Coaching Stuff

Posted: December 31st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 44 Comments »

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.

* * * * *

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.

* * * * *

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.

Good stuff.


44 Comments on “Coaching Stuff”

  1. 1 Jernst said at 4:26 PM on December 31st, 2013:

    I remember being so excited about the all-star cast of coaches and players we assembled that year…man, though…looking back on it, it’s surprising we all didn’t see what a disaster that was going to become. Hind sight being 20/20 and all, it was a good lesson to learn about the importance of continuity and good chemistry in building a successful team. All forces must be pulling in the same direction to achieve any goal in the NFL. I can’t really think of any team in history that was dysfunctional and unhappy and still won it all based on talent alone.

  2. 2 RIP Worms said at 4:34 PM on December 31st, 2013:

    “I can’t really think of any team in history that was dysfunctional and unhappy and still won it all based on talent alone.” What about Barry Switzer’s Dallas teams?

    I honestly don’t remember it that well, but I’ve always had this perception that the best you could say about him is that he didn’t screw up what he inherited too quickly.

  3. 3 ICDogg said at 5:47 PM on December 31st, 2013:

    I don’t think that was dysfunctional, though. He didn’t add much value to the team, but he didn’t get in the way either.

  4. 4 Mitchell said at 11:16 PM on December 31st, 2013:

    worms was a great game.

  5. 5 Gary said at 4:38 PM on December 31st, 2013:

    Ditka and Buddy Ryan hated each other and still had success together. That’s all that comes to mind for me.

  6. 6 TommyLawlor said at 6:06 PM on December 31st, 2013:


  7. 7 BC1968 said at 9:28 PM on December 31st, 2013:

    If you think about it, those two actually really needed each other and didn’t even know it. Ditka’s team slowly slid after Buddy left, Ditka was putrid in New Orleans. Buddy assembled a great defense with an all star quarterback here, but really had no business coaching a team as a whole, as much as I loved him here. He didn’t care much about assembling an o-line and he thought letting his qb going out and making a few great plays a game would be good enough.

  8. 8 Tev Yoblick said at 5:42 PM on December 31st, 2013:

    It’s interesting that you talked about the problems over the past few years and only talked about the Defensive side of the ball. I totally agree with what you said above about Sean and Todd. Odd that you did not mention Juan……he seems to have done pretty well……
    However, my feeling is that the real problems (at least on the 1st half of the year were on the Offensive side of the ball. Defense was holding teams but the Offense was not producing and turnovers like crazy. I’d like to hear your thoughts on how Marty is doing up in New Jersey……..comparatively…..

  9. 9 TommyLawlor said at 5:58 PM on December 31st, 2013:

    The offense was a mess at times, but very good at others. The OL was devastated by injuries last year, which really made Vick a mess at QB.

    Andy and Marty brought out the worst in each other as coaches, in terms of playcalling. They each need another voice to push them to run the ball. Together, they’re dangerous.

    And I can’t give Marty a good evaluation. He was coaching a rookie QB on an offense that lacked blockers and playmakers. The leading pass catchers were Jeremy Kerley, David Nelson, Kellen Winslow Jr, and Jeff Cumberland. How many fans know who those guys are?

    The Jets were 29th in points scored, but that sounds about right when you consider the talent they had on the field.

    As for Juan…he’s always been a good OL coach. He’s just not meant to be a DC.

  10. 10 Ark87 said at 9:40 AM on January 1st, 2014:

    I wish I didn’t recognize all of those Jets receivers, room-mate is a Jets fans, watched waaaay too many Jets games, talk about some horrid football (but really nice D most of the times).

  11. 11 Donald Kalinowski said at 2:37 PM on January 1st, 2014:

    I thought Juan did a solid job as DC in 2012. He lacked consistency in the game but I wonder how much of that had to do with the wide-9. If you run the same exact defensive line formation on every play opposing offenses are going to adjust and get comfortable. It probably explains why there were so many defensive collapses last year.

