The Philadelphia Eagles are wasting no time trying to find the successor to Doug Pederson, who the club fired on Monday following a 4-11-1 season in 2020. Already, there are a handful of candidates that Philly has either been linked to or reportedly requested to interview for their now open head coaching vacancy.
According to ESPN's Sal Paolantonio, Philadelphia has requested permission to interview Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowlers. Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith (per ESPN's Dan Graziano) and 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh (per ESPN's Adam Schefter) have also been requested to interview for the job.
What separates Todd Bowles from that trio is that he has NFL head coaching experience, spending four seasons leading the New York Jets. While his 24-40 mark as the head coach of the Jets isn't anything to write home about, Bowles does have a strong football mind, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Tampa Bay allowed the eight-fewest points this season and the sixth-fewest yards. The New Jersey native also has some ties to the area, attending Temple before beginning his playing career in the NFL.
Robert Saleh, meanwhile, has been a hot name this hiring cycle, already interviewing with the Lions, Jaguars, Falcons, and Chargers. He is also reportedly flying in for a second interview with the New York Jets, making him one of the few known finalists for that job, so the Eagles will have some competition if they really want to scoop him up. The 41-year-old has been San Francisco's defensive coordinator since 2017 and is not far removed from helping the 49ers reach the Super Bowl on the back of a sturdy defense last season.
As for Arthur Smith, he may be one of the more fascinating candidates if the club wants to keep Carson Wentz as its franchise quarterback going forward. He has a track record of building quarterbacks back up to an elite level of play and can point to the revitalization of Ryan Tannehill as evidence that he can possibly do the same with Wentz in Philadelphia. For the Titans, this season, Smith's offense averaged 30.7 points per game (fourth-highest in the NFL) and 396.4 yards of offense per game (third-most in the NFL).
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Chiefs quarterbacks coach Mike Kafka, a member of Andy Reid's coaching tree, is a name to keep an eye on as the Eagles continue their search. Along with Kafka, Tim McManus of ESPN reports that some believe Philadelphia will make a run at Oklahoma Sooner head coach Lincoln Riley. The connection there is with quarterback Jalen Hurts, who played under Riley in college. He is also said to have a strong relationship with GM Howie Roseman, per McManus.
One another name to mention is Eagles' current assistant head coach and running backs coach Duce Staley, who owner Jeffrey Lurie noted would be a candidate for the job.