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Addressing The Coaching Staff Plan Of Succession

Posted Feb 11, 2018

Having John DeFilippo move on to the Minnesota Vikings as offensive coordinator and Frank Reich leave the Eagles to become the head coach in Indianapolis represents success for the Philadelphia Eagles after their Super Bowl LII victory. Good luck to both men. They are deserving. They were excellent in their two seasons here, DeFilippo as the quarterbacks coach and Reich as offensive coordinator ...

Having John DeFilippo move on to the Minnesota Vikings as offensive coordinator and Frank Reich leave the Eagles to become the head coach in Indianapolis represents success for the Philadelphia Eagles after their Super Bowl LII victory. Good luck to both men. They are deserving. They were excellent in their two seasons here, DeFilippo as the quarterbacks coach and Reich as offensive coordinator.

And now the Eagles have to roll out their plan of succession.

It isn’t like the moves caught the Eagles by surprise. As the Parade Of Champions rolled north on Broad Street on Thursday, head coach Doug Pederson talked about the reality of the moment.

“What you know,” he said, “is that this is the last time this team, as presently constructed, will be together. That makes it special.”

Pederson wasn’t just talking about the roster, to which inevitable change is coming. The new business year opens on March 14 and the Eagles, between now and then, will have some difficult decisions to make. This is an annual rite in the NFL and a Super Bowl triumph makes it no less daunting.

Said Pederson of Reich's departure: "Frank is a tremendous coach and very deserving of this opportunity. He was a valuable member of our staff and we have all benefited from working with him over the last two years. As good as he is as a leader and teacher, he's an even better person. We could not be more excited for him as he takes this next step in his career and we wish him and his family all the best."

Before the roster is revamped, the Eagles have to reconfigure the coaching staff. This is a challenge that we have seen past Eagles coaches face – Andy Reid lost key members of his coaching staff during the glory seasons starting  in 2003 and, truth be told, made some decisions that did not work out so well in the latter half of his tenure.

No question the front office has put together lists of candidates to replace Reich and DeFilippo. Coaching is a profession of relationships, and Pederson has created many in his more than two decades as a player and coach in the league.

There is also the possibility that the Eagles will promote from within a very talented staff that successfully, for example, replaced wide receivers coach Greg Lewis 12 months ago and replaced him with Mike Groh, who did such a magnificent job with the pass catchers in 2017.

Pederson knows what he wants in a coach to join his staff. He wants a teacher, first and foremost. He wants someone who is going to work well in an inclusive environment. He wants a communicator. He wants creativity. He wants someone who is going to be strong with ideas and open to doing things a new way.

He wants winners.

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As it stands now, the defensive side of the coaching staff will be untouched, and that’s a good thing. Coordinator Jim Schwartz has a terrific group around him and plenty to build upon after a season during which the defense came on strong late in the regular season in the win over the Raiders and in the finale against Dallas, and again in the postseason in wins over Atlanta and Minnesota. And while the Super Bowl was a tremendous challenge against quarterback Tom Brady and the Patriots, the defense came up huge in the fourth quarter to force a takeaway and keep New England out of the end zone on the final drive.

The defense, with the expected return of middle linebacker Jordan Hicks, the maturation of end Derek Barnett and the anticipated impact of second-year cornerback Sidney Jones, should be in very good shape in 2018.

And the offense returns all of its starters, along with injured left tackle Jason Peters, running back Darren Sproles and, of course, quarterback Carson Wentz. From a personnel standpoint, the offense should be ready to rock and roll.

Reich was a steadying hand for Wentz and the quarterbacks and had a part, as did DeFilippo in the scheme design. Pederson called the plays and was the major influencer in the days leading up to the game with the design of the X’s and O’s but he’s going to have to add smarts and teamwork to replace his two departing coaches.

Certainly, the Eagles anticipated this. Maybe not so early in Pederson’s tenure, but, hey, that’s part of the price of winning the Super Bowl. The line of succession on the coaching staff is the immediate challenge the Eagles face. We’ll find out soon how the team plans to address the openings on the coaching staff and move on into 2018.

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