This time last week, the Philadelphia Eagles fired their head coach, Doug Pederson. In his five seasons with The Birds, he finished with a 42-37-1 record, three playoff appearances, two division titles, and the first Super Bowl win in franchise history.
Philadelphia is now learning that Pederson’s departure came down to a difference of opinion with owner Jeffrey Lurie.
The belief — Pederson wanted to move forward with rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts. The reality — Lurie paid a lot of money for Carson Wentz, and there’s no running from that contract anytime soon.
During a podcast last week, Troy Aikman stated, “It’s going to be a project as to whoever becomes the head coach, I think, that they’re going to have to build him [Carson Wentz] up and see if they can get him back to where he has the confidence again to where he can go out and play at a high level.”
If one thing is certain, it’s that Philadelphia’s next head coach will acquire an enormous job. Interviews have taken place since Philly got word that the Eagles were parting ways with Pederson, but the search hasn’t produced a leader yet.
One of the youngest coaches in the NFL, the 31-year-old has coached for William & Mary, Penn State, and the New Orleans Saints under head coach Sean Payton.
In 2019, he joined LSU as the passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach. That season, LSU led collegiately with 565.8 yards per game and 47.2 points per game. He became recognized as the top assistant coach during the 2019 college football season and was hired as the offensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers in 2020.
He has interviewed with almost every team looking for a head coach this season. Whether the Eagles choose him or not, it seems likely he will land somewhere.
Saleh was a hot ticket in the post-season. He began his NFL coaching career for the Houston Texans, later transitioning to the Seattle Seahawks, Jacksonville Jaguars, and San Francisco 49ers. In his third season with the Niners, their defense was ranked sixth in the league, second in total defense, first in passing defense, and fourth in sacks. He led his team to Super Bowl LIV, and despite many injuries in 2020, he continued to show defensive success.
Similar to Brady, he interviewed with almost every team searching for a new lead. They all lost out, as he was hired by the Jets and will become their 20th head coach.
Another prospect gone too soon — Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith. In 2020, the Titans’ offensive was second in the NFL in points and fourth in yards.
He had two interviews before sitting down with Lurie and has since been hired to the Atlanta Falcons.
Meyo is a Patriot through and through. He was a first-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft by New England. He played eight seasons as a linebacker with the team before announcing his retirement in 2016.
In 2019, he was hired as the Patriots’ linebackers coach, alongside Steve Belichick. At 34-years-old, he’s another young possibility.
Staley is an insider and may be one of the best candidates the Eagles will interview. He was a running back for the Eagles from 1997 to 2003 and has been a coach for Philly since 2011. He originally joined the team as a special teams quality control coach before being promoted to running backs coach. In 2018, he was promoted again to assistant head coach and served as interim head coach for Pederson earlier in the 2020 season when he was diagnosed with COVID-19.
He has established relationships with the players, and he is well respected. There’s a lot to be said regarding consistency.
The most recent candidate is Patriots’ offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels. McDaniels started his career with the Denver Broncos but was fired in 2010 for a shoddy record and attitude. He reportedly had conflicts with players and assistant coaches.
He then moved onto St. Louis and settled in with the Patriots. He has been with the team for the last nine seasons.
His personality may fit in well with the “no one likes us, we don’t care” motto, or it may clash entirely with the friendly team dynamics taught by Pederson.
Bowles has worked with several NFL teams, including the New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, and Miami Dolphins, before landing in Philadelphia in 2012. He moved onto the Arizona Cardinals and returned to the Jets again, arriving in Tampa Bay as the Buccaneers’ defensive coordinator.
In 2020, the Buccaneers finished first in opposing rushing attempts, rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, and yards per rush. They are also coming off a win against the New Orleans Saints and will play for the NFC Championship next week.
The Eagles are reportedly interested in other coaches; however, there are no interviews currently scheduled after today. They say patience is a virtue, but with teams across the NFL picking up head coaches, the Eagles’ clock is ticking.