The Eagles on Friday moved on from defensive line coach Phillip Daniels, so they now have four open coaching positions: OC, WR, DB, DL.
It also means that in 2020 they will have their third defensive line coach in three years.
Here are several possible candidates who could fill the DL coach position:
Brentson Buckner: Buckner will be a popular name thrown out there. Despite the Raiders’ improving from 13 sacks to 32 in Buckner’s one year on Jon Gruden’s staff, he was let go so they could bring in Rod Marinelli. That means the 48-year-old Buckner is available. A longtime player in the NFL, Buckner was the Cardinals’ DL coach in 2013-17 and held the same position with the Bucs in 2018.
Brian Fleury: A lot of these coaching hires come down to connections, so how’s this one: Fleury is a defensive quality control coach in San Francisco, where the 49ers have used plenty of wide-9 this year under DL coach Kris Kocurek. Kocurek was Jim Schwartz’s DL coach in Detroit. And guess where Fleury worked before this season? With the Miami Dolphins under then-DC Matt Burke, who is on the Eagles’ staff and has a long-standing relationship with Schwartz. In Miami, Fleury was a football research analyst but helped on the defensive side of the ball, including on the DL.
Pepper Johnson: Because Schwartz prefers the wide-9, getting a DL coach who knows how to run it is pretty important. Familiarity at this position might be more important than the other defensive coaching positions. Johnson was his DL coach in Buffalo in 2014. The problem is that Johnson is the DC for the Los Angeles Wildcats of the XFL. Would he be able to leave that league before it even starts?
Nathan Ollie: We have to mention the Eagles’ backup DL coach. Ollie came to the Eagles in 2019 to replace Daniels as the assistant DL coach after Daniels was promoted. The interesting thing about Ollie is that he was a grad assistant at Tennessee when Derek Barnett was there. Getting the most out of a former first-round pick should be important. Ollie was the DL coach at Eastern Kentucky in 2018 before coming to Philly. Maybe the Eagles always liked him for this job but wanted to give him a year to prepare.
Matt Burke: Burke was on the Eagles’ staff as a defensive special assistant in 2019. He has a long history with Schwartz and was the Dolphins DC for two seasons.
Ken Flajole: Right now, Flajole is the Eagles’ linebackers coach but he’s been a DC and a DBs coach before. If the Eagles want to get Burke into the linebackers coach role and don’t want to lose Flajole, they could reshuffle some of these jobs.
Larry Johnson: I don’t think this would happen, but I want to throw his name out there. Johnson is Ohio State’s defensive line coach and associate head coach. Johnson has obviously produced some great pass rushers over the last few years. He was Penn State’s DL coach from 2000-13 before getting to Ohio State in 2014. He has a long resume but has never coached in the NFL. Johnson is up there in age but maybe he wants to get to the NFL before he steps away from coaching.