Eagles’ Coordinators Could Spark Interest Elsewhere
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - With “Black Monday” rapidly approaching and the Philadelphia Eagles season assured to end after Sunday’s game against Dallas, Doug Pederson addressed the potential movement of his coordinators, Jim Schwartz and Frank Reich.
Schwartz has obviously already been a head coach in Detroit and many think the veteran defensive chief is ready for a second try in the big chair while Reich, Pederson’s right-hand man on the offensive side, has gotten a head-coaching interview in the past and could be on a few short lists again as the hiring cycle gets ready to kick off.
“Well, obviously there's talk out there of the two coordinators right now, and listen, I was in that spot once, and I think that they would be great candidates,” Pederson said prior to the Eagles’ Wednesday practice at the NovaCare Complex.
There are already three head-coaching vacancies across the league with the Los Angeles Rams, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Buffalo Bills having already moved on from their coaches in-season. A number of other jobs will surely open up early next week.
Schwartz remains the more likely candidate to be a serious contender even though his defense has begun to falter in the second half of the season. A top-10 unit early, Schwartz’s D is currently ranked No. 18 in the NFL, allowing 352.6 yards per game.
His previous try with the Lions ended poorly but Schwartz also took over the only 0-16 team in NFL history and brought it to the playoffs in relatively short order before stepping backward again.
"In Schwartz's case, he's been there before," Pederson said. "He understands it. ...The one thing that really intrigued me about Schwartz and his style was that it was a very simplistic scheme. Even when you get into sub-packages and stuff, it wasn't a lot of different calls and different defenses, and I think that's what makes any good coordinator great in this league: the ability to keep it simple and to allow your guys to play fast.”
As for Reich, he, Pederson and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, have been pivotal in the development of rookie quarterback Carson Wentz, who has completed 352 of 564 passes for 3,537 yards.
Reich previously interviewed with his old team in Buffalo for the head-coaching job and could be in the mix again now that the Bills job is open again, although interim coach Anthony Lynn figures to have a leg up there.
"In Frank's case, he has interviewed for jobs in the past," Pederson said. "He's kind of been through the process."
Meanwhile, Pederson also endorsed the idea that highly-regarded special teams coordinator Dave Fipp could be a potential future head coach.
“I think he's very capable," Pederson said of Fipp. “Next to myself, he's the next coach on the staff that's really in front of the team talking and coordinating meetings. I think that he'd be ripe for a job."
Former Eagles special teams coach John Harbaugh is the last man to take that route to a head-coaching job in Baltimore but two interim coaches this season -- Mike Priefer in Minnesota and John Fassel in Los Angeles, were elevated from special teams for many of the same reasons Pederson explained.
Although the Eagles have big-name coordinators, a season that will finish will with either six or seven wins means there will be hotter candidates out there, a reality that Pederson is not necessarily disappointed in because the coach would love to keep his staff together for a second season.
“You’d hate to see (coaches leave) -- because I hand-picked all these guys,” the coach said. “You’d hate to see any of them go, because I feel like we've got something special going and I would love to keep them all here if I could.”
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen