I’ve gotten a lot of questions in recent posts about whether the Eagles will lose any assistant coaches this offseason or whether they will make any additions to the staff.
I covered the first question in a column for BGN. I don’t see the Eagles losing anyone this offseason. Chip Kelly hired a bunch of grinder types that aren’t “sexy” coaching candidates for other teams. There are no Jon Grudens on this staff.
I also think a major factor is that other teams will see Chip Kelly as the key person. Just how valuable are the other coaches? Jeff Stoutland is a good OL coach. Bob Bicknell is a good WRs coach. And so on. But there are plenty of good OL and WR coaches in the NFL. Those guys aren’t special. Chip Kelly is the special coach. You need him to really get the Kelly magic. If he had a long time lieutenant, you could go for that guy, but there isn’t one who really fits the bill. Jerry Azzinaro is the closest thing to a right hand man and he’s a DL coach. That doesn’t have the same value as a QB coach or coordinator.
As to the other question, will the Eagles look to add anyone, I doubt it. There are going to be some good assistants on the street. Would the Eagles want to go for Ray Horton to join the defensive staff? Would they have interest in Wade Phillips? Vance Joseph is a terrific assistant for the Texans. The Vikings have several good defensive coaches – Leslie Frazier, Mike Singletary, and Alan Williams. The Eagles would have lots of potential targets if they wanted to add someone.
I tend to think the Eagles will stand pat with their guys. Wade Phillips is the one coach who I’d really be interested in, but he might get the HC job in Houston or the new coach may keep him around. Phillips has worked with Bill Davis before so they could work something out.
My guess is that Kelly likes the vibe on the team and the staff. He’s not going to shake that up unless he feels it is something that is just too good to pass up. As we saw late in Andy Reid’s tenure, you need chemistry on a coaching staff. Building an all-star staff doesn’t work in and of itself. The guys have to get along. The personalities have to mesh well.
It does feel really good to be having a discussion like this compared to the one we had a year ago. We didn’t know who the coach would be. We didn’t know what kind of staff the new guy would hire. We lived and died with every rumor that Schefter, Glazer and Mort reported.
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Sean McDermott is going to interview for the Skins job. Todd Bowles may get some interviews after his great year with the Cards. Why didn’t things work out for them in Philly?
They have 2 very different situations. McDermott has always been a smart, talented coach. He is able to come up with creative gameplans. The biggest problem he had in Philly was personality. Reid referenced the difficulty in succeeding Jim Johnson. McDermott had to coach in his shadow. My guess is that McDermott decided to be forceful with those around him to not be seen as JJ-Lite. He wanted to let people know he was to be taken seriously. This wasn’t received well by anyone around him.
Reid worked hard to make sure McDermott had somewhere to go. He still very much believed in the young coach. Reid knew that McDermott just needed a different situation. My guess is that the two of them have a solid friendship even after the firing. I don’t know that for a fact.
McDermott is in a much better place in Carolina. He’s working with Ron Rivera, a head coach with a defensive background. McDermott runs the defense, but has input from Rivera, a very successful DC in his own right. McDermott was unknown to those players. He didn’t bring any baggage. He didn’t have anyone’s shadow to deal with. He could just be himself. I’m happy for his success.
As for Bowles, he was given an impossible set of circumstances last October. He took over a defense midseason. He was running a scheme that was new to him and one that he didn’t believe in. He had players in DRC and Nnamdi that gave inconsistent effort, to put it mildly. And Bowles had to deal with Jim Washburn being an a-hole to everyone who wasn’t a defensive lineman.
The results made Bowles look awful, but no one who really studied that situation could hold him accountable. Essentially Bowles played the role of Sandra Bullock in Speed. He happened to step onto the wrong bus on the wrong day. And then he ended up in the driver’s seat as all hell broke loose.
I had a high opinion of Bowles when the Eagles hired him and when they fired him. He did the best he could with a disaster. This year he inherited good players and a scheme he liked. The results were simply outstanding. Good for him.
I hope both McDermott and Bowles get to be head coaches in the future.
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Here is a good piece from Jimmy Bama on how Ron Jaworski and Cris Collinsworth differ in their opinion of some of Foles habits under pressure. There are also comments from Jaws about how the weather will affect Drew Brees on Saturday night.