Meet the Coordinators

Posted: May 11th, 2024 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on Meet the Coordinators

Vic Fangio, Kellen Moore and Michael Clay met with the media a couple of days ago. This was the first chance for us to hear from Fangio and Moore, two coaches who can help get this team back to being a title contender. Clay is the only returning coordinator, but he’ll have an interesting challenge with navigating the new kickoff rules.

The biggest takeaways for me was one word…experience. Fangio opened by talking about how he’s been coaching pro football for 40 years. Sean Desai was 40 years old when he ran the Eagles defense a year ago. That’s an astonishing difference. Kellen Moore talked about how he feels old now that he’s 35. Brian Johnson was 36 a year ago, but he’d only been in the NFL for a couple of years. Moore is entering his seventh season in the league as a coach (he had another six as a player) and this is his third team. Last year’s coordinators were doing as much learning as they were teaching. That won’t be the case this season.

Fangio isn’t a smooth, polished talker. He’s a no-nonsense coach who speaks his mind and isn’t going to BS you. He just feels like a defensive coordinator. Fangio didn’t say anything too much about scheme. He did stress the need to be versatile. Offenses are going to throw different things at a defense over the course of the season. That requires the defense to have different solutions. Fangio said he would throw a lot at his players. That way he can have a lot of different tools at his disposal during the season. He said he didn’t want something new coming their way in the middle of the season. He wanted them to be able to remember what they had practiced back in Training Camp.

There wasn’t a lot of talk about players. Fangio is still learning who his players are and needs to see what they can do. He mentioned Quinyon Mitchell being able to contribute quickly. That sure sounds like they are going to give him every chance to start. Fangio was asked about linebacker and it was interesting that he brought up Zack Baun. I had him pegged more as an OLB, but it sounds like they will give him a chance to play inside.

One of the most encouraging things for me came when Fangio talked about basics. He said he tells his players not to expect him to try to have the perfect call when the defense is struggling. He will go back to basics. That means a focus on the players and execution rather than some magic bullet. I think last year’s defense had problems in part because they kept looking for solutions rather than just focusing on the basics.

Fangio sure sounds like the coach this defense needs to get back to playing good football.

Moore is taking over one of the best offenses in the league so his situation is different. He’s got less to fix, but will still have a lot of pressure on him. Brian Johnson was trying to run Shane Steichen’s offense with Steichen there to help last year. Moore is here to combine his ideas with Nick Sirianni’s to create the best scheme for the 2024 Eagles.

Moore is excited to work with Jalen Hurts, who he mentioned as one of the best QBs in the league. Those two have to be on the same page, in terms of scheme and also approach. Moore brought over Doug Nussmeier to be the QBs coach. They have worked together for six years and have formed a tight bond. Moore and Nussmeier will present a unified message to Hurts. That’s critical. You don’t want coaches pulling the QB in different directions.

One of the reasons that Moore and Nussmeier work well together is that they each focus on different areas. Moore thinks more about scheme and philosophy. Nussmeier focuses on the QB position and all the details that go into that. The two of them complement each other well because they cover different parts of the same vision.

Pre-snap motion came up as a subject. Moore talked about the fact it is used for different reasons. The Eagles were dead last in motion in 2023. That won’t be the case this year. Moore understands it can be a valuable tool. I liked the fact he talked about how motion has to work in concert with the run game, the play-action game and the passing game. You don’t want a guy going in motion for the hell of it. That has to be part of your scheme and everything has to look the same for it to work well.

There were several questions about combining offenses. Moore didn’t seem to think that was a huge deal. A lot of offenses have similarities. You end up choosing the best of multiple playbooks and going with what works for the current personnel. Moore did say that getting the language right was important. You need everyone to be on the same page.

The word that stood out the most was “clean”. Moore wants a clean operation. He wants the QB to have a clean toolbox. He wants the language to be clean so the players can play fast. That sounds like a coach who has been part of different systems and has worked with different players. The most creative play in the world won’t work if it isn’t coached well. Players need a full understanding of the concept and their roles so they can execute at a high level.

Michael Clay got a ton of questions about the new kickoff rule. He sounds excited to see what will happen. We’ll have to wait and see if this benefits or hurts the Eagles. Clay spoke highly of Britain Covey as his punt returner, but said the team needed more depth and got it with Cooper DeJean and Ainias Smith. He mentioned that Will Shipley could be in the mix at KOR.

Clay was asked about guys who could be leaders this year. He mentioned Josh Jobe, Sydney Brown and Ben VanSumeren. I found that interesting. Jobe has an uphill battle to make the team. Brown could be a core STer and good leader. VanSumeren is now part of a crowd at LB, but he showed real promise as a rookie.

I came away feeling good about the coaches and the team. Fangio has learned a lot of lessons over the years. His experience is something this defense needs. Moore has had to combine offenses before so his task in Philly isn’t new to him. I think his ideas and creativity will mesh well with the offense from last year. He will have some new answers that the coaches didn’t last year. Clay has done a good job of developing special teams talent and should have his best group to work with this season.


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