Eagles Interviewed Jim Leonhard For DC Vacancy

FEBRUARY 22: Leonhard will not move forward in the Eagles’ interview process. Both sides decided this would not be a good fit, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. The former Wisconsin DC and interim head coach planned to undergo hip surgery and skip this season, per Fowler, but the Eagles job opening changed his plans. After discussion, however, the Eagles will choose another candidate.

FEBRUARY 20: A few veteran assistants have already been connected to the defensive coordinator vacancy in Philadelphia. Their list of candidates to replace Jonathan Gannon has grown once again, with another reported interview having taken place.

Philadelphia met with Jim Leonhard to discuss their DC position, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (Twitter link). The 40-year-old has been mentioned as a potential coordinator hire at the NFL level before, while establishing himself as a candidate for an NFL posting during his time at Wisconsin. He has been with the Badgers since 2016, leading the team’s defense for the past six years and taking over as interim head coach this past campaign.

Leonhard was offered the Packers’ DC job in 2021, but turned it down. That illustrated how he was on the radar for a jump to the pro level, something which was repeated when he was mentioned as a candidate in Baltimore for their defensive coordinator vacancy last offseason. Given his track record at Wisconsin, the 10-year NFL player is likely to land an NFL gig soon, and the Eagles would certainly represent a desirable opening.

Philadelphia’s defense played a large role in their 2022 success under Gannon. The unit racked up a remarkable 70 sacks and excelled defending the pass. That made Gannon a late finalist for the HC position in Arizona, one which he accepted not long after the Super Bowl. His absence has left the NFC champions in need of a replacement late into the 2023 cycle.

One of their targets is ex-Cardinals DC Vance Joseph. Before the 50-year-old had been let out of his Arizona contract, it was reported that the Eagles would request an interview with him. Providing an update on that front, Troy Renck of Denver7 tweets that Joseph will interview Tuesday and Wednesday with the Eagles. He remains in the running for the DC position in Denver as well, so the outcome of those meetings will be important for both teams.

Here is how the Eagles’ DC search is shaping up:

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