Bruce Feldman, a college football writer, reported this morning that the Eagles are going to be hiring Bill Lazor to be part of the staff. Lazor has been the OC for Virginia for the past 3 years. The Cavs offense was one of the worst in the nation back in 2009. Lazor arrived in 2010 and got them up to 37th in yards. They were 46th the next year. Virginia fell to 62nd this year.
The team struggled to score in each of the 3 years. That may seem like an indictment of Lazor, but he had nothing to work with on offense. He was able to manipulate the offense schematically for much of the time, but in the Red Zone you must have talent and execution. Ask a Penn State fan about the offense this year. Matt McGloin moved the ball between the 20’s, but once in the Red Zone things got more difficult.
Lazor has a strong NFL background. He worked under Mike Holmgren, Joe Gibbs, and Dan Reeves. That is 3 different styles of offense, but 3 very smart coaches. The one thing they all have in common is a commitment to the run game.
We don’t know anything official yet, but the smart money is on Lazor coming to Philly to be the QBs coach. Let’s take a look at the staff and where we think people will end up:
Offensive Coordinator – Pat Shurmur (formerly HC in CLE)
QBs – Bill Lazor (formerly OC at Virginia)
RBs – Duce Staley (holdover)
TEs – Ted Williams (holdover, but was RBs coach)
WRs – Bob Bicknell
OL – Sean Devine
assistant OL – Greg Austin
Off Quality Control – Justin Peelle
* * *
Defensive Coordinator – ???
DL – Jerry Azzinaro
LBs – Rick Minter
DBs – Bill McGovern
assistant DBs – Todd Lyght
Def Quality Control – Mike Dawson
STs – Dave Fipp
assistant STs – Matt Harper
new to Personnel Dept – Josh Gibson
new to staff as player adviser – James Harris
* * * * *
I could be wrong with some of the assignments.
It is possible that Bob Bicknell is going to be the OL coach. His background is on the OL and with TEs. He seems like a more natural OL coach, but was the WRs coach for the Bills in 2012. He is a former TE and does know the passing game.
Devine has been mentioned briefly as a coaching candidate. I’m not fully sure that he’s part of the staff. Big time guess on this.
On defense, it is possible that the Eagles will go with 2 LBs coaches. Minter could coach OLBs since pass rushers are his specialty. McGovern could coach ILBs since he’s mostly worked with 4-3 LBs and is able to teach them how to play a complete game. Having 2 LBs coaches would only make sense if the Eagles do run a 3-4, which seems to be expected.
Obviously the big hole is still at DC.
If this plays out, it is funny that the offensive side of the ball has much more NFL experience. That is Chip Kelly’s domain, but he seems to be acknowledging that he’s got a lot to learn and isn’t afraid to have smart guys around him. Very good sign.
I have no issues with loading up on college guys for the defense, as long as the DC is an NFL guy. You do want some experience over there. Over the years we’ve seen plenty of guys make the transition from college to the NFL on defense and handle it well. Gus Bradley, Mike Tomlin, Mike Trgovac, Raheem Morris, and many others went from coaching in college to the NFL and excelled right away.
The NFL passing game is so much more complex that it is hard for college coaches to make that jump as smoothly on the offensive side of the ball.
* * * * *
Geoff Mosher reported this morning that it is likely the Eagles will add QB Dennis Dixon to the roster when he’s available. Right now he is on the Ravens practice squad. The Eagles can sign him away after the Super Bowl.
I like this move. Dixon isn’t being given the QB job or anything like that. He’s competition for Nick Foles and whoever else is added to the roster. Dixon knows Chip Kelly and his offense. Dixon is a good athlete. He is a good fit. He’ll only make the roster if he earns a spot.
Remember that when Andy Reid came to Philly he brought Doug Pederson with him to help teach his offense. Dixon could possibly help Foles and other members of the offense as they adjust to what Chip wants.
* * * * *
Mr. NFL Gimpy has his Super Bowl preview column up. He’s got some interesting thoughts on the game. I haven’t really thought much about the Super Bowl. I’m more focused on draft study and the Eagles coaching staff.