Is Josh McDaniels now the Frontrunner for Eagles Job?

The longtime Patriots offensive coordinator has seemingly risen to the top of Philadelphia's list as their next head coach
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Josh McDaniels fever has gripped the Philadelphia area, and it’s beginning to feel like it may very well spike with the New England Patriots’ offensive coordinator possibly landing the Eagles’ head coaching gig.

He left the South Florida compound of owner Jeffrey Lurie on Sunday night without a job offer, and the team is scheduled to interview Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Todd Bowles on Monday, so nothing is set in stone just yet as to who will replace Doug Pederson after he was fired a week ago.

The Eagles have also requested an interview with Kansas City offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.

Assistants whose teams were still playing weren’t supposed to be allowed to interview until their seasons were over, but the NFL has changed that rule midstream.

An NFL spokesman responded to an email request on Monday from SI.com EagleMaven about it and wrote back, “Due to the virtual nature of the interviews, and with club consent, the league made the decision to permit interviews with potential head coaching candidates still in the playoffs.”

So, anything can happen at any time now.

The Texans have arranged an interview with Bieniemy, whose representation put out that it believes the Eagles are going to hire McDaniels.

Also adding weight to the possibility that McDaniels is now the frontrunner is that the Eagles spent most of Sunday interviewing, per a report from NBC Philadelphia reporter John Clark, though they also reportedly spent many hours interviewing both Robert Saleh and Joe Brady, too.

It would seem, based on talk radio chatter and social media platforms, that the hope among the Eagles fan base is the temperature on McDaniels begins to cool, that the Eagles get well and move in another direction, because he brings plenty of baggage, two particular heavy cases included.

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First, there was a videotaping scandal that was a big reason for his dismissal as the Denver Broncos’ head coach before his second season in 2010 had run its course. He was fired after going 11-20 in less than two years on the job, with an 8-8 record in his first year of 2009 and a 3-9 record the following season before he was let go.

McDaniels was 32 when he first got the Denver job. He’s now 44, so maybe he has learned some lessons since then.

Except, years later, and secondly, McDaniels jilted the Indianapolis Colts at the altar in 2018.

He had agreed to take the head coaching job with the Colts prior to the Patriots’ season ending. When Indy announced the decision that McDaniels would be their next head coach on Feb. 6, just four days after the Eagles had beaten New England in Super Bowl 52, McDaniels said he had changed his mind, doing the back-out on the very same day the Colts announced he would be the coach.

The backlash among ex-players and coaches was fierce, and his longtime agent, Bob LaMonte, ended his representation of McDaniels.

The Colts then poached Eagles OC Frank Reich to be their head coach.

That’s some heavyweight baggage right there, but there could be some perceived positives to hiring McDaniels, such as his approach as a no-nonsense coach.

The Eagles want to keep quarterback Carson Wentz but know he needs to be coached hard and without any favoritism.

Pederson’s philosophy of treating players like men, as well as an easy-going attitude with his players, could be one of the reasons for Wentz’s slippage this past season.

McDaniels would certainly change that.

He has worked with Bill Belichick for all but three years since joining Belichick’s staff in 2001 as a personnel assistant with 13 of those years as an offensive coordinator, with one year (2011) as the OC with the then-St. Louis Rams.

That means McDaniels has spent most of his life working with Tom Brady.

Brady probably becomes one of the greatest QBs of all time without McDaniels and some credence to that argument could have come this past season when McDaniels couldn’t get much from an offense led by Cam Newton, so is the Brady connection a plus?

As for Belichick’s coaching tree, it’s had some hits and misses.

Currently, Brian Flores in Miami and Joe Judge in New York appear to have bright futures ane, while Bill O’Brien had some decent moments with the Texans, Matt Patricia in Detroit, and Eric Mangini, with the Jets and Browns, never worked out.

It’s also interesting to note that the Eagles interviewed Patriots inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo for the head coaching position, but now, maybe, Mayo would consider joining McDaniels in Philadelphia as the defensive coordinator. If Belichick wanted to keep Mayo, he could just attach the DC title, since Mayo reportedly does a lot of the defensive coordinating currently.

It is certainly a fluid situation, but there appears to be a growing indication that the Eagles could have their head coach in place by the end of the week, especially now that candidates like Bowles and Bieniemy are allowed to interview even as their respective team’s seasons continue in Championship Weekend.

Ed Kracz is the publisher of EagleMaven. Check out anything you may have missed pertaining to the Eagles by going to www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.