Eagles: Top-5 remaining candidates for Head Coaching vacancy

We’re down to two open jobs on the NFL head coaching market, the Eagles and the Texans.

While many Birds fans will tell you their team’s job is undesirable, the Texans have slowly staked their claim to the least desirable job on the market this offseason.

Some of the candidates the Eagles showed interest in, like former Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, have been hired elsewhere, but there are still plenty of solid names up for grabs.

Here are the top-5 remaining head coaching candidates for the Eagles.

5. Duce Staley

It’s no secret that Duce Staley is a fan favorite here in Philly. It doesn’t matter who you ask, everyone has something good to say about Duce.

We’ve even seen some current players give Duce their vote of confidence. Malcolm Jenkins posted on Twitter that he’d love the opportunity to play under Duce — although he’s perfectly happy with his current situation in New Orleans.

We also saw Brandon Graham post on his Instagram that he wants Duce to have the opportunity to be the head man in Philly.

Duce clearly has all the intangible traits you’d want in a head coach. He’s a leader of men, he commands respect in every room he’s in, and he’s coached under some of the brightest offensive minds in football. It’s just hard for me to anything really changing around here if Duce is hired.

He feels like a status quo hire, and I’m not trying to disrespect Duce in any way by saying that, but there are better candidates for the job.

4. Joe Brady

Joe Brady will be a hot name on the head coaching market every offseason until he’s hired, and for good reason.

A Sean Payton disciple, Brady is largely credited as the master mind behind the most prolific offense in college football history in 2019. As the passing game coordinator for the LSU Tigers, he guided Joe Burrow and his offense to a National Championship. He quickly landed a job as the Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator following his success with LSU, and he was able to do some good things with an offense that lacked a lot of superb talent.

The offensive numbers for Carolina this past season aren’t overly impressive — 21st in total yards, 18th in passing yards, 21st in rushing yards, and 24th in points scored — but they didn’t have their best player, Christian McCaffrey, for most of the season.

Brady’s a sexy name, but his age, 31, along with his limited experience as a coordinator is a bit worrisome. He’s only been a legit offensive coordinator for one year.

I don’t doubt Brady’s offensive acumen, but that’s not all it takes to be a good head coach in the NFL. I think he would be better suited as a head coaching candidate a few years down the line.

3. Josh McDaniels

Josh McDaniels tends to get a bed rep around the league. His first stint as a head coach was pretty abysmal. McDaniels got off to a 6-0 start in his first season the the head coach in Denver, but he only ended up winning five games in the following 22 games.

He had a falling out with a handful of key offensive players like Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall, both of whom were gone before McDaniels was fired. And he even got caught cheating in his second season with the team, which was the cherry on top for his tenure with the Broncos.

McDaniels was given another opportunity to be a head coach just three years ago with the Colts. He accepted the job, the organization started hiring some of his assistants, and then he pulled out of his agreement. Indy was rightfully angry with that decision, and then they “settled” for Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich.

I understand why McDaniels track record in head coaching situations would lead fans to be hesitant to hiring him, but his offenses have always been towards the top of the league in every major category. Sure, a lot of that has to do with Tom Brady being the quarterback, but McDaniels offensive philosophy of attacking opposing defenses’ weaknesses and molding his weekly game plan around that is appealing to me.

His offenses never had a true “identity”, they were always willing to create their offense around what they did well and install game plans specific for each opponent they faced.

That type of mindset would be refreshing after years of Doug Pederson over-relying on the passing game, even when it wasn’t working.

McDaniels isn’t at the top of my wish list, but I would be optimistic to see if he learned from his prior head coaching tenures and what he could do with a quarterback like Carson Wentz.

2. Eric Bieniemy

Like a lot of guys on this list, Eric Bieniemy has been a hot name on the head coaching market for years now.

As the Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator, he’s overseen the development of Patrick Mahomes into arguably the best quarterback in football. He and Andy Reid have done a masterful job at refining Mahomes’ skill set and turning him into an efficient passer of the football.

Seeing what he could do with a guy like Wentz is obviously intriguing. But, taking a dip back into the Andy Reid coaching tree right after firing one of his disciples seems like it may not be the best direction to go in. That type of west coast system clearly didn’t work with Wentz at quarterback or with the current crop of skill players the Eagles have.

Perhaps Bieniemy is smarter than Doug and would be able to re-tool his offense to better fit what his players do well. That’s certainly a possibility. And I would venture to say Bieniemy is the best Reid assistant to be available in some time.

1. Brian Daboll

Many believed Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll was the front-runner to land the Chargers job this offseason. But after they decided to go with Brandon Staley instead, Daboll should be the top candidate for the Eagles head coaching vacancy.

Essentially, he’s everything that McDaniels is as far as offensive philosophy goes, but he doesn’t have the baggage that McDaniels brought with him to Denver.

Daboll has coached under both Bill Belichick and Nick Saban, winning five Super Bowls and one National Championship in the process. Now in his third year with the Bills, he’s helped develop Josh Allen into one of the most exciting young quarterbacks in the league.

Allen’s work ethic, along with his other offensive coaches, also played a role in developing Allen’s play, but the way Daboll has designed his offense to perfectly fit what Allen does well is exactly what we should want to see in Philly with Wentz.

When watching the Bills offense operate, there’s often multiple plays during a game where receivers are wide open. And while he isn’t afraid to pass the ball over 60% of the time, he’ll run it down your throat if the defensive look dictates running the ball.

Daboll is exactly the type of coach I want to see work with Wentz.

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