As things currently stand, the Philadelphia Eagles have do not have an offensive coordinator, in this article I am going to offer my thoughts/opinions on the offensive coordinator search and the potential candidates and give a rating on how each would do on the Eagles staff (ratings ranging from 1-4) *1- Lowest, 4- Highest*
The position was previously held by Mike Groh (who has reportedly accepted a job with the Indianapolis Colts). This position on the staff is a pretty special one. Special in the sense that, whoever gets this job won’t be doing the usual offensive coordinator activities (playcalling), its basically a glorified passing coordinator job with more money. The candidates the Eagles have been reported to have interest in are:
- Jim Caldwell: A two time Superbowl winning coach (as an assistant with the Colts and Ravens), while with the Colts as an assistant after the 2009 season, Caldwell was elevated to head coach after Tony Dungy retired. He won 2 division titles and held an overall win-loss record of 26-22, he led the team to a Superbowl appearance in his first year as head coach in 2010, and was fired at the end of the 2012 campaign after a 2-14 season. He was then hired as the Ravens QB coach in the 2012 off-season, Caldwell is credited with maximizing and greatly improving the play of Joe Flacco, which ultimately led to a Superbowl win in 2012. Caldwell was then promoted to the Ravens offensive coordinator and the offense then began to struggle. The Ravens offense under Caldwell ranked 29th in total offense (30th rushing and 18th passing). Many have said this can be attributed to injuries on the Ravens roster. Caldwell was then hired as the Detroit Lions Head Coach in 2014. Here, he is largely credited with improving the play of Matt Stafford, who averaged 27 touchdowns and over 4,100 yards with an average QB rating of 93.8 in Caldwell’s four seasons. Caldwell was most recently the assistant head coach of the Miami Dolphins. From doing research, I can conclude that Caldwell would no doubt, be great for Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz’s development but the main concern comes when you focus on the rest of the offense and the tasks he’d be given (gameplanning and creativity with play design). I think Caldwell would be a very safe hire as the Offensive Coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles, but if Doug Pederson was to bring Caldwell onto the staff, it should be in an offensive assistant/senior offensive advisor role. Verdict: 3
- Mike McDaniel: The 36 year old NFC Champion, San Francisco 49ers run game coordinator, Mike McDaniel has worked on a number of staffs in the NFL, the Denver Broncos coaching staff as an intern in 2005, the Houston Texans staff as an offensive assistant in 2006, Washington as offensive assistant and wide receivers coach from 2011-2013, the Cleveland Browns as the teams wide receivers coach in 2014, the Atlanta Falcons again as a wide receivers coach in 2014, and finally/currently, the San Francisco 49ers, where he started as an offensive assistant and was promoted this past offseason to running game coordinator. McDaniel has helped to engineer the NFL’s number one rushing attack, which has led the Niners to the Superbowl. The 49ers rushing attack has been absolutely lethal this postseason, with Tevin Coleman putting up 105 yards and 2 Touchdowns in the divisional round against the Vikings and Raheem Mostert rushing for a whopping TWO HUNDRED TWENTY YARDS AND FOUR TOUCHDOWNS in the NFC Championship. McDaniel is regarded as one of the more complex and creative minds across the NFL. With the Eagles, McDaniel would be working with the young and talented Miles Sanders, Quarterback Carson Wentz and the current run game coordinator, Jeff Stoutland, a pairing which I think would design some of the most creative blocking schemes and complex run designs in the league. It has been said by some that Kyle Shanahan would block any promotion that doesn’t include play-calling duties, however last offseason both passing game coordinator, Mike LaFleur and McDaniel signed one year extensions, therefore McDaniel’s contract is up after this year’s Superbowl if my thinking is correct. Verdict: 4
- I was going to include Mike LaFleur, but while I was typing this up, a report came out that said he’s signed an extension.
- Duce Staley: Former Eagles running back and current running backs and assistant head coach Duce Staley has been regarded the main candidate to become the OC if the Eagles decide to promote from within. The 44 year old has been the Eagles running backs coach since 2013. Staley has worked with running backs, LeSean McCoy (Franchise leading rusher, breaking the record in 2014 with Staley as the RB coach), Demarco Murray, Ryan Mathews, Jay Ajayi, Legarrette Blount, Jordan Howard, and Miles Sanders. Staley is credited with being an innovative and motivating coach for his room. Staley along with Frank Reich engineered the NFL’s number 3 rushing attack in 2017 which help lead the Eagles to a Superbowl win. Staley is most recently credited with developing Miles Sanders over the stretch of this past season. Sanders had a historical season rushing for 818 yards, catching over 500 yards receiving and racking up 1,641 all purpose yards. Sanders led all rookies in scrimmage yards with 1,327 and is one of seven rookies in NFL history to rush for over 800 yards rushing and over 500 yards receiving. Staley also helped former practice squad member Boston Scott get acclimated and produce over that same stretch run. Staley is admired for his innovative and cerebral like approach to coaching. The thing that gives me cause to pause when it comes to Staley is, he was on the coaching staff that produced an anemic like offense week in and week out up until the 4 game end stretch of the season and he also is the assistant head coach which means he was in on and helped with the offensive game planning meetings. Staley being the OC wouldn’t necessarily be a bad move, it just wouldn’t move the needle much, considering he was on the staff. Verdict: 2(.5)
- Josh McCown: It was recently reported by Jeff McClane that the Eagles have interest in 40-year old backup Quarterback Josh McCown. As a coach McCown would be revered for his ability to relate to players and his extensive 17-year NFL mind would be an asset for this staff. Playing for nine teams, McCown has been around the block and picked up knowledge from great offensive minds such as Lane Kiffin, Dan Henning, Mike Martz, John Defilippo, Kevin O’Connell, and John Morton. It has been reported that Doug Pederson went to McCown for opinions and thoughts throughout this past season. Players praised McCown for his leadership abilities and mentor-ship abilities. McCown knows the playbook, in and out, he knows what Doug wants to do offensively and is well liked within the Novacare complex. The only downside to McCown would be his lack of experience as a coach, which is virtually none at the NFL level (McCown coaches his son’s high-school team). In my opinion, McCown would be better suited for an offensive assistant role before being thrust into a OC role right away. Not a knock to him, but experience as a coach matters. Verdict: 2
This coaching search has been basically, radio silent outside of one or two leaks, James Urban and Graham Harrell (both declined and stayed with their current jobs). The position on the staff isn’t the regular offensive coordinator job from the standpoint of it being without playcalling, but it offers the opportunity to work with a top NFL organization, a young and talented running back, in Miles Sanders, a quarterback with top 5 potential, in Carson Wentz and a top five head coach, in Doug Pederson. Of the named candidates, the best man for the job in my opinion, is Mike McDaniel
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