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Philadelphia Eagles coaching candidates to replace Nick Sirianni in 2024

Philadelphia Eagles coaching candidates
Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles came within a few plays of winning Super Bowl LVIII, but were widely viewed as a perennial threat to win the Lombardi Trophy for years to come. One season later, concerns are growing in Philadelphia and amid calls for a change at head coach, we’re evaluating Eagles coaching candidates.

On the surface, firing a head coach with three winning seasons in three years and two years with double-digit victories seems absurd. However, the Eagles have fallen off drastically late in the 2023 campaign, struggling on both sides of the ball. Amid a growing belief that Sirianni’s success might’ve been the byproduct of having an offensive and defensive coordinator who both became successful head coaches.

Let’s dive into our Eagles coaching candidates in the event Nick Sirianni is fired.

Examining Philadelphia Eagles coaching candidates

Bill Belichick, New England Patriots head coach

NFL: New England Patriots at Denver Broncos
Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The year-to-year regression from the Philadelphia Eagles defense just comparing 2022 to 2023 is alarming. A year after becoming the first team in NFL history to have four players record double-digit sacks, the Eagles defensive line took a step back in 2023. Despite unmatched investments on the defensive line, it’s struggled and that has exposed one of the least effective secondaries in the NFL.

Talent is part of the problem, especially at linebacker, cornerback and safety. Improving those areas will require talent evaluation and acquisition through the NFL Draft and free agency. However, coaching is just as big of a problem in Philadelphia. Bill Belichick, even in 2023, is the smartest defensive coach in the NFL.

Related: NFL defense rankings

Injuries, there were a lot of them for New England in 2023, didn’t prevent New England from having a top-12 defense during the 2023 regular season. Nor did the Patriots’ defense struggle, even with its offense turning the football over and going 3-and-out at a higher rate than almost any other team.

Offensively, Howie Roseman and Jeffrey Lurie wouldn’t have to worry about Belichick’s recent history of draft whiffs impacting Philadelphia. Roseman is one of the best talent evaluators in the game with a resume that Belichick would trust enough to make the final call on draft day. Philadelphia’s front office would have to make a sacrifice, allowing Belichick to build his own staff, but the upside is the Eagles would remain a Super Bowl contender with Belichick as their defense improves while talent carries the offense.

Ben Johnson, Detroit Lions offensive coordinator

Syndication: Detroit Free Press
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One thing the 2023 NFL season has demonstrated is that quarterback Jalen Hurts needs more help from his play-caller. He’s still capable of playing at a very high level, but Philadelphia will also be asking him to carry more of the weight moving forward. As the Eagles’ offensive line gets older, with Lane Johnson and Jason Kelce nearing retirement, this franchise needs a coach who can make the most out of what he has.

Related: Philadelphia Eagles draft picks 2024

PPGYards per Play3rd Down SuccessRed Zone TD rate
Detroit Lions offense (2022)26.6 (5th)5.9 (4th)40.76% (14th)66.18% (4th)
Detroit Lions offense (2023)26.9 (5th)5.9 (4th)42.79% (7th)63.33% (6th)
Philadelphia Eagles offense (2022)29.1 (2nd)5.8 (6th)47.58% (3rd)68% (3rd)
Philadelphia Eagles offense (2023)26.4 (7th)5.5 (11th)48.58% (2nd)60.34% (10th)

Johnson doesn’t have the arsenal in Detroit that he would in Philadelphia. The Eagles’ would provide him with the MVP-caliber quarterback to run a new version of his offense and a ground game with Hurts and D’Andre Swift paired with Philadelphia’s receiving corps could do wonders with Johnson’s play designs. If Philadelphia truly wants to strike on a coaching candidate that many believe can be great, this should be Johnson’s dream job in the NFL.

Jerod Mayo, New England Patriots linebackers coach

NFL: New England Patriots at Arizona Cardinals
Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

There might be plenty of Eagles fans who don’t want to roll the dice on a linebackers coach. However, Jerod Mayo is a lot more than that. After Patriots owner Robert Kraft extended Mayo’s contract this offseason, keeping him away from head-coaching interviews, he rolled out a game plan to prepare Mayo to become an NFL head coach and that experience included being involved in personnel meetings.

Related: NFL coaching hot seat

Not only has Mayo already been talked about around the NFL as a coach-in-waiting, he’s been high on Philadelphia’s radar. In addition to receiving rave reviews for his work ethic, the Eagles specifically were blown out of the water by Mayo when they interviewed him in their last hiring cycle. Sirianni primarily got the job because he was an offensive-minded head coach.

Mayo’s intellect, leadership, maturity, background in developing young defenders and his imprint on the Patriots’ defense would all be welcome additions for Philadelphia. He offers the most important traits that matter for a successful head coach, plus he could be amenable to allowing Roseman and Lurie to help pick out his coaching staff.

Frank Smith, Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator

NFL: Frankfurt Games-Miami Dolphins Practice
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Priority is always given to play-callers when NFL teams are evaluating options for their next head coach. While Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Frank Smith isn’t the artist behind the success of the offense, head coach Mike McDaniel would freely admit he isn’t as successful without Smith. It’s also a sentiment shared by players.

Jeff Howe of The Athletic profiled Smith in-depth before he even became a popular head-coaching candidate. The Dolphins’ offensive coordinator doesn’t just come with a strong endorsement from McDaniel. He was also voted by the NFL Players Association as the offensive coordinator who had the biggest impact on his players.

“He has a thorough understanding of the game and is a great teacher, which is really what coaching is all about. He also has a unique ability to anticipate problems before they arise, be that on the field or in administrative-type things related to schedules, questions that will come up with players or coaches, etc. He operates on a daily basis with a passion, positivity and humility that is rare and sets him apart.”

Mike McDaniel on Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Frank Smith

Offensive success is a great skill, but the ability to make players better and keep a locker room together is just as important for a head coach. Given all of the finger-pointing that happened in 2023, Smith would be one of the more appealing Eagles coaching candidates.

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