been lobbying for Duce Staley to get his foot in the door and it is easy to see why. He’s helped develop an endless conveyor belt of running backs and has of course both played for and coached within the organization, clearly winning over his pupils who want to see him get what they feel is a deserved promotion.

My only concern here is that if the Eagles were so quick to fire Mornhinweg and Scangarello after one year, will the team not at least hold Staley, the assistant Head Coach, to a similar level of accountability? I don’t think he should meet the same fate, far from it. He’s a legitimate candidate and a deserving one. But if the ‘offensive coordinator by committee’ was so bad, Staley was the highest-ranking member…and that may be a knock on him in the interview process.

3) Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy

It’s really hard to find anything to dislike about Eric Bieniemy. He’s helped coordinate a Super Bowl-winning offense and carved an MVP winner in Patrick Mahomes who has done nothing but praise his offensive coordinator.

My only quibble is that the Eagles cannot repeat a cycle of hiring Andy Reid’s assistants. Mike Kafka is in the same situation only, like Doug Pederson, actually played QB for the Eagles under Big Red too.

Jeffrey Lurie wants to restore the glory days of the Andy Reid era. You can’t do that by trying to replicate the exact same formula without the right ingredients...especially when the last Soup didn’t even turn out too badly to begin with…

2) Rams DC Brandon Staley

Success seems to follow Staley wherever he goes. The Rams may have suffered an early playoff exit, but their defense was incredible all year – allowing the least amount of points per game of any team in the NFL, and was the league’s overall top-ranked defense.

Prior to his stint with the Rams, Staley drew plenty of praise under Vic Fangio and the Denver Broncos as an OLB coach, after maintaining the same role for two years in Chicago.

Staley is another young name at just 38-years-old, but arguably one of the NFL’s fastest risers on the defensive side of things. He primarily runs a 3-4 which could be a concern, but seeing how he can correctly get the most out of guys like Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey (CC: Fletcher Cox and Darius Slay), it’s hard not to love the idea of a young defensive mind restoring dominance to that side of the ball in Philadelphia

1) Panthers OC Joe Brady

Yes, he’s young. Sure, he’s been a coordinator for one year in a Carolina offense missing arguably the league’s most dynamic running back. But make no mistake – Joe Brady is a perfect hire for the Eagles.

During his time at LSU, Brady coached players into stars. Joe Burrow became a Heisman winner and #1 overall pick. Clyde Edwards-Helaire developed into a game-breaker, and JaM’aar Chase could be a top-10 pick despite missing a year.

Brady would bring a fresh set of offensive ideals to Philadelphia, away from the ‘Andy Reid base’ and could be the perfect candidate to not only correct Carson Wentz, but utilize Jalen Hurts properly should the Eagles decide to go down that route.

Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire