Report: Eagles coaching search begins with Robert Saleh, Todd Bowles
The Eagles are less than 12 hours removed from firing Super Bowl-winning head coach Doug Pederson and have already begun to search for his replacement. Lurie didn’t rule out the possibility of bringing in a defensive coach, but it is a bit astonishing that two of their first three candidates are focused on that side of the ball.
The Eagles have reportedly requested interviews with 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles as well as Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith. A closer look at each potential candidate:
Eagles have requested permission to interview 49ers’ DC Robert Saleh for their HC job, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 12, 2021
Robert Saleh, 49ers Defensive Coordinator
Saleh has been popular around the NFL, having already interviewed with the Lions, Jaguars, Chargers, and Falcons. The Jets are flying him in for a second interview today after meeting with the team virtually on Friday.
The 49ers defense was ranked near the top of the league in several categories this season:
- Passing yards allowed per game: 207.9 (4th)
- Rushing yards allowed per game: 106.4 (7th)
- Yards per play: 5.0 (4th)
- Yards per catch: 10.3 (5th)
- Passer rating allowed: 88.6 (8th)
Saleh’s impending staff could be the most intriguing, potentially bringing with him Chiefs QB coach Mike Kafka (who the Eagles are also interested in), 49ers assistants Mike McDaniel and Mike LaFleur as well as linebackers coach DeMeco Ryans. Saleh has a strong personality and could bring the leadership that Lurie is searching for.
At least he knows what a standout linebacker looks like, having coached Fred Warner to his first Pro Bowl this season. Certainly would be an encouraging hire for Micah Parsons fans ahead of the draft.
Any franchise looking for a HC should listen to Richard Sherman’s take on Robert Saleh pic.twitter.com/FQFwGADNqO— Billy M (@BillyM_91) November 30, 2020
Todd Bowles, Bucs Defensive Coordinator
The Eagles are the third team to request an interview with Bowles, with Detroit and Atlanta both having shown interest as well. Tampa Bay’s defense has thrived under Bowles this season:
- 327.1 yards allowed per game (1st)
- 22.2 points allowed per game (8th)
- 80.6 rushing yards allowed per game (1st)
- 48 sacks (4th)
- 65 QB knockdowns (1st)
- 116 QB hits (tied-2nd)
- 91 tackles for loss (tied-2nd)
Bowles last served as head coach for the Jets from 2015-2018, having a record of 24-40 during that time. The former Temple Owl coached the Eagles secondary for Andy Reid in 2012.
And Sal Pal says the Eagles are requesting permission to interview Bucs’ DC Todd Bowles as well, which would bring him back to the city in which he played college football at Temple from 1982-’85. https://t.co/C6MsJWJB9q— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 12, 2021
Arthur Smith, Titans Offensive Coordinator
Smith would be intriguing for the revival of Ryan Tannehill’s career alone. The Jaguars, Jets, Chargers, and Falcons have all had interviews with the 38-year-old coach. Smith has been the Titans offensive coordinator for the last two seasons, each of which the team has made the postseason. Sure, he’s also had rushing champion Derrick Henry, but you can’t argue with the results this past season:
- Total yards per game: 396.4 (3rd)
- Rushing yards per game: 168.1 (2nd)
- Points per game: 30.7 (4th)
- Passer Rating: 105.9 (5th)
- Team turnovers: 12 (31st)
The Titans have taken care of the ball incredibly well this season, only throwing 7 interceptions and losing 5 fumbles. To put that into perspective, Carson Wentz fumbled the ball 10 times himself this season, losing four of them.
It should be common knowledge that Carson Wentz is more talented than Ryan Tannehill, the latter looked all but dead in the water prior to leaving Miami. Tennessee built an offense around his strengths with the running game, and Arthur Smith could do the very same for the Wentz and the Eagles. The team does have a productive running back in Miles Sanders, despite Doug Pederson being oblivious to his skill set.