As the Eagles continue their intensive search for a new head coach, two candidates appear to stand above the rest as the favorites for the job — Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni.
Both McDaniels and Sirianni are appealing candidates, mostly because of their backgrounds working with quarterbacks. McDaniels made a name for himself as Tom Brady’s offensive coordinator for the better part of tha last decade, while Sirianni spent most of his career as the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator for Philip Rivers.
If we’ve learned anything from the way Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman are conducting this search and narrowing down their options, it’s that they clearly have fixing Carson Wentz at the top of their priorities list.
With their extensive backgrounds in helping develop two elite quarterbacks, we shouldn’t be surprised that McDaniels and Sirianni look to be the top-two candidates.
Let’s take a look at both, break down why the Eagles favor them, and come to a conclusion on which one is the best man for the job.
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Aside from the obvious Tom Brady connection, the most appealing aspect of McDaniels coaching philosophy is his willingness to attack an opposing defense’s weakness, regardless if it falls in line with his ‘offensive identity.’
When Brady was clicking with Gronk and had solid weapons on the outside, McDaniels never hesitated to throw it all over the yard. But in the latter years of the Brady era, when the running game was the team’s strength, he leaned on it and pounded opposing defenses into submission.
His game plans also predicated on what opposing defenses liked to do. You want to send blitzes left and right? McDaniels will screen you to death. Want to sit back in coverage? No problem, McDaniels was more than capable of drawing up crossing routes and underneath curls to exploit zone coverages.
This type of offensive mindset is a breath of fresh air from the Doug Pederson way of doing things. Far too often Wentz was asked to throw the ball over 35 times, even when the defense was having trouble stopping the run. That kind of nonsense won’t happen under McDaniels.
Speaking of Wentz, McDaniels isn’t the type of coach to cater to his players, even if it’s his franchise quarterback. We’ve seen McDaniels and Brady get into heated exchanges plenty of times in New England. McDaniels is a no BS coach, so any kind of defiance from Wentz or trying to do things his own way won’t fly under a McDaniels regime.
Of course, McDaniels isn’t perfect. His head coaching history isn’t very good at all. But, it’s unfair to say after being 10 years removed from his first head coaching stint that he hasn’t changed at all. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s reflected on his past mistakes and is just waiting for the right opportunity so he can attempt to correct them.
Perhaps that next opportunity could come in Philly.
Sirianni came into the picture after it seemed McDaniels was in the driver’s seat for the job. But following a solid interview that spanned over two days, reports indicate that Lurie and Roseman really like what they heard out of the Colts offensive coordinator.
If the Eagles are thinking long-term here and not just exclusively hiring someone with Wentz in mind, Sirianni may be a more appealing candidate than McDaniels. He’s young (39 years old), he has a background in multiple positions, and he’s learned under Frank Reich for essentially his entire career.
Along with tutoring quarterbacks like Rivers and Andrew Luck, Sirianni has also coached wide receivers during his coaching career. He helped develop the likes of Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams, and Zach Pascal. The Eagles have a plethora of young, unproven receivers that Sirianni could potentially take under his wing.
Sirianni never handled play calling duties in Indianapolis, but he’s played a big role in play design. Creative play design has been lacking in Philadelphia ever since Reich left in 2018, so that’s always welcomed.
Sirianni feels like the top candidate in the Eagles’ mind as it stands at this moment.
At the end of the day, it would be hard to be overly disappointed with either of these candidates if they are hired. They both bring a lot of good stuff to the table, and they both fit the offensive archetype that Lurie desires in his head coach.
But if it were up to me, I’d ride with McDaniels as the next head coach. His shape shifting offense is really the cornerstone of his prolonged success in New England. His goal every week is to win football games no matter how he has to do it. He won’t become stubborn with certain play types, or over-rely on certain players.
He feels like the perfect man to help fix Wentz at this point in his career. Wentz needs a kick in the ass, and McDaniels won’t hesitate to put him in his place. That type of tough love is something Wentz could really use right now.
We’ll have to wait and see if the Eagles brass sees it the same way as I do. We should know who the next head coach is within a week or so.