The Eagles are searching for a new head coach and have started interviewing candidates.
It was reported Wednesday that Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady had already interviewed with the team. On Monday, owner Jeffrey Lurie said he would not limit the search to offensive-minded coaches.
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That sentiment seems true because the team will interview San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh Wednesday night and schedule an interview with Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.
If the Eagles do decide to go with a coach from the defensive side of the football, they will have to make some adjustments to the roster and make some hiring decisions that will have to be made to be successful.
Here are three things that need to happen if Robert Saleh or Todd Bowles is selected to become the next Eagles head coach:
Hire an offensive coordinator who can take control of the offense
If Saleh or Bowles winds up being the head coach, they will have to hire an offensive coordinator who would overlook the entire offense, similar to what Jim Schwartz did for Doug Pederson and the defense.
Besides the obvious decision that will have to be made about the quarterback position, there are still some viable pieces. The offensive coordinator has to find a way to get running back Miles Sanders open in space. Sanders has proven he is a capable running back in the league. According to Football Database, Sanders was ranked 33rd this season in total yards from scrimmage (1,064).
The offensive coordinator will also have to scheme up some route combinations for wide receivers Jalen Reagor, Travis Fulgham, Quez Watkins, and tight end Dallas Goedert that do not become as predictable as they had become toward the end of the season. Their performance certainly reflected in their statistics. Fulgham led the Eagles this past season in receiving yards with 539. To put that in perspective, Danny Amendola (602) and Nelson Agholor (896) had better seasons than any receiver on the Eagles roster.
Maybe drafting a wide receiver such as DeVonta Smith or Ja’Marr Chase can open things up for the other receivers, but the offense has to have better production out of the group.
Get more linebackers
With a defensive-minded head coach, the team could finally use more resources to get more linebackers. With Saleh and Bowles, the Eagles would be able to remain in a 4-3 base defense, meaning there would not be a major shift in the general philosophy of the defense, and defensive ends Brandon Graham, Josh Sweat and Derek Barnett will not have to drop back into coverage as much.
Linebackers Alex Singleton and T.J. Edwards have earned a chance to compete for starting roles next year. Shaun Bradley and Davion Taylor are still young and will have the opportunity to show a new head coach that they belong on the field.
The key will be getting one more linebacker, preferably in the second-or-third round, that can play in space and hold and potentially become a pass rusher who can make themselves “small” and blitz through the middle gaps of the offensive line. If either Saleh and Bowles are selected, the defense should be a little less complicated for the linebackers and allow them not to think as much and flow to the ball.
Decide what to do with Malik Jackson Jalen Mills
Both Saleh and Bowles led defenses that were stout against the run. Bowles’ Buccaneers finished with the top run defense in the league, allowing 80.6 rushing yards a game. Saleh’s 49ers were finished seventh in that same category (106.4).
Both are qualified to know who would fit their defense with who is currently on their roster, but they will have some interesting decisions to make when it comes to some free agents. However, given the Eagles salary cap issues, it may be tough to sign both.
Defensive tackle Malik Jackson is versatile enough to play defensive tackle and defensive end. According to Pro Football Focus, Jackson was the second-best interior defensive lineman on the team. He was also part of a defensive line that helped the Eagles finish third in the league in sacks (49).
The Eagles also have to decide if they will bring back safety Jalen Mills. The Eagles may need a veteran defensive back to help out what will be a young unit besides cornerback Darius Slay.
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