Eagles Head Coaching Tracker: Colts OC interviews; Josh McDaniels appears to be front-runner

This article will be updated with the latest news surrounding the Philadelphia Eagles head coaching search.

Nick Sirianni

Status: Interviewing on Tuesday

The Eagles are continuing their search for a new head coach on Tuesday by interviewing Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni.

Sirianni, 39, has a long working relationship with Colts head coach and former Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich. He worked with Reich in San Diego from 2013-2015 as an offensive quality control coach and as the quarterbacks coach.

Sirianni joined Reich in Indianapolis when Reich took over as the head coach in 2018, he’s been the offensive coordinator ever since. While Sirianni doesn’t have play calling duties under Reich, he was instrumental in re-configuring the offense after Andrew Luck’s surprise retirement, and the Colts offense did well this past season with 39-year-old Philip Rivers leading the way.

Josh McDaniels

Status: Interviewed Sunday

Josh McDaniels isn’t the first name most Eagles fans will mention when talking about who they want to be their team’s next head coach.

He’s had a lot of success as the offensive coordinator in New England, but he struggled to run an effective attack without Tom Brady this season. It’s not like the team did a great job replacing him, though — Cam Newton was a train wreck pretty much all season.

McDaniels has been a head coach before, though it was short lived. He got off to a 6-0 start in his first season as the head man in Denver, but his hard-nosed, my way or the highway attitude quickly led to his downfall. He immediately clashed with starting quarterback Jay Cutler, so he was traded during the same offseason McDaniels was hired.

McDaniels also didn’t get along with some of his assistant coaches, most notably defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, who left after one season with McDaniels. Some of the team’s top players like Brandon Marshall, Peyton Hillis, and Ton Sheffler were all traded while McDaniels was the head coach.

As most Eagles fans know, McDaniels was hired by the Colts as their head coach in 2018, before pulling out of his acceptance and opting to remain in New England. The Colts of course then hired Eagles offensive coordinator Fran Reich, and the rest is history. I’d venture to say most Colts fans you’d talk to will say they have no qualms with what happened — Reich has a 29-22 (.569) record since becoming the head coach in Indy.

The Colts actually hired some of McDaniels’ assistants before he told them he wanted out — that’s how long he had committed to the job.

McDaniels’ offenses have often been towards the top of the league in every major category, but there’s just something about Belichick disciples that causes some concern for me. Maybe McDaniels learned from his past experience as a head coach and is determined to correct those issues in a new environment. Only time will tell.

Eric Bieniemy

Status: Requested for interview

If the Eagles want to dip back into the Andy Reid coaching tree, they’ll have a solid opportunity to do so with Eric Bieniemy.

Bieniemy has been a hot name on the head coaching market for a few years now. Considering how much success he’s had as the Chiefs offensive coordinator, it’s shocking he hasn’t landed a head coaching job yet.

Bieniemy’s offense has been near the top of the league every year he’s been the OC in Kansas City. A lot of that can be credited to having Patrick Mahomes and a plethora of offensive weapons. But, Mahomes’ rapid development into arguably the best quarterback in football wouldn’t have been this smooth without outstanding coaching.

Last Monday, Mahomes had nothing but praise when talking about his offensive coordinator potentially becoming a head coach this offseason. “[Bieniemy’s] track record speaks for itself,” Mahomes said. “The type of man he is, the way he can control and be a leader of the locker room and the way that he coaches and schemes he brings to us. If he doesn’t [get a position as a head coach], people are crazy.”

Bieniemy’s work with Mahomes is obviously appealing to Lurie and Roseman, who’s top priority is getting their $100 million quarterback to play like one again. Bieniemy also has an interview lined up with the Houston Texans whenever the Chiefs are eliminated from the playoffs, but the Texans’ job is widely viewed as the least desirable at the moment.

Bieniemy checks off a lot of boxes. He’s an Andy Reid disciple, has a track record of being great with quarterbacks, and he even played for the Eagles back in the late 90’s. He almost feels like a re-tread of Doug Pederson, but he’s a much more respected head coaching candidate than Pederson was when the Eagles hired him in 2016.

Duce Staley

Status: Interviewed Friday

Duce Staley is held in high regard among almost everyone in the Eagles organization. During Jeffrey Lurie’s press conference following the firing of Doug Pederson, Lurie stated, “I would expect Duce Staley to be a candidate. He’s a great representative of the Eagles and knows our values. I would expect him to be part of the search, as well.”

