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Press Taylor: More Than Just The Philly Special

Yes, new Eagles quarterbacks coach Press Taylor recommended the play to the staff that would eventually become the Philly Special.

He thinks the credit he's received for it, however, is "way overblown."

In his previous role as quality control coach, Taylor canvassed film from around the league to study trends and tendencies of other teams. He kept a collection of trick plays on file, just in case. Late in the 2017 season, Frank Reich, then the offensive coordinator, asked for gadget play suggestions and Philly Special was one of them.

"That was fun. That's the benefit of being quality control is I get a chance to watch a lot of tape. I'm watching a lot of random tape throughout the year, trying to get ideas. You see a lot as you're breaking down defenses. Coach Reich came through and wanted ideas from a lot of people," Taylor recalled at the NovaCare Complex on Monday. "I had a folder of ideas. It was one of the plays in there. I give credit to Coach Reich and everybody for being open and creating a collaborative environment and seeking the best ideas. We're not looking for what's us. We're looking for what's best for us, what we can do well, what puts our guys in position to succeed. Coach Reich liked that idea, got it implemented, and then we kind of massaged it throughout the process until it looked pretty good."

Taylor was upstairs in the coaches booth when Nick Foles proposed the idea to head coach Doug Pederson in the Super Bowl. From his vantage point overseeing the field, Taylor said that he got "more and more excited" leading up to the snap seeing how the Patriots' defense responded to the formation.

"It was awesome. I don't think I could have ever imagined it being a fourth-and-2 call in the Super Bowl. I don't think anybody would have," Taylor said. "All of the credit really goes to Nick and Coach Pederson for calling it at that time and the players for executing it for the way they did."

Following the Super Bowl win, quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo was named the offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings opening the door for Taylor. Even though Taylor was a quality control coach, he spent most of his time working with the signal-callers. As a quarterback at Butler Community College in Kansas, Taylor went 17-1 as a starter and led the Grizzlies to back-to-back national titles. He was also a team captain both seasons. He transferred to Marshall where he played for two years before joining Tulsa's coaching staff in 2011. He was hired by the Eagles two years later.

"It's always been a dream of mine, so I think I've always kind of tried to prepare myself for the next step," Taylor said. "I've worked with a lot of great quarterbacks coaches here, offensive coordinators who have experience coaching quarterbacks. I've just tried to be a sponge and soak up as much knowledge from those guys as I could."

Taylor now oversees a room that features a Pro Bowl selection in Carson Wentz, a Super Bowl MVP in Foles, a talented young player in Nate Sudfeld, and a local product in Joe Callahan. It's been a relatively seamless transition because of the relationship Taylor has built over the past few years.

"We're able to bounce ideas off of one another. I like to think I'm a voice of reason with those guys but at the same time I'm a vessel between them and Coach (Mike) Groh or Coach Pederson," Taylor said. "I can take their voice to those guys if they have something or I can trickle down from what coach wants and kind of echo his voice in that room."

Not only did Taylor have an up-close view of Foles' postseason run but he witnessed behind the scenes how Wentz supported his teammates and is now working his way back to full health from the knee injury that ended his campaign.

"We knew the work ethic he has, the character he has, the mental toughness he has," Taylor said. "I think all of that has just really come through in how he's approached this thing and it's not an easy thing to go through to actually sit on the sidelines and watch your team win a Super Bowl, a team that you got in that position. He's a great teammate throughout. Everything we've expected from him - his character, his personality - has really just shone through."

Taylor had a role in one of the most iconic moments in franchise history. Now, he will have the opportunity to further develop the talent that helped execute that play and many more.

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