Eagles Head Coaching Search: Roundtable Discussion

The Philadelphia Eagles are neck-deep in the head coach swimming pool after firing former head coach Doug Pederson. No rock is being left unturned, either. From high school prodigies to seasoned NFL veterans, it appears that Eagles’ owner Jeffrey Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman are completing a thorough search. With the search all but complete, writers at Last Out Media give their opinion on the journey to the Eagles’ new head coach.

Who is your favorite candidate and why?

AJ Iezzi (@AJ_Iez)- My head says Joe Brady, but my heart says, Duce Staley. Duce is already getting portrayed as the cheerleader, player-favorite but his track record as a coach speaks for itself. If he wasn’t a running back, he would be in high demand across the league. 

Rob Whitney (@YoungSpud1385)- Eric Bieniemy. He has a really innovative approach.

Ashlee Woods (@ashleemwoods)- It’s between Nick Sirianni and Joe Brady. Both are young, offensive minds that can fix Carson Wentz and return him to form while also properly developing Jalen Hurts as a passer. I am leaning more towards Siranni due to his experience and because he’s worked under Reich, a system that helped Wentz thrive in 2017.

Matt Maratea (@mmaratea22)- It has to be McDaniels. More so than any sport, success in the NFL depends on the quarterback position and what other candidate has spent the majority of his career working with two of the greatest of all time? I really believe he’ll let the DC handle his business and he’ll be in the ear of Carson Wentz and help him ascend to the level of play he’s capable of.

What candidate do you think best fits the Eagles’ needs?

A.I.- Once again I’m torn between Brady and Staley. Brady is the bright offensive mind that could jumpstart the offense while playing to the strengths of Wentz and Hurts. Staley provides a stabilizing presence to a franchise in turmoil with a quarterback problem. The Eagles are on the brink of disaster and both candidates could rejuvenate the team in different aspects. 

R.W. – Once again, I have to say Eric Bieniemy. His innovation can really rejuvenate this Eagles’ offense.

A.W.- Nick Sirianni. The Eagles’ offense needs to return to the two-dimensional, efficient offense fans saw in 2017. Under Sirianni, the Colts have had a top 10 rushing offense in the league, and their passing offense has been deadly, even with Phillip Rivers at the helm. He’s also young and the Eagles are— slowly but surely— getting younger. He can be the guy to create a positive culture for the young guys while also allowing them to grow as players.

M.M.- Josh McDaniels isn’t just riding the coattails of great QB’s. Look at how he was able to alter an offense so Tim Tebow found success. Kyle Orton became a serviceable NFL quarterback under him. We had that brief moment of Brock Osweiler even. Everything starts from there. 

Is there a candidate you wished the Eagles took a longer look at?

A.I.- There isn’t anyone I wish they would have spent more time with but I wonder how differently their interviewing would have been had they fired Doug Pederson one week earlier.

R.W.- Todd Bowles. A defensive minded coach should a long look as it could help a unit that has struggled in recent years.

A.W.- I’m not entirely sure if there is a candidate that I wished the Eagles looked at closer, as almost ever interview has been eight or more hours. Almost all of the candidates they have considered I’ve liked so I don’t have any complains there.

M.M.- I was big on the Robert Saleh train. I’ve always favored a defensive guy in charge. I also think Joe Brady seemed to not get enough of a look. With his youth and what he’s done so far, his candidacy should have been more serious than it seems it was. 

Was there a candidate that surprised you when you heard that the Eagles were interviewing them?

A.I.- Josh McDaniels. The Eagles are his only potential suitor this year, and he is by far my least favorite coaching candidate. He flunked in Denver, screwed over Indianapolis, and has only been good under the best coach of all time. I don’t see the appeal and he’s not a personality to root for. 

R.W.- Mike Kafka. There is nothing that impresses me about him. He essentially a Doug Pederson repeat.

A.W.- Robert Saleh. With so much of the focus being on fixing Carson Wentz and this Eagles’ offense, I was surprised to see Saleh be asked for an interview. Howie Roseman doesn’t value linebackers at all, while Saleh does. A defensive-minded coach would have been interesting, considering how bad our defense has been since 2017. I just expected the Eagles to think purely offensive minds, given their priority list this season.

