Looking at the Eagles' coaching staff, it's hard to ignore one of the more prevalent themes. Eight coaches, including head coach Doug Pederson himself, are former NFL players.
Pederson, Frank Reich, Eugene Chung, Phillip Daniels, Tim Hauck, Greg Lewis, Justin Peelle and Duce Staley all played at least eight seasons of football at the highest level. They've gone through the highs and lows that come along with suiting up in an NFL uniform on Sundays and in some ways, that gives them a different perspective on the game.
When Pederson began assembling his staff earlier this year, NFL playing experience was never a prerequisite for his coaching candidates. However, the former quarterback believes having that in common with the team's current players will be an advantage for the Eagles. These coaches not only have the knowledge of the game, but also the first-hand experiences they can pass down.
"I think it helps to have played at this level, being out there when the bullets are flying for real and putting the pads on and being in that locker room," Pederson said. "They understand the dynamic of the locker room. They understand what it means to be a teammate, a leader on the football team.
"I think someone like Duce that has played the running back position at a high level can share his experiences with the young running backs, even with Ryan (Mathews) and Darren (Sproles) and Kenjon (Barner), veteran-type guys. He can still shed some light based on his experiences in the league. I think it helped in Kansas City that I played the position even with Alex (Smith) because I was able to see certain things. Even as a backup role, you're still able to see things through a starter's eye that you can help a guy like Alex."
Several Eagles coaches have NFL roots long before their coaching careers began. Learn about their time as players in the league.
By surrounding himself with people who have NFL playing backgrounds and have also worked in the coaching world, Pederson ensured he filled out his staff with experts on each position.
Reich understands how to handle the pressure of orchestrating one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history, Staley knows what a running back needs to do to help his team achieve the ultimate goal and Lewis can attest to the focus required to catch a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl. These coaches have learned lessons from the big moments in their careers, things they can now use as tools as they instruct the current roster of Eagles.
"It's all part of being a teacher sometimes," Pederson explained, "using your experiences in these current situations to help teach these guys."
For Pederson, the decision to hire coaches with NFL playing backgrounds was something he picked up from the individuals he crossed paths with during his own career. It's no secret the Eagles' head coach learned from some of the best in the business, soaking in as many lessons as possible along the way.
Pederson followed a formula used by Don Shula, Mike Holmgren and Andy Reid – one that has proven its success time and time again. He not only surrounded himself with people who will mentor and lead the players, but individuals who these Eagles can relate to on multiple levels.
"Shula had some former players, Larry Seiple, Joe Greene, guys that were on his staff that played the positions and that he surrounded himself with," Pederson said. "Then I go to Green Bay with Mike Holmgren. Obviously he brought in guys that were great teachers, educators, guys that had played the position. Then you mention Andy. Andy did the same thing. I think just being around all of that helped me find guys that are great teachers, leaders, educators, motivators, loved the game of football."
With his staff in place, Pederson is ready to embark on his first Training Camp as a head coach, where he and all of his coaches can continue to both teach and learn as they look to build something special here in Philadelphia.