The 2017 NFL regular season schedule is over and Black Monday has begun. A number of head coaches around the league will not be returning to the sidelines with their teams in 2018.
Now that vacancies are opening up, teams are looking for replacements. And some of those replacements just might be coming from the Eagles’ coaching staff. According to reports, multiple teams are interested in Philadelphia quarterback coach John DeFilippo and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.
It’s being reported that the Bears, who fired John Fox, will interview Flip this week as the Eagles have a first-round bye prior to their playoff game on January 13. Chicago is a logical landing spot for Flip since the Bears traded up to select Mitchell Trubisky in the 2017 NFL Draft. Trubisky didn’t really have an inspiring rookie season. In fairness to Mitch, he didn’t have a great supporting cast, as was the case with Carson Wentz in 2017. Flip had a role in helping Wentz develop into an MVP candidate. Maybe he can help Trubisky develop into a good starter.
The Arizona Cardinals, who have an opening with Bruce Arians retiring, are also reportedly interested in Flip. Arizona doesn’t have a young quarterback to work with. 2017 starter Carson Palmer turns 39 next season. The Cardinals own the No. 15 pick in this year’s draft so they might not necessarily get their pick of quarterback options unless they trade up. Ian Rapoport reports Cardinals general manager Steve Keim “has had [Flip] on his radar forever.”
Losing Flip would certainly be a bummer for the Eagles. But losing good assistants is what comes with the territory when a team is successful in the NFL. Wentz is so good in his own right that it’s not like losing Flip is going to tank his career. I do think Flip could be a good hire for Chicago, though.
For more on Flip, read this great profile written by Benjamin Solak.
Now Schwartz is also being linked to Arizona. Rapoport reports the Cardinals have put in an interview request for the Eagles defensive coordinator.
It sure wouldn’t shock me if Schwartz gets hired this offseason, but the feeling here is he’s still not the most desirable candidate just yet. There’s no question he’s done some strong work with the Eagles’ defense. I just don’t think he’s a slam dunk option for teams given his track record with Detroit and the way the league is trending with offensive coach hires being more popular.
Losing Schwartz would hurt the Eagles because he’s solely in charge of the defense. Doug Pederson defers to him on that side of the ball. Some have suggested the Eagles might promote Cory Undlin if Schwartz leaves, but I don’t think that’s rooted in much logic. Would the Eagles really give a first-time defensive coordinator the keys to the entire defense? If the Eagles were going to promote within, linebacker coach Ken Flajole at least has some DC experience.
The more likely option, in this view, is that the Eagles would hire Steve Spagnuolo. He was reportedly Pederson’s preference prior to hiring Schwartz in 2016. If not Spags, the Eagles will have a number of other options. Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley only signed a one-year deal with Los Angeles. The Eagles seemed to be ready to hire him as head coach before luring Chip Kelly out of Oregon at the last minute in 2013. Jack Del Rio is on the market after being fired by the Raiders. Chuck Pagano is also out there. The Eagles will have some options, and they should be able to get their pick of the litter based on the talent that’s here. Not to mention the team’s 2017 success.
MORE TO COME
With a lot of NFL coaching jobs opening up, this is the only the beginning of the NFL coaching rumor cycle. We could see Flip and Schwartz linked to other cities. We might even see Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich and special teams coordinator Dave Fipp draw some interest. Maybe even running backs coach Duce Staley, too.