Eagles Defensive Coordinator search: 7 candidates to replace Sean Desai

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Eagles
PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 14: Eagles General Manager Howie Roseman is pictured prior to the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles on October 14, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire)

There’s no rest for the wicked…or the Philadelphia Eagles. The team parted ways with Sean Desai over the weekend, meaning that they’ll be looking for their third Defensive Coordinator in as many years. Here are some names who could be of interest.

Ron Rivera

The Eagles brought Ron Rivera in for an interview on Monday, wasting no time in trying to find a replacement for Sean Desai. Here’s what I wrote in the piece we published on that development earlier today:

Rivera was fired by the Washington Commanders following a 4-13 season, but it’s not like he had much to work with. He went into that position with an impressive track record as a Head Coach. In fact, he’d been a HC for the last 13 years, spending most of that time with the Carolina Panthers before a four-year stint in Washington.

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Washington Commanders defensive end Chase Young (99) taking the field before the start of the first half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

It will be interesting to see how many names the Eagles bring in for an interview, but Rivera is one of the most logical options as someone with a wealth of experience that would help guide Nick Sirianni through uncharted waters, something that would’ve been extremely valuable this past season.

Wink Martindale

This is a name that comes with a caveat. Sure, Martindale is now 60 years old and has years of coaching experience. He coordinated the Baltimore defense from 2018-2021 before joining Brian Daboll in New York. That move wasn’t exactly great in hindsight and the Giants’ defense has hardly been a force to be reckoned with, with the unit finishing 27th overall this year.

Eagles vs buccaneers
Philadelphia Eagles running back Kenneth Gainwell runs past New York Giants linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux (5) and linebacker Micah McFadden during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Dec. 25, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

With that said, he’s big on creating pressure for opposing quarterbacks which is something the Eagles previously strived to do and have all the pieces for. The Giants only had 34 sacks in 2023, but they had the most takeaways in the NFL (31). Maybe this will inspire the Front office to take a look.

Marquand Manuel

Marquand Manuel should be a name familiar to many. He coached under Doug Pederson in 2020 and is slated to reunite with the Super Bowl-winning Head Coach.

Manuel has spent three years with the New York Jets working with the Safeties, and also have two previous years of coordinating experience under Dan Quinn’s Falcons from 2017-18.

After a few years away from play-calling, Manuel has helped the Jets sustain their reputation as one of the fiercest defenses in football. He could absolutely be a candidate here.

Dennard Wilson

Another former Eagles coach, Dennard Wilson feels like a logical hire. He was hotly tipped to take the defensive coordinator role last year having spent time with the DB’s and garnering praise from his players. However, that role was given to Jonathan Gannon, so Wilson left to coach DB’s in Baltimore.

It’s safe to say that panned out. Wilson finds himself vying for a Super Bowl berth once more having helped the Baltimore secondary cause problems for every offense they faced this year. Could a return to Philadelphia be on the cards?

Jesse Minter

A relatively young name in coaching circles, 40-year-old Jesse Minter won the National Championship with Michigan this year. He coordinated the best defense in the country and was pivotal in their dominance.

Minter also has previous experience in Baltimore as a DB coach before making the jump to the collegiate level as Vanderbilt’s Defensive Coordinator, and eventually Michigan’s.

Eagles
Michigan running back Blake Corum (2) celebrates after a win over Alabama in the Rose Bowl CFP NCAA semifinal college football game Monday, Jan. 1, 2024, in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

He’s going to be a hot commodity this offseason, but realistically, there’s one collegiate name the Eagles should target above every other…

Glenn Schumann

The Eagles have made a conceited effort to load up on Georgia Bulldogs. Nakobe Dean, Jordan Davis, Jalen Carter, Nolan Smith, and Kelee Ringo are all fixtures on this defense – one that Schuman has worked with for a number of years, and drove to back-to-back national championships.

If anyone knows how to get the best out of a team that has several young cornerstones from Georgia, it’s the man who molded them.

Eric Washington

Eric Washington currently serves as the DL Coach and Assistant Head Coach to Sean McDermott in Buffalo. The Bills’ defense has been rampant since his arrival in 2020, when he first joined as defensive line coach before eventually working his way up the tree.

The Bills’ defense needs no introduction and their aggressive nature might only prompt the Eagles’ front office to take a closer look at Washington, who feels destined to call plays in the near-future regardless of whether that’s in Philadelphia or not.

hoto by John Jones/Icon Sportswire