Who will be the next head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles? Here’s a list of names to get you started.
Mike McCoy – Offensive coordinator, Denver Broncos
What you need to know: If Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman are looking for a coach who’s shown he can adapt to personnel, they’ll want to give McCoy a call. He catered Denver’s offense to fit Tim Tebow’s skill set in 2011 and now coaches a Peyton Manning-led group that ranks second in scoring (going into Sunday). Kyle Orton had the best years of his career under McCoy’s direction. And Jake Delhomme made a Pro Bowl in 2005 with McCoy as his quarterbacks coach. Fun fact: McCoy, a former QB, spent training camp with the Eagles back in 1998. The 40-year-old has never been a head coach.
Jon Gruden – ESPN analyst
What you need to know: As recently as Saturday night, this seemed like a longshot. But respected columnist Dan Pompei of the National Football Post wrote Sunday morning that people around Gruden are convinced he’s coming back and believe there’s “a good chance” he lands in Philadelphia. Hiring Gruden would indicate that Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman believe they’ve assembled a talented roster that has underachieved and is close to being competitive immediately.
Bill O’Brien – Penn State head coach
What you need to know: It had seemed likely that he was staying put, but Chris Mortensen’s report that O’Brien is on the Eagles’ short list changes things. There’s a lot to like about the Penn State head coach. He spent five seasons as an assistant with the Patriots, including one as offensive coordinator. And he showed he’s capable of working through extremely difficult circumstances while in Happy Valley. Belichick’s disciples have struggled outside of New England, but O’Brien may be an exception since he’s already proven himself elsewhere. O’Brien’s contract with Penn State contains a buyout, but then again, the Saints are shelling out $8.5 million per season for Sean Payton. In other words, owners are willing to pay to get their man.
Chip Kelly – Head Coach, University of Oregon
What you need to know: Hailed as an offensive mastermind, Kelly may be the most-hyped candidate on the market. We’ve written about him at length in this space. He has four years of college head-coaching experience, but has never held a job in the NFL. Oregon’s offense averaged 50.8 points per game this season, second in the country. The Ducks have ranked first, second, third and eighth in scoring offense during Kelly’s tenure as head coach. Bill Belichick has picked Kelly’s brain and incorporated aspects of his scheme into the Patriots’ offense. Teams looking to add Kelly will have to ask themselves whether they’re hiring him for his offensive mind or his offensive system. The system might fail, especially with inadequate personnel, but Kelly’s success in college suggests he’ll be able to figure things out at the NFL level. The Bucs offered Kelly their head-coaching job last offseason, but he ultimately decided to stay at Oregon. The consensus seems to be that he’s ready to make the leap this offseason. Kelly is 49-years-old.
Greg Roman – Offensive coordinator, San Francisco 49ers
What you need to know: Roman, a Ventnor N.J. native, has worked on Jim Harbaugh’s staff for the past four seasons – two with the Niners and two at Stanford. Under the direction of Roman and Harbaugh, Alex Smith turned in his best season as a pro in 2011. The 49ers’ offense turned the ball over just 10 times last season, tied for the fewest in NFL history. This year, the 49ers have changed their offense to fit Colin Kaepernick’s talents. San Francisco is 11th in the league in scoring offense and ranks fifth, according to Football Outsiders. Roman, 40, has never been a head coach at any level and has only been an NFL coordinator for two seasons.
Dirk Koetter – Offensive coordinator, Atlanta Falcons
What you need to know: Koetter has helped Matt Ryan have a career year as the Falcons rank fifth in scoring offense and 10th in Football Outsiders’ rankings. Koetter produced mixed results in his previous stops. He served five years (2007-2011) as the offensive coordinator of the Jaguars. Arizona State was 40-34 under Koetter’s direction, and Boise State was 26-10. Koetter worked with Andy Reid at three different spots – San Francisco State (1985), UTEP (1986-1988) and Missouri (1989-1993). He is 52.
Jay Gruden – Offensive coordinator, Cincinnati Bengals
What you need to know: Tim had a good breakdown of Gruden earlier this month. He’s done a nice job developing young talent – and specifically, a young quarterback – the past two seasons. Andy Dalton, a second-round pick in 2011, threw 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions as a rookie. This year, his numbers are up across the board. A.J. Green, meanwhile, has emerged as one of the top receivers in the game, and the Bengals are headed back to the playoffs for the second straight season. Gruden had never been a coordinator or a position coach in the NFL or college before 2011, although he did serve as an offensive assistant with the Bucs from 2002 to 2008. He’s 45-year-old.