M.M.-  The Kellen Moore interview surprised me. It might be just that it was a bit shocking that the Cowboys would allow him to do that, but also I believe Moore’s role with Da Boys is a tad overblown. Dak is a pretty good QB, and their receiving core is elite. Add in Zeke Elliot and the Dallas OC job should be a cakewalk for anyone. 

Do you like the approach the Eagles are taking?

A.I.- I don’t think the Eagles are searching far and wide because it’s their primary preference. It’s because the optics and logistics of the job are the second worst among all the openings— thank you, Houston. There’s no cap space, a blossoming quarterback dilemma, and the owner/GM fired the franchise’s lone Super Bowl- winning coach three years after the fact. The Eagles are not a football destination. 

R.W.- Not really. It seems like they are being disingenuous and trying to give the illusion they are doing a thorough search.

A.W.- I don’t think the Eagles have any other option than to go about this the way they have. The potential head coach would be entering a city tired of being lied to by the team, a culture poisoned by constant hit reports and mistrust in the locker room, and one of the worst cap situations in the league. The Eagles, I assume, have to make sure that their pick is fit to handle the stress that can and will come with this job. Do I think that Lurie and Roseman are giving the illusion that this search is thorough? Possibly but at the end of the day, they’ve forced their hand. If they aren’t thorough, they’ll find themselves in the same position in 3 years. The only difference is that more heads would probably need to roll if that does occur.

M.M.- I don’t in the sense that the Eagles are operating from behind. The last team to fire their coach and the last to start interviews. Being behind the Lions when doing anything means you’ve done it wrong. 

What type of coach do you think the Eagles need to hire (player’s coach, offensive/defensive mind, etc.)?

A.I.- The Eagles need to find the best of both worlds when it comes to football acumen and being a players-coach. Both sides of the ball need some spice, and the culture that spawned a Super Bowl looks to be shaky.

R.W.- A defensive coach that will leave the offense to offensive-minded people. No need to once again go down the path of an offensive guy who will eventually want to do things his way.

A.W.- The best of both worlds would be ideal, but right now, this team needs a fresh, offensive mind with a strong personality. Too many times the Eagles are forced into shootouts because of our defensive woes and our offense can seldom compete in those. Efficiency on offense is sorely needed and I think that should be the focus. I’m inclined to say that a player’s coach needs to be secondary because Pederson was considered a player’s coach and look where we are. A coach that can kick this team into gear and get them back to winning is more important than appeasing the players.

M.M.-  At this stage, there aren’t many ways to innovate an NFL offense. You need a leader of men. Someone who can make adjustments on the fly, and make sure that his players stay in line and on task. 

Right now, what’s more important to you: hiring someone to fix Wentz or hiring someone to rally the troops and start winning again?

A.I.- There are 53 guys on the roster. Football is a team game and hiring a coach based around an individual player is bound for catastrophe. The best candidate is best for the team.

R.W.- Hiring someone to fix Wentz.

A.W.- Again, both would be ideal, but the team mustn’t ignore why they’re on this journey: Carson Wentz. His ruined relationship with Pederson and the front office’s desire to have him return to form is the big reason why the Eagles are on this search. Hiring someone to fix Wentz was always the goal and should remain that way. Just because the Eagles are focusing on that doesn’t necessarily mean that the other 52 men are being neglected. That is determined by the staff and the culture the head coach and staff create.

M.M.- It is all about Wentz. Players will fall in line. We know leaders like Kelce and Cox support Carson, and if the coach does as well then it will be a cold day in hell before someone crosses all 3. With a noted trouble maker like Alshon all but gone this offseason, there should be no issues. 

Who’d you be the most pleased with?

A.I.- **clears throat** Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuce.

R.W.- Eric Bieniemy.

A.W.- Nick Sirianni or Joe Brady would be great but I wouldn’t be too upset with Josh McDaniels. An unpopular pick around town, but McDaniels knows how to scheme to his wide receivers’ strengths and worked with worse talent at the quarterback position than Wentz. Belichick gets some of the praise that McDaniels in fact deserves because offensive gameplanning is not Belichick’s bread and butter. Defense is. What McDaniels has been able to do with and without Brady can’t be ignored simply because he is the reason why Reich left. All three of these candidates would do wonders with Wentz and Hurts and possibly mend this broken team.

M.M.- Does anyone really have an ideal candidate? If it isn’t Eric Bieniemy, then it is a shoulder shrug. Getting the old backfield back together with Duce and Bieniemy gives you something that seems to be as close to the ideal situation as you’d like. 

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