Staley has no prior experience as a coordinator, but he was promoted to assistant head coach last offseason, and he ran the team while Pederson was diagnosed with COVID-19 during training camp.

Why he’d take this job:

Duce has been a part of the Eagles organization for a long time. He began his playing career with the Birds, recording three 1,000 yard rushing seasons during his seven year tenure with the team. He’s been a running backs coach in Philly since the Andy Reid era, and has survived each coaching change since.

He feels like the type of leader this organization needs right now. Duce has the mental makeup to do it, and if he’s ever offered the job in Philly, there’s no doubt he’d strongly consider taking it.

Why he’d decline the job:

In my opinion, there’s no reason Duce wouldn’t take this opportunity if Lurie offered him the position. Making the leap from being a position coach to being the head man in charge is drastic, but Duce has the awareness to realize he’d need to surround himself with a great coaching staff.

Kellen Moore

Status: Expected to interview

The Eagles have reached out their hated rival in their search to replace Doug Pederson. Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, 32, has done a fine job leading the Cowboys offense over the past few seasons. Even when Dak Prescott went down with injury, Dallas’ offense still put up some impressive numbers with Andy Dalton leading the way. In their Week 16 meeting with the Eagles, Dallas put up 513 yards and scored 37 points.

Joe Brady

Status: Interviewed

The Carolina Panthers hot shot offensive coordinator Joe Brady has been linked to nearly every vacant head coaching position. So to hear the Eagles did their due diligence in interviewing him should come as no surprise.

Brady, 31, is a Sean Payton disciple, spending time as an offensive assistant with the Saints from 2017-’18. He then went on the be the offensive coordinator at LSU in 2019, leading Joe Burrow and the Tigers to a National Championship, before leaving to become the OC with the Panthers under Matt Rhule.

Why he’d take this job:

Having the opportunity to put Brady’s offense in Philly is an exciting prospect. Both Carson Wentz and Jalen Hurts would be able to run it, but the idea of Wentz resurrecting his career under Brady’s watch is certainly realistic.

Burrow had his lone great season in college under Brady, and we saw Teddy Bridgewater have a fine season as the signal caller in Carolina under Brady’s guidance.

Brady could covet the idea of working with a talent like Wentz, but until we hear more about how the interview went, it’s hard to say right now.

Why he’d decline the job:

Like I stated earlier, Brady is going to get interviewed for every vacant HC position this offseason. He’ll be able to pick whatever job he desires, and there are certainly more appealing jobs out there this offseason than the Eagles.

Maybe the front office will value what Brady has to say in regards to scouting or acquiring players that fit his offense, but unless his voice is given any kind of weight, he’ll probably choose to coach elsewhere.

Jerod Mayo

Status: Expected to interview for position

Jerod Mayo, the current inside linebackers coach for the New England Patriots, would be an interesting hire.

He only has two years of coaching experience under his belt, which doesn’t inspire much confidence. But, he plays a big role in the Patriots stout defense, as the team doesn’t have an official defensive coordinator.

Why he’d take this job:

Landing a head coaching position with just two years of official experience under your belt, who wouldn’t take that opportunity?

Mayo still feels like he’s a few years away from being a serious head coaching candidate around the league. But if the Eagles like what they hear in the interview, maybe they’ll get their hands on a diamond in the rough. I wouldn’t be so rue, though.

Bill Belichick disciples often struggle when they leave New England. Some very prominent names are on that list too, like Romeo Crennel, Josh McDaniels, Eric Mangini, Charlie Weis.

Why he’d decline this job:

Perhaps Mayo wants to learn under Belichick’s tutelage a bit longer before making the leap to being an NFL head coach. We’ve seen coordinators stay in New England in favor of other HC positions, the most recent being Josh McDaniels.

Ryan Day

Status: Team has shown interest

Ryan Day, the current head coach at Ohio State, has done a marvelous job since taking over for Urban Meyer. His 20-2 record speaks for itself.

His track record of molding quarterbacks should be attractive to the Eagles as well. He molded Dwayne Haskins into a Heisman finalist in 2018, and Justin Fields is sure-fire first round pick in this year’s NFL Draft.

Why he’d take this job:

Day has connections in Philly dating all the way back to his days as the Temple wide receivers coach in 2006. He joined Chip Kelly’s staff with the Eagles in 2015 as the quarterbacks coach.

