UPDATE: The Eagles are reportedly set to interview Arthur Smith on Thursday, January 14. He’s got a busy schedule.
The #Falcons had a second interview today with #Titans OC Arthur Smith, who then flew to New York to have dinner tonight with #Jets brass, sources tell me and @TomPelissero. Next up for Smith: The #Eagles on Thursday and #Lions on Friday. A red-hot head-coaching candidate.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 13, 2021
ORIGINAL STORY BELOW.
Shortly after the news dropped that the Philadelphia Eagles requested an interview Robert Saleh, ESPN also reported the Birds requested interviews with Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith and Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles (via Dan Graziano and Sal Pal). Let’s take a closer look at each head coaching candidate.
Smith has already drawn interviews from several teams. The 38-year-old has an interesting background.
He joined the Tennessee Titans as a defensive quality control coach under Mike Munchak’s original staff in 2011. From there, he survived multiple head coach changes (Ken Whisenhunt and Mike Mularkey) and gradually rose to replacing current Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur as the Titans’ play-calling offensive coordinator under Mike Vrabel in 2019.
Here’s how Smith’s offenses have ranked in DVOA:
2019 — 6th
2020 — 4th
Smith has overseen the unexpected resurgence of Ryan Tannehill’s career and perhaps the Eagles think he can be the one to help fix Carson Wentz. There is some question about how Smith will fare without the presence of a truly remarkable rushing talent in Derrick Henry.
Regardless, Smith certainly seems like a candidate worth interviewing.
(Random side note: Smith’s father is the founder of FedEx.)
Should the Eagles hire Arthur Smith?
This poll is closed
This Eagles regime has a level of familiarity with Bowles given how he served as their interim defensive coordinator and secondary coach in 2012, which was Andy Reid’s last season in Philly.
Bowles has a strong track record of being a good defensive coordinator. Here’s how his defenses have ranked in DVOA (excluding his interim season):
2013 — 2nd
2014 — 7th
2019 — 6th
2020 — 5th
Pretty good! The downside to Bowles is that he flopped in his first stint as a head coach. The New York Jets went 24-40 with zero playoff appearances during his tenure from 2015 through 2018.
In fairness, it’s not exactly like the Jets have their stuff together. They didn’t give Bowles the best personnel to work with. His quarterbacks were Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh McCown, and a rookie Sam Darnold.
With the Eagles requesting interviews with both Bowles and Saleh, it seems like they’re seriously considering hiring a defensive-minded head coach. No guarantee it happens but it’s at least possible.
Should the Eagles hire Todd Bowles?
This poll is closed
Quick recap of what we know about the Eagles’ coaching search — which is off to an encouraging start — so far:
49ers DC Robert Saleh
Titans OC Arthur Smith
Buccaneers DC Todd Bowles
Oklahoma HC Lincoln Riley
Chiefs QB coach/passing game coordinator Mike Kafka
Eagles assistant head coach/RB coach Duce Staley