The NFL landscape is about to change once again.
Now that we’ve seen a number of NFL teams make head coaching changes, let’s take stock of what’s happened and how it impacts the Philadelphia Eagles.
HEAD COACH OPENINGS
Six out of 32 teams currently don’t have a head coach in place.
Bruce Arians retired. Eagles quarterback coach John DeFilippo and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz are reportedly expected to interview with the Cardinals. Arizona doesn’t have an easy path to getting a quarterback, so I don’t know if Flip would really be crazy about going there.
NEW YORK GIANTS
Ben McAdoo got fired during the season. Some reports indicate Schwartz is a “favorite” for the New York job. Other reports are downplaying Schwartz’s chances of being the next Giants boss. Schwartz fits the Giants’ desire for an “experienced” candidate, but I don’t think he’s a slam dunk option thanks to his history with Detroit. Flip doesn’t fit the “experienced” mold the Giants are looking for so it doesn’t seem like he’ll end up with NYG, which is good.
If I’m the Eagles, I’d be rooting for the Giants to hire Pat Shurmur. He may have done some nice work with Case Keenum but based on my experience around him he’s just not that inspiring.
The Bears fired John Fox. DeFilippo is reportedly expected to interview with the Bears, which makes a lot of sense for both sides. Chicago should want Flip to work with Mitchell Trubisky.
The Lions fired Jim Caldwell. They haven’t been connected to any Eagles assistants yet. There’s been talk Detroit might want to keep offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter. If that’s the case, Flip might not be a likely candidate. Schwartz obviously won’t be in the running for the Lions job.
The Colts fired Chucka Pagano. Indy should absolutely have interest in Flip. So far, there’s been no reported connection. Pairing Flip with Andrew Luck would make a lot of sense. That is, assuming Luck is going to return to football.
The Raiders fired Jack Del Rio. It sounds like the Raiders are really going to hire Jon Gruden. If that’s the case, one less job opening for an Eagles assistant.
JOBS TO WATCH
The firings aren’t necessarily over just yet. It’s possible that one or two more jobs could become available.
There was thought Mike Mularkey would be fired if the Titans didn’t make the playoffs. Well, Tennessee got in, but I wonder if Mularkey keep his job if the Titans gets blown out by the Chiefs on Wild Card weekend. Flip could be a candidate for this opening since he’d be good to pair with Marcus Mariota. Schwartz has old connections to Tennessee but I don’t know if they’re really hot for him.
There’s been talk about Bill O’Brien being on the hot seat. He’s reportedly set to get an extension, though, so maybe he’s safe after all. Something to keep an eye on, at least.
There were rumors going around that Pete Carroll, who turns 67 in September, might retire. He denied them. Carroll is the oldest coach in the NFL.
COACHES WHO ARE NOTABLY SAFE
The expectation was that there was going to be a lot more than merely six job openings this offseason, but that’s not the case. A number of teams have shown commitment to their current head coaches.
Notable coaches who are safe include: Todd Bowles of the New York Jets, Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati Bengals (two-year extension LOL), Hue Jackson (despite being 1-31), Vance Joseph of the Denver Broncos, Jay Gruden of the Washington Redskins, Mike McCarthy of the Green Bay Packers, and Dirk Koetter of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
ASSISTANTS THE EAGLES MIGHT LOSE
DeFilippo and Schwartz are the obvious names that could be moving on.
I really think Flip is more likely to leave than Schwartz is. Even if Flip somehow doesn’t get a head coaching job, teams would likely want to hire him as an offensive coordinator. The Eagles could block those OC requests, as they did last year, but they might not deny him that opportunity two years in a row.
As for Schwartz, I just don’t get the sense teams are really hot for him. Take this recent ESPN poll, for example. Out of 45 combined reporters/analysts/former players, Schwartz only got two fifth place votes. Compare that to Flip, who was ranked as the 11th overall best candidate. I think people are still sour on Schwartz’s time as a head coach in Detroit. That, plus I don’t think defensive head coaches are trendy in today’s NFL.
The names of Eagles offensive cordinator Frank Reich and special teams coordinator Dave Fipp have been thrown around as potential head coach candidates. They haven’t been really connected to any openings, though.
POTENTIAL REPLACEMENTS FOR ASSISTANTS THE EAGLES LOSE
If the Eagles lose Flip, here are some candidates they could consider to replace him:
Jim Caldwell - Dating back to college, Caldwell has 15 years of experience as a quarterback coach. He most notably worked with Peyton Manning from 2002-2008. Joe Flacco had one of his best regular seasons under Caldwell in 2012. That’s also the year Flacco got really hot in the playoffs and won a Super Bowl. Eagles vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas was with the Ravens during Caldwell’s two-year stint in Baltimore.
Ben McAdoo - Man, this certainly wouldn’t be popular, and I doubt they do it, but the Eagles wanted to hire McAdoo over Doug Pederson. So I had to at least mention it. I’m sorry.
Press Taylor - Taylor is the Eagles’ offensive quality control/assistant quarterbacks coach. He was originally hired by the team in 2013. He’s only 29 years old (four years older than Carson Wentz). Philadelphia might be looking for a Flip replacement who has a little more experience.
Trent Miles - Listed merely as a “coaching assistant” on the Eagles’ website, Miles is an under-the-radar name to watch. The Eagles hired Miles in late August to an unspecified assistant role. It was reported that he’d be working with the team’s quarterbacks, so maybe that was the Eagles preparing for the possibility of Flip moving on.
If the Eagles lose Schwartz, here are some candidates they could consider to replace him:
Steve Spagnuolo - The Eagles reportedly wanted to hire Spags before hiring Schwartz. Spags seems like an obvious preference for Philadelphia. He might not be available, however, if the Giants actually hire Pat Shurmur as their head coach. Shurmur was the Rams’ offensive coordinator when Spags was a head coach in St. Louis.
Jack Del Rio - JDR has overseen some good units as a defensive coordinator. He has experience running both the 4-3 and the 3-4.
Gus Bradley - The Eagles seemed to be ready to hire Bradley as their head coach before they realized they could get Chip Kelly to leave Oregon after all. Bradley flopped as a head coach but he previously did some good work as a defensive coordinator in Seattle and with the Chargers in 2017. Bradley is a free agent because he only signed a one-year deal with Los Angeles.
Vic Fangio - Fangio is considered to be one of the best defensive coordinators in the league. He runs a 3-4 defense, though, so the fit might not work.
Chuck Pagano - Experienced option but he runs a 3-4 and the Ravens reportedly want him back. He also might just take a year off.
Cory Undlin - Some have suggested the Eagles could promote their defensive backs coach to defensive coordinator but I’d be surprised if that happened. Doug Pederson gives full control to his DC. That’d be a lot of control for a first-time coordinator in the case of Undlin.
Ken Flajole - If the Eagles were to promote any in-house candidate, Flajole at least has some DC experience. His defenses weren’t anything to write home about, so I doubt it happens, but it’s worth mentioning.
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