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Top Choices for Eagles’ Next Defensive Coordinator

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The Philadelphia Eagles coaching staff will look much different next season with the team parting ways with its offensive and defensive coordinators.

Philadelphia has reportedly moved on from offensive coordinator Brian Johnson and both defensive play-callers from this season, Sean Desai and Matt Patricia. Desai was the defensive coordinator and called plays for the first 14 weeks of the season before that role was given to Patricia.

The Eagles’ defense allowed 26.75 points per game with Patricia four games leading the defense to end the regular season, compared to 24.69 in the 13 with Desai calling plays. The Eagles defense was 30th in points allowed per game (25.2).

Given the team’s collapse at the end of the season, Philadelphia moving on from Johnson, Desai and Patricia isn’t a surprise. Now, head coach Nick Sirianni has to get it right with who he hires at both vacancies, or the 2024 season could be his last in Philadelphia.

Here are three defensive coordinator candidates we think the Eagles should consider:

Wink Martindale

USA Today

Dennard Wilson – Baltimore Ravens defensive backs coach

If Dennard Wilson’s name sounds familiar, that’s because he was the Eagles defensive backs coach in 2021 and added pass game coordinator to his role in 2022.

In 2022, Philadelphia was second in yards allowed per game (301.5) and allowed the fewest passing yards per game (179.8). The Eagles defense was also tied for fourth in turnovers (27).

After his two seasons in Philadelphia, Wilson became the Ravens defensive backs coach, and they went on to allow the fewest points per game (16.5) and were tied for the most takeaways in the NFL (31). Ravens safety Geno Stone also had a career year that coincided with the arrival of Wilson, as he was second in the NFL in interceptions with seven.

If Sirianni wants to go with familiarity plus a coach who’s proven he can produce at a high level, Wilson should be atop his list of defensive coordinator candidates.

Bobby Babich – Buffalo Bills linebackers coach

If the Eagles are going to fix the linebacker position, few candidates would be better than Bobby Babich.

Babich has been in Buffalo since 2017 and was the safeties coach until 2022 before he became the linebackers coach for the last two seasons. With Babich coaching the linebacker corps, Terrel Bernard put together a stellar second season this year, leading the defense with 143 tackles and 6.5 sacks.

Babich also played a pivotal role in developing the safeties in Buffalo. Jordan Poyer had five interceptions in his first season with Babich as his position coach and has 18 of his 24 career interceptions with Babich coaching the safeties.

The Bills defense has also been one of the better units consistently in the regular season. They were fourth in points allowed per game (18.3) and sacks (54).

The Eagles’ defense needs vast improvement at all levels, and landing a coach like Babich, who has proven he can develop young players, would go a long way toward solving those issues.

Related: Expectations & Impatience: Did Eagles Botch Process With Desai?

Don “Wink” Martindale – Free agent

If Sirianni wants to go with familiarity and add some fuel to the rivalry with the Giants via a coach who’s been touted as one of the better defensive minds in football, than Wink Martindale could be an interesting choice.

Martindale had a messy breakup with the Giants and their head coach, Brian Daboll before they mutually parted ways. The Giants’ defense was tied with the Ravens for the most turnovers forced last season. While the Giants’ defense wasn’t the best statistically, they were buoyed by an offense that had to start three different quarterbacks, allowed the most sacks in the NFL (85) by a significant margin and scored the third-fewest points per game (15.6).

Wink was also the defensive coordinator in Baltimore from 2018-2021.

Martindale, 60, has also earned praise from opponents when talking about his aggressive scheme and how it’s capable of giving offenses fits on any given night. In his final game coaching the Giants defense, they blitzed quarterback Jalen Hurts at will and shut the starting offense out before Philadelphia put the backups in for the second half of a 27-10 loss to the Giants.

If Sirianni wants to go with a more proven commodity compared to the previous two options, Martindale fits the bill. Rivalry with the Giants aside, Martindale has proven he can give his defense an edge with his aggressive scheme. With Sirianni likely coaching for his job in 2024, Martindale could be who he needs to fix a defense that was one of the worst in football in the second half of last season.

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