Gus Bradley – Defensive coordinator, Seattle Seahawks
What you need to know: Bradley’s spent the last four seasons as Seattle’s defensive coordinator, and the results this year speak for themselves. The Seahawks lead the NFL in scoring defense, allowing 15.5 points per game, and are second in Football Outsiders’ rankings. Bradley coaches a versatile, physical group, and the Seahawks boast perhaps the best secondary in the NFL. Bradley, 46, worked under Monte Kiffin in Tampa for three seasons. He was the linebackers coach from 2007 to 2008 and Tampa’s defensive quality control coach before that.
Ray Horton – Defensive coordinator, Arizona Cardinals
What you need to know: The Cardinals have received no help from their offense, but the 3-4 ‘D’ ranks fifth in Football Outsiders’ rankings – second against the pass. Horton played for and coached under Hall of Famer Dick LeBeau. He has 19 years of NFL coaching experience, including six with the Steelers (2005-2010). Horton interviewed with the Rams last year before they hired Jeff Fisher. He could be in line to take over for Ken Whisenhunt in Arizona if he is fired.
Darrell Bevell – Offensive coordinator, Seattle Seahawks
What you need to know: Bevell has seven years of coordinator experience – the last two with the Seahawks and the previous five with the Vikings. He also served six years on the Packers’ staff, including three seasons as quarterbacks coach. The Seahawks are eighth in scoring offense and fourth in Football Outsiders’ rankings. Bevell and the Seahawks coaches have done a masterful job building the offense around rookie signal-caller Russell Wilson. Bevell is 42.
Mike Zimmer – Defensive coordinator, Cincinnati Bengals
What you need to know: He’s spent the past 13 seasons as a coordinator – five with the Bengals, one with the Falcons and seven with the Cowboys. While Zimmer got a pair of interviews last year (Bucs, Dolphins), he’s yet to get a head-coaching opportunity. Zimmer’s units have finished in the top-10 in scoring defense in three of the past four seasons. Cincinnati is second in the NFL with 47 sacks. Zimmer is 56-years-old.
Bruce Arians – Offensive coordinator, Indianapolis Colts
What you need to know: Stepping in for Chuck Pagano, Arians has been at the center of the feel-good story in the NFL this season. A year after earning the No. 1 pick with a 2-14 record, the Colts are headed to the playoffs. Arians has experience working with young quarterbacks. He’s helped Andrew Luck along as a rookie and worked with Ben Roethlisberger from 2007-2011, a run that included a Super Bowl win and another Super Bowl appearance. He of course has Philadelphia roots too, having served as the head coach at Temple from 1983 to 1988. The one thing working against Arians is that he’s 60 and has never been an NFL head coach before.
Ben McAdoo – Packers quarterbacks coach
What you need to know: Tim introduced us to McAdoo earlier this month as a potential sleeper. He’s worked with Aaron Rodgers and was being looked at as a coordinator by other teams last offseason. Lurie, of course, went this route once before and had success hiring a certain QBs coach from Green Bay.
Mike Nolan, Falcons defensive coordinator
What you need to know: He went 18-37 in three-plus seasons as the 49ers head coach, but he may get a second look. Atlanta is fourth in the NFL in scoring defense, allowing 18.5 points per game. Nolan’s also served stints as the defensive coordinator of the Dolphins, Broncos, Ravens, Redskins, Jets and Giants.
Mel Tucker, Jaguars defensive coordinator
What you need to know: Another one of the sleepers McManus’ listed previously. He’s had little to work with in terms of talent in Jacksonville, and the results as of late have not been pretty (27th in scoring defense in 2012). The 40-year-old recently interviewed for the University of Wisconsin head-coaching job, enforcing the belief that the Jaguars’ struggles on defense are due to talent, not bad coaching.
Dave Toub, Bears special-teams coordinator
What you need to know: Toub served on the Eagles’ staff from 2001 to 2003 as an assistant, working with John Harbaugh’s special-teams group and the defensive line. He interviewed with the Dolphins for their head-coaching vacancy last offseason. Chicago’s special-teams units are consistently among the best in the league. SI.com’s Don Banks recently suggested that special-teams coaches may get more of a look this offseason.
Steve Sarkisian, University of Washington head coach
What you need to know: He was mentioned recently by Albert Breer of NFL Network as a potential candidate. Sarkisian has coached the Huskies the last four years, previously spent time as an assistant at USC and served one year as the quarterbacks coach of the Oakland Raiders.