    I wouldn’t hire Castillo as a DC if I were an NFL GM. But I would consider Castillo as DC if I was running a college program.

  12. 12 Media Mike said at 6:01 PM on December 31st, 2013:

    This Sean McDermott?

    Pardon me while I puke. All-time bad red zone D. Crying about being 12th overall in D when asked about why he did such a horrible job coaching in the red zone. Making Brandon Graham cover passes more than he rushed him. The guy working off of Ron Rivera’s system and a few great drafts in a row in Carolina.

    I hope the Skins hire this dolt.

  13. 13 teltschikfakeout88 said at 7:44 PM on December 31st, 2013:

    This post is funny…..

  14. 14 Joe Minx said at 9:04 PM on December 31st, 2013:

    He’s changed a lot since then. Pretty sure if they hire him & get some better players on their D you’ll be sorry you said that.

  15. 15 @FlyEaglesNation said at 1:32 PM on January 1st, 2014:

    I don’t know I liked him. I always thought fans thought he sucked just because they were used to JJ. Same reasons Penn State fans are mad at O’Brien for leaving early.

    Plus I really don’t think he had enough talent.

  16. 16 Media Mike said at 6:13 PM on December 31st, 2013:

    I really love our position coaches and one of the downfalls of Reid was not being able to replace a lot of our coaching talent as it left. I’m hoping we can keep this crew together for long enough to make another extended run at dominating this division for another decade.

    The Stoutland hire was my favorite.

  17. 17 SteveH said at 6:59 PM on December 31st, 2013:

    Nice to see Jaws calling Collinsworth on the carpet for that nonsense. That was one of the worst broadcasts I’ve had the pleasure of listening to for quite a while.

  18. 18 jshort said at 7:24 PM on December 31st, 2013:

    I keep the tv volume turned off and listen to Merrill and Mike on the radio. The only problem I have is the radio broadcast is about 8 sec ahead of direct tv. So I know what happened before I see it. This wasn’t bad when AR was the coach. With Chip it can really get your head spinning, constant action. Still would rather put up with that than listen to those guys.

  19. 19 BC1968 said at 9:26 PM on December 31st, 2013:

    You have to listen to the AM broadcast on WIP to avoid the delay.

  20. 20 jshort said at 9:51 PM on December 31st, 2013:

    i’m not in Philly…..I’ll check the AM stations, do get the FM feed.

  21. 21 Scott J said at 7:11 PM on December 31st, 2013:

    I wonder how many kids who got a new puppy for Christmas named him Chipper?

  22. 22 mtn_green said at 7:15 PM on December 31st, 2013:

    I’d like to see the coaching staff stay together for a couple years. Shurmur is the obvious candidate to get interviews once these lesser teams get rejected bybthe better candidates.

    The teams that fired their HC are all dumpster fires, bad gm bad ownership, except Vikings maybe ownership ok but gm is lacking.

  23. 23 Joe Minx said at 9:01 PM on December 31st, 2013:

    Re: McDermott’s time here

    I also recall hearing from somewhere (can’t remember if it was players or McD himself) that his scheming was too complex, perhaps in an effort to live up to JJ’s legendary blitz packages. I remember the last game of that season against Dallas he finally dialed it back a bit & stayed simple & the defense performed very well, albeit against Stephen McGee & some other backups. So he’s probably learned a lot since then in terms of what works best & what’s better left out.

    Also the talent gap between that Eagles D & the one now in Carolina is fairly sizable to say the least.

  24. 24 Ark87 said at 9:33 AM on January 1st, 2014:

    The funny thing is that at that time, the Hottest new Super bowl winning formula was having a dominant offense, with a rather mediocre defense that really only did one thing well, create turnovers, which complements the strength of your football team, the offense. Turnovers were something he emphasized, and to his credit, his unit generated lots of them. So his scheme was definitely hard to execute, but also hard to read. I think if everybody truly bought in, and gave him some time to bring up some players in his scheme, he would have eventually done very well for us.

