It was February 2. The Eagles were about to make the public announcement that they had lured Howard Mudd out of a one-year retirement to be the team's new offensive line coach.
Mudd was talking with head coach Andy Reid and he explained that he needed one hour before the news was announced. Was Mudd getting cold feet? Did he really want to stay in the "leisure world," as Reid called it?
No, he wanted the opportunity to directly tell two of his former players on the Colts about the news instead of having them hear it through the media. Those two players were Pro Bowl center Jeff Saturday and future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning, who were instrumental to the Colts' stunning run of success during Mudd's 12 years in Indianapolis.
To Reid, that gesture showed how much Mudd truly cares about his players and how much they respect him as a coach.
"Howard taught me a lot of things about coaching the offensive line," Reid said. "He's a high-energy, you're talking about an older guy now, high-energy, smart, passionate … players love him. He's demanding. He's able to take the complex and simplify it. His players play for him. He's the complete package." Video Player : Inside The Studio: Andy Reid Part Two
Mudd's job with the Eagles will be to solidify an offensive line that allowed 49 sacks last year. Reid knows he has an all-time great coach in Mudd, who was called by Hall of Fame coach John Madden the best offensive line coach ever.
On the other side of the line of scrimmage, the Eagles defense will be orchestrated by new defensive coordinator Juan Castillo and new defensive line coach Jim Washburn. Reid provided some insight into what the new scheme will look like. The defensive ends will line up in the wide-nine technique (outside shade of the tight end) which was Washburn's specialty in Tennessee, where he spent 12 years before joining the Eagles. This will take advantage of the speed that guys like Trent Cole, Juqua Parker and Brandon Graham possess. Washburn still had very good run defenses despite lining up the ends so wide.
Reid noted that the Eagles fiddled with the wide-nine technique last season. Castillo is incorporating a lot of previously used techniques, fundamentals and terminology into the new scheme and even Reid admits that he's "excited to see the product."
Washburn, like his very close friend Mudd, earned the respect of his players. Current Eagles like Cole, Graham and Darryl Tapp have previously expressed their excitement for the opportunity to work with Washburn.
"Jim Washburn brings a tremendous amount of intensity. In his own little country way, he'll tell you he's not smart; he's brilliant," Reid said. "He has a scheme I've always admired. He teaches technique down to the inch and, again, his players play their tail off. Every snap they're going to bring it. You just look at his track record and what he has produced in the National Football League."
Reid is hoping that track record, along with Mudd's, continues with the Eagles.