By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor
News broke on Sunday night of two more head coaching moves in the process of finalized.
The Chargers opted to hire Rams DC Brandon Staley and the Lions then quickly moved on Saints assistant Dan Campbell.
With the #Chargers hiring Brandon Staley, and the #Lions now working to finalize a deal with Dan Campbell as their new coach, the only two HC openings left are the Texans and Eagles. In addition, the Falcons can now make official the hire of new GM Terry Fontenot.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 18, 2021
The Chargers hiring Staley takes a top candidate off the board as the Eagles did not even get to interview him. It also likely means that the Eagles are unlikely to hire a defensive head coach with Robert Saleh having already been hired for the Jets.
The only other remaining opening is with the Texans, a team whose only positive to a coach would be quarterback Deshaun Watson, who will force his way off the team by all accounts.
The end result? While the Eagles may have missed out on Saleh or Stanley, the only offensive candidate they lost was former Titans OC Arthur Smith, who signed with the Falcons, as Urban Meyer and Dan Campbell were not reportedly on Philadelphia's radar.
It leaves the Eagles in a position with what is now clearly the most desirable job and has top candidates Eric Bienemy (Chiefs OC), Joe Brady (Panthers OC), Brian Daboll (Bills OC) and Mike Kafka (Chiefs QB and Passing Coordinator) still available along with Duce Staley.
Bienemy and Kafka are both former Eagles players who have had great success in Kansas City, but it is up to interpretation how much of that is due to Andy Reid, how much is due to the play of Mahomes and the blazing speedsters they have at wide receiver and how much is thanks to the concepts or coaching that Bienemy or Kafka have put into the offense. Bienemy being available at this stage is rather unexpected.
In the case of Joe Brady, he was a graduate assistant at Penn State just four years ago, so he is a very young coach. Could he build a strong staff and be an "offensive genius" similar to how the media loves to promote Sean McVay? There has not been much reported about Brady even though the team already interviewed him.
Staley obviously has plenty of experience with the Eagles and there is something to be said for his being with the team through three straight head coaches. The team has a winning culture despite these low points; Can Duce help to keep that culture strong and alive?
The fact that Daboll is still on the board is a surprise given he was expected to take the Chargers job just a day before they hired someone else. He's taken a player that many treated as a laughing stock in Josh Allen and made him an MVP candidate with the only major addition to the offense being Stefon Diggs. Could he do the same in Philly with Wentz or even Hurts?
The Eagles may have to play a bit of a waiting game at this point as the Chiefs and Bills remain in the playoff hunt and one of them will have to be headed to the Super Bowl, so at least one will be unavailable in-person for three weeks and may decline to do Zoom interviews until after their team's season is done.
There are, of course, other candidates such as Josh McDaniels, the Patriots offensive coordinator whose acceptance of the Colts head coach position, hiring of his own staff and then decision not to sign with the team and wreak havoc on that franchise cost the Eagles Frank Reich and may have directly resulted in this situation. The Eagles held a very long interview with him on Sunday night.
Patriots inside linebacker coach Jerod Mayo has also interviewed with the team and the Eagles have looked to Cowboys OC Kellen Moore and Buccaneers DC Todd Bowles for other known interview requests.
Additional options could include Bucs OC (and former QB) Byron Leftwich, Oklahoma's Lincoln Riley and Cincinatti's Luke Fickell among others.
Perhaps more important than the schemes they can bring are the coaches and leadership they can bring in, something that can often be difficult to evaluate for someone who may not have control of the coaches hired around them.
Update: ESPN's Adam Caplan reports that Bowles will interview with the Eagles on Monday.
Buccaneers’ DC Todd Bowles, fresh off last night’s win over the Saints, will interview today for the Eagles’ HC job, per sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 18, 2021