The Eagles could use his quarterback expertise right now, as they have the biggest QB controversy in the league on their hands. Lurie and Roseman will probably want Day more than he wants this job, though.

Why he’d decline this job:

The Ohio State head coaching positions is one of the best gigs in all of college football. The recruiting reach will guarantee they always have a solid crop of players and have the opportunity to play in the CFP almost every season.

Day has also been adamant about staying put at Ohio State. “I think being in a place like Ohio State, any time there’s success, things like this are going to come up,” Day told reporters last year, according to the Lettermen Row Ohio State football blog. “I don’t really ever want to talk about any of that stuff. I love it here. This is where I want to be.”

While Day is an intriguing name, it’s a long shot.

Lincoln Riley

Status: Team has shown interest, no interview formally requested

Of all the candidates in the head coaching pool this offseason, Lincoln Riley presents the most intrigue and potentially the most upside.

Posting a 45-8 overall record since becoming the head coach in OU, grooming two Heisman finalists along with the Heisman runner-up all in a three-year span, and averaging 44.6 points per game since joining the staff, Riley’s resume speaks for itself.

Why he’d take this job:

Riley will more than likely be the next college hot-shot head coach to make the leap to the NFL, it’s just a matter of when at this point. At 37 years old, and signing a five-year extension with OU just last year, Riley doesn’t need to leave OU anytime soon. He’ll likely wait for the right opportunity to present itself before leaving a place where he’s considered royalty.

The Eagles don’t have the most appealing job, given their cap situation, unsettled quarterback dilemma, and a GM who just won his second power struggle with a head coach. But, Riley has a relationship with Howie Roseman, as they’ve discussed potential draft picks over the past few seasons.

Roseman has often gone to Riley for his insight, showing he already has a level of trust in Riley and obviously has respect for his ideas.

Riley also has a prior connection to Jalen Hurts, who he coached in 2019 at OU. Hurts had his best statistical season under Riley, which tends to happen with every quarterback Riley works with at the collegiate level. Riley may prefer someone like Hurts who is athletic enough to run his read options, but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Riley being interested in working with Carson Wentz as well.

While Wentz isn’t the athlete that Hurts is, he still has the ability to run read option plays and get outside of the pocket when need be. Riley’s offense succeeded with Baker Mayfield under center, and I’d still say Wentz is a better athlete than Baker.

Why he’d decline the job:

As I said earlier, Riley can make the leap to the NFL whenever he wants. Every year there will be teams willing to give Riley a shot in the NFL if he wants it.

He may view the Eagles situation as a bad one and just stay in OU. He’s already getting paid $45.2 million and his contract in OU doesn’t expire until 2025, so he’s in no rush to leave that program.

Right now, it would take a very lucrative deal and a perfect situation to lure Riley away from the Sooners. Perhaps having the opportunity to work with Hurts again or having the chance to resurrect Wentz’s career is appealing to Riley, but it’s hard to say at this time.

Todd Bowles

Status: Requested to interview

Another defensive mind, Todd Bowles would be an interesting choice. His hiring probably wouldn’t garner much fan fair, given his stint with the New York Jets didn’t result in much winning, but given a second chance could prove to be just what Bowles needs.

Why he’d take this job:

Unlike some of the other candidates in this article, Bowles isn’t exactly a hot name on the coaching market this offseason. His tenure as the HC in New York was lack luster to say the least, Bowles left New York with a .388 win percentage (26-41).

But during his time as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator, Tampa has become one of the better defensive units in football. He does a great job of mixing up his blitz packages and getting after the quarterback.

His first stint as a defensive coordinator in the NFL actually came with the Eagles back in 2012. Originally hired as the secondary coach, he was promoted to interim defensive coordinator when Juan Castillo was relieved of his duties halfway through that season.

Bowles, born in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, also played his college ball at Temple. Coming to the Eagles as the head coach would be a homecoming of sorts, and given the fact that he likely won’t get many interviews for head coaching positions this offseason, his interest in becoming the Eagles next head coach will be there.

Why he’d decline the job:

While getting another crack at becoming a winning head coach could be appealing for Bowles, he may opt to stay in Tampa during the final years of Tom Brady’s career to help the team bring home a Lombardi Trophy.

Tampa has a great coaching staff in place, and I’m sure Bruce Arians will try to persuade Bowles to stay put as much as he can. But, sometimes a head coaching position is just too good to pass up, and coming home to the Eagles could fit that bill.

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