  25. 25 OregonDucker said at 9:40 PM on December 31st, 2013:

    Yep, Chip hires “grinder types”, not sexy at all. You know the kind of guys that know how the position should be played, and have the ability to coach – sometimes in innovative, but un-sexy ways. Maybe like hitting the sleds each and every practice. OR playing at a fast tempo all the time, every single day. The types that drive fundamentals even to all Pros. You know the boring kinda coaches. 🙂

  26. 26 A_T_G said at 11:11 PM on December 31st, 2013:

    Congrats to BO’B, too bad for PSU.

  27. 27 ACViking said at 11:29 PM on December 31st, 2013:


    What do you think of Schiano at PSU?

  28. 28 RobNE said at 7:37 AM on January 1st, 2014:

    Why Psu so interested? From what I have read about his time at Tampa he seems petty. I wouldn’t be interested.

  29. 29 A Roy said at 10:03 AM on January 1st, 2014:

    Davey Jones is touting him.

  30. 30 ACViking said at 12:49 PM on January 1st, 2014:


    Schiano’s apparently a former PSU assistant coach — and was interviewed (I think) before O’Brien’s hiring.

  31. 31 cliff henny said at 8:53 AM on January 1st, 2014:

    heard a great case for james franklin, vandy’s coach. has great ties to psu’s base recruiting area. other was al golden.

  32. 32 A Roy said at 10:07 AM on January 1st, 2014:

    Golden would be my choice. He knows PSU, the East and has done a good job in difficult circumstances coaching at Temple. Hasn’t set the world on fire at Miami, but would be a good fit.

  33. 33 cliff henny said at 1:59 PM on January 1st, 2014:

    miami was a mess, and board has been battling him since day 1, and ncaa’s witchhunt. 3rd guy who i’d like, charlie strong out of l’ville. guy was cherry picking florida. not sure psu has to worry much about a good coach recruiting in east, have 50 yrs worth of ties. it’s nice to get a coach that can pull those 5 stars out of south…looking right at you hackenburg

  34. 34 Insomniac said at 12:37 AM on January 1st, 2014:

    Happy New Years Tommy. Here’s to another year of good Eagles football and more hack articles from that Kempski guy.

  35. 35 dislikedisqus said at 12:42 AM on January 1st, 2014:

    Not that I am carrying a brief for him but it was curious you didn’t mention Shurmur at all. He is the one guy with Hc experience on the staff.

  36. 36 dislikedisqus said at 12:43 AM on January 1st, 2014:

    And Happy New Year too!

  37. 37 BlindChow said at 3:24 AM on January 1st, 2014:

    He failed in Cleveland. No one will be interested in him after a single year running a scheme where Kelly is considered the mastermind.

  38. 38 RobNE said at 8:12 AM on January 1st, 2014:

    Also why would any team look at josh mcdaniels?

  39. 39 Ark87 said at 9:37 AM on January 1st, 2014:

    You just turned speed into a working metaphor for football…you are a god!

  40. 40 SteveH said at 10:32 AM on January 1st, 2014:

    Happy New Years everyone, my little entourage of attendees to the Saints game has grown to 4, so the Iggles Blitz contingent will be well represented!

  41. 41 Scott J said at 10:35 AM on January 1st, 2014:

    Didn’t the Eagles hold on to Bowles after they released most of the coaching staff? I think he’s one of those valuable guys that plays the role of the good soldier and has the respect of all the players. It’s a shame he left.

  42. 42 GermanEagle said at 11:14 AM on January 1st, 2014:

    Ein Frohes Neues Jahr liebe Eagles Freunde!

  43. 43 jshort said at 12:45 PM on January 1st, 2014:

    Glückliches und gesundes Neujahr zu Ihnen und allen unseren deutschen Anhängern!

  44. 44 ztom6 said at 6:55 PM on January 1st, 2014:

    I can see college teams being very interested in Lazor. He’d also be a prime candidate for open OC positions in the NFL. Foles’ development this year did not go unnoticed.