February 19, 2018

Eagles reportedly down to Staley, Groh or no one for vacant offensive coordinator position

Eagles NFL
021918_Staley-Blount_usat Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports

LeGarrette Blount called Eagles running backs coach Duce Staley on of the best coaches he's ever had.

According to multiple reports, the the next offensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles will either be a familiar name or no one at all. 

Head coach Doug Pederson's search for a new top offensive assistant has been narrowed down to two options: running backs coach Duce Staley or wide receivers coach Mike Groh. Both will interview for the position on Monday, according to ESPN's Tim McManus.

However, if Pederson can't decide on one over the other to replace Frank Reich, who took the head coaching job in Indianapolis, he could promote both assistants without officially naming either to the offensive coordinator position, since he already calls the plays for the Birds. 

It was previously reported that Pederson was considering leaving the offensive coordinator position open, perhaps as a way of avoiding slighting either Staley or Groh, both of whom have drawn interest from other teams during their respective OC searches. 

Now, it seems, the Eagles coach wants a right-hand man to help him shoulder the load.

Still, Pederson's list of potential candidates starts and stops with those two internal options, according to McManus, so it seems there's still a chance he opts to sans-coordinator in 2018.

Pederson was considering keeping the offensive coordinator post open after Frank Reich left to become head coach of the Colts, but is now leaning toward having an OC, believing it best to have someone in that position given all of his day-to-day responsibilities. Pederson calls the plays for the Super Bowl champion Eagles.

There are no immediate plans to interview anyone else for the offensive coordinator post outside of Groh and Staley at this time, as Pederson feels comfortable with both candidates.  [espn.com]

Staley, who spent seven years with the team as a player (1997-2003), has been an assistant with the Eagles since the Andy Reid era (2011). He's been the running backs coach since 2013, when Chip Kelly not only decided to keep him on his staff, but to promote him as well. Then, when Kelly was fired after the 2015 season, Staley interviewed for his position, although the team instead opted to go with Pederson, who decided to keep Staley on his staff.

In short, Staley is a highly respected coach, both around the league and in his own locker room. Just look at what running back LeGarrette Blount, a pending free agent, had to say when asked about whether or not he'd like to return to the Eagles next season.

It’s early. So we’ll see. Obviously I like it a lot there. They like me a lot there. It’s a mutual respect and a mutual agreement thing, about how we feel about each other. Obviously, you guys know how I feel about the guys, about the team. I love those guys. I can’t say enough about [running backs coach] Duce [Staley]. Just for the simple fact that how I was coached there. How good he helped me understand things. I feel like Duce is one the best running back coaches — one of the best coaches I’ve ever had in my entire life [period]. Obviously I want to be a part of that for a while, so we’ll see how it goes.  [bleedinggreennation.com]

That's high praise from a guy who previously played under Bill Belichick.

As for Groh, he just finished his first season with the Eagles after coming over from the Chicago Bears. Not only did Groh help lure Alshon Jeffery away from the Bears, but he also played a role in Nelson Agholor's breakout season. Last season, playing on the outside, Agholor struggled so badly – both mentally and physically – that he was a healthy scratch at one point. 

But after working with Groh for an offseason and moving to slot (which allowed the team to trade Jordan Matthews to the Bills for cornerback Ronald Darby), Agholor posted career highs in yards (768), catches (62), yards per catch (12.4) and touchdowns (8).

There was some speculation that Groh, who played quarterback at Virginia, would replace John DeFilippo, now the Vikings' OC, as the Eagles' quarterbacks coach. That job, however, went to Press Taylor, who was the team's assistant QB coach under Flip.

Could that be a sign that Pederson is leaning towards naming Groh his new offensive coordinator instead? Perhaps, but it could just as easily mean that both he and Staley are in line for smaller promotions, and that Pederson is going to try coaching next season without a coordinator to help him run one of the NFL's most productive offenses from 2017. 

With both interviewing on Monday – and no other candidates in sight – we should have our answer soon enough.

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