Chip Kelly is gone. The Philadelphia Eagles are now set to hire a new coach with Jeffrey Lurie, Don Smolenski, and Howie Roseman leading the search. Until a final decision is made, there are bound to be a lot of rumors and reports about who the Eagles will hire. The Eagles haven't been linked to any candidates just yet, but here are some popular candidates the team might consider.
The Bengals' offensive coordinator seems to be one of the most popular options available. The 50-year-old Jackson has done a nice job with Andy Dalton and Cincinnati's offense. In 2015, the Bengals rank fourth in points scored per game and 13th in yards per game. Jackson has head coaching experience. He led the Oakland Raiders to an 8-8 record in 2011 before getting fired after his first year on the job. Jackson got a rough deal in Oakland. His quarterback at the time, Jason Campbell, got hurt and the franchise made a panic trade for Carson Palmer. Legendary franchise owner and general manager Al Davis died during the 2011 season. New Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie opted to remove Jackson and make his own coaching hire. Jackson is one of the most intriguing options for the Eagles, in my view.
The 37-year-old Gase has drawn interest as a head coaching candidate in recent years due to his work with Peyton Manning in Denver. Gase is now the Bears' offensive coordinator and he's seemingly done a nice job working with Jay Cutler. Chicago's offense ranks 10th overall by Football Outsiders.
I'm also inclined to think Bears OC Adam Gase will be high on Eagles list of potential next HCs. Jeff likes offensive minds.— Geoff Mosher (@GeoffMosherNFL) December 30, 2015
If you wanna look at potential Eagles names, start here -- Panthers DC Sean McDermott. Widely respected. Knows the Philly brass. A unifier.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) December 30, 2015
Remember this guy? The former Eagles defensive coordinator was run out of Philadelphia after failing to escape the shadow of legendary defensive coordinator Jim Johnson. McDermott has gone on to oversee some strong defenses in Carolina since leaving the Eagles. The Panthers are obviously one of the best teams in the NFL this season. Aside from his past experience with the Eagles, McDermott has connections to Philadelphia. The 41-year-old coach is a graduate of La Salle College High School, which is located in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania. One concern about McDermott: how much of Carolina's defensive success can really be attributed to him when head coach Ron Rivera is a defensive mind?
Pat Shurmur (interim HC)
With Kelly gone, Shurmur has been named as the team's interim head coach. He'll get an opportunity to display his leadership during Philadelphia's season finale against the New York Giants. It's hard to imagine Shurmur as a serious candidate because ... what did he really actually do while Kelly was here? Then again, Shumur's future could be connected to how the organization feels about Sam Bradford. Maybe Lurie wants to keep those two together. I personally doubt Shurmur is a strong candidate.
Another college coach with no NFL coaching experience? Don't rule it out. The Eagles reportedly offered Sumlin a head coaching job back in 2013. Sumlin has gone 36–15 since taking over Texas A&M in 2012. It's unclear if Sumlin wants to make a jump to the NFL, but his name is worth keeping an eye on.
The failure of McDaniels in Denver draws some similarities to the failures of Kelly in Philadelphia. Both people were bright offensive minds who were in over their head as personnel decision makers. McDaniels has quietly redeemed himself by overseeing some great offenses in his return to New England. The Patriots have one of the best NFL coaches ever in Bill Belichick and one of the best quarterbacks ever in Tom Brady, so that obviously helps a lot, but McDaniels deserves some credit too.
The Eagles showed interest in Koetter before hiring Kelly in 2013. The 56-year-old is currently the Buccaneers' offensive coordinator. Koetter was a head coach at Boise State and Arizona State before making the jump to the NFL as an offensive coordinator in 2007. He worked with the Jaguars and Falcons before joining Tampa Bay. Koetter got ruled out of Philadelphia's coaching search early in the process last time, so he might not be such a serious candidate. Then again, he did help the Buccaneers destroy the Eagles' defense earlier this season.
No relation to Chip. The 54-year-old coach is 55–22 since being hired by Notre Dame in 2010. Kelly doesn't have any NFL coaching experience. The Eagles reportedly interviewed him twice during their coaching search in 2013, so there's reason to believe they could revisit their initial interest.
The Eagles interviewed Marrone before he got hired by the Bills in 2013. The 51-year-old Marrone went 15-17 in two years with Buffalo before he actually decided to opt out of his contract following the 2014 season due to Buffalo's change in ownership. Marrone spent the 2015 season as the assistant head coach and offensive line coach of the Jaguars.
I saved this name for last because it seems like Sean Payton will return to the New Orleans Saints, but you never know. Payton has the right to opt out of his contract. Payton is 91–60 all-time as a head coach in the NFL, including 6-4 in the playoffs and one Super Bowl win. Payton spent two years as Philadelphia's quarterback coach in the late 1990s. Landing Payton is probably a pipe dream.