After the Eagles defeated the Giants Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field 22-16, not only winning the NFC East but getting the bye week and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, the coaching staff will be spending most of the week looking for ways to improve an Eagles team that started strong but has lost two of their last three games heading into the playoffs.
While they study film, trying to make the necessary tweaks, some of their colleagues around the league are cleaning out their offices, looking for a new team to join as teams fire coaches. At the same time, a few Eagles coaches will be preparing for interviewing for those spots.
With vacancies opening up around the league, teams will start to look at the 14-3 Eagles and what they have accomplished this season, requesting interviews with coordinators and coaches to fill those jobs and hoping they turn the fortunes of their franchises and put them down a winning path. Because the Eagles are on a bye week as the top seed, league rules state that teams could hold a phone or virtual interviews with Eagles coaches as soon as Wednesday, three days after a team’s Week 18 game which was Sunday.
Here are three Eagles coaches who could be considered for head coaching jobs in the coming weeks:
Defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon
Current interview requests: Houston Texans
Gannon was a finalist for the Texans’ job last season, but the Texans decided to hire Lovie Smith instead. After the Texans moved on from Smith, making him the second-straight coach to be released by the team after one season, Gannon is back on the list as a candidate. Gannon’s defense this season finished second in the league in total yards allowed per game (301.5) and first in pass defense (179.8 yards per game). The defense also finished with 70 sacks this season, tied with the 1987 Chicago Bears for the third-most in a season in league history.
The version of Gannon’s defense that he runs is derivative of the Vic Fangio scheme, a system that is being used by more teams around the league. Bringing in Steichen means the Texans would likely run to run the same system. Offensively, Gannon could request to interview quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson or passing game coordinator Kevin Patullo to be his offensive coordinator.
Another factor to place in this is his friendship with Texans general manager Nick Caserio, with both going to John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio. If Gannon is hired as a head coach, the Texans are the most likely landing spot for him. If he does go, the Eagles could turn to defensive backs coach and defensive passing game coordinator Dennard Wilson or former Denver Broncos head coach and current Eagles consultant Vic Fangio to replace Gannon.
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Offensive Coordinator Shane Steichen
Given that offensive coaches are usually in demand, Steichen is another coach who could see an uptick in interview requests and could be the second coach hired after former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton decides if he returns to coaching and where he wants to go. Steichen has shown that he can develop quarterbacks, contributing to the success of Jalen Hurts during his two seasons with the Eagles and Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert in 2020, Something that could come in handy to a few teams at the top of the 2023 draft.
Given that the Texans, Indianapolis Colts, and Carolina Panthers are all teams that will likely be searching for a quarterback and a head coach, Steichen could land with one of those franchises. The Eagles offense finished third in the league this season, averaging 389.1 yards per game, third in points per game (28.1), fifth in rushing (147.6 yards per game), and ninth in passing (241.5 yards per game).
The Texans have asked for a chance to interview Steichen, which makes sense. With the second pick in the draft that could land them Alabama’s Bryce Young, the Texans could hire Steichen to develop an offense around him while bringing in a new culture to a franchise that could use stability. The Colts also would give Steichen a solid run game with Salem-native Jonathan Taylor, something that would help a young quarterback out as he gets used to the NFL game.
Quarterbacks coach: Brian Johnson
Current interview requests: None
Another coach on many people’s lists is not only a dark-horse candidate to become a head coach but has been mentioned as a future offensive coordinator. Johnson has worked with Hurts, Gardner Minshew, and Ian Book to prepare for games this season, working with them on various aspects of the position ranging from their footwork to reading defensive coverages.
Johnson is no stranger to being an offensive coordinator, having served in the role with the University of Florida before joining the Eagles. Johnson was also part of the league’s coach and front office accelerator program held in May during the spring league meeting in Atlanta, an event that aimed to help get candidates in front of owners with the hopes of teams hiring them in the future. If Johnson does not leave the Eagles for another job and Steichen becomes a head coach elsewhere, he could be one of the lead candidates to become the new offensive coordinator.
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Chris Franklin may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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