7 candidates to replace Phillip Daniels as Eagles defensive line coach

7 candidates to replace Phillip Daniels as Eagles defensive line coach

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. 

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Watch Eagles cheerleader Kyle Tanguay crush his American Idol audition

Watch Eagles cheerleader Kyle Tanguay crush his American Idol audition

Rookie Eagles cheerleader Kyle Tanguay captured Philly fans' collective hearts this past season with his energy and excitement at the Linc. It was an instant connection. 

Over the weekend, he did the same thing with American Idol's judges.

Tanguay, 21, zipped down to Washington, D.C., to audition for the rebooted singing competition after his first year with the Birds' cheerleading squad, looking to broaden his performance horizons after the warm reception he received in 2019.

The Eagles' cheerleading squad showed out in a big way for Tanguay's audition in front of Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan, including performing a quick custom "Kyle" cheer after flooding the audition room.

Ultimately, though, Tanguay wasn't going to get a free trip through the contest if he couldn't sing.

His clip on Sunday night's show showed: he can really, really sing.

That's a no-joke performance from someone who had never sung in public.

Tanguay talked with NBC Sports Philadelphia's Brooke Destra earlier this month about the audition:

It was the most craziest experience ever and it really allowed me to remind myself that it’s okay to step outside your comfort zone. The experience on the show was so awesome, so exciting and it’s something that I cannot wait for the world to see.

Tanguay keeps the hits coming. Auditions continue through mid-March, and then we head to Hollywood, where Tanguay will probably win even more fans.

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Doug Pederson explains why he no longer has an offensive coordinator

Doug Pederson explains why he no longer has an offensive coordinator

As Doug Pederson enters Year 5 as Eagles head coach, there’s a notable change to the structure of his coaching staff. 

He doesn’t have an offensive coordinator. And now we have a reason why. 

Earlier this offseason, Pederson fired offensive coordinator Mike Groh a day after he said Groh was safe and then shook up the structure of his coaching staff, electing to move forward sans an official OC. 

As the NFL world gets ready to take over Indianapolis this week for the annual NFL Scouting Combine, Pederson spoke the the Eagles Insider Podcast and finally explained his decision. 

It’s a great question because it’s a question I have really pondered about for quite some time, really for many years. You look around the league and there are teams who don’t have coordinators. There are teams that have coordinators. I’ve had a coordinator by title. I look at the structure of what we’re doing offensively and how collaborative we put our game plans together. It’s like players; it’s not about one guy. Same way on the coaching staff. It’s not about one coach who has to do everything. It’s a collaborative effort. 

“Bottom line, I’m the one calling plays on game day. So in some facets, you could consider me the offensive coordinator as well. The more I thought about it, I’m like, just again, I’m really excited about Press (Taylor). I think he’s got a bright future. Giving him the title of passing game coordinator, really again, gives him the opportunity to give more thought and input on our game plans. Having Rich (Scangarello) being as a senior offensive assistant, he can assist and help sort of bridge the gap with [Jeff Stoutland] and Press and putting all the pieces together, along with myself and Justin Peele and Duce Staley. Just bringing our game plans together. That’s what I want. That’s my vision for this season and really having a seamless transition that way. 

“When we win, we win as a team. Again, it’s not about one guy getting the credit. I feel like this is the best structure for us, for me as the play caller. Because there’s times when I get pulled in a lot of different directions and I gotta lean on Press. And I’m going to have to lean on Rich and Jeff Stoutland and the guys to really pull the game plans together and really give me the information that I need as we prepare for games.” 

While Pederson — and really everyone inside the NovaCare Complex — has always stressed a collaborative effort in all football manners, he didn’t really give any specifics about how the workload will be split and how Groh’s former responsibilities will be divided up in the new power structure. 

Hopefully, we’ll get some of those answers in Indianapolis this week. 

As a reminder, he’s an updated look at the new structure of the Eagles’ offensive coaching staff. 

Head coach/play caller: Doug Pederson

Quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator: Press Taylor 

Offensive line coach/run game coordinator: Jeff Stoutland 

Senior offensive assistant: Rich Scangarello 

Running backs coach/assistant head coach: Duce Staley 

Tight ends coach: Justin Peele 

Wide receivers coach: Aaron Moorehead 

Pass game analyst: Andrew Breiner 

It’s not unheard of for an NFL coach with a clear focus on one side of the ball — like Pederson on offense — to not have an official coordinator. But this is just the first time he has elected to have this setup. 

The optics weren’t great a month and a half ago when Pederson gave Groh a vote of confidence only to fire him a day later, but on the podcast claimed he was still going through his evaluation process at the time. 

At the time, one obvious theory was that Pederson wanted to keep Groh and the front office overruled him. But that’s a theory that has been shot down multiple times by the Eagles. And Pederson on this podcast said that he listened to input from his bosses but, ultimately, the coaching staff is up to him. 

“The coaching staff is my responsibility,” he said. “I’m the one that hires them and I’m obviously the one that has to do the dirty work and sometimes let coaches go. That’s my responsibility.”

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