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June 17, 2018

Press Taylor, just 30, right at home at helm of Eagles quarterbacks

Take a look inside the Eagles quarterbacks room and it might be hard to figure out who the position coach is.

That's because Press Taylor, who took over the this year room for the departed John DeFillippo, turned 30-years-old back in January and looks even younger than that. Taylor is less than one year older than Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles and is younger than nine players projected to make the 53-man roster this season.

But don't let his youth get you worried. Taylor is an up-and-coming star and could have a bright future ahead as an NFL coach.

"Press is a stud. Press is a rising star," former Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich told the Inquirer's Jeff McLane at the NFL Combine. "He’s got a really brilliant mind for the game. And he’s a great worker. Press would always be welcome on my staff anytime."

After playing football at Butler Community College in Kansas, Taylor didn't waste any time getting into coaching. He was Tulsa's QB coach (and graduate assistant) for two seasons before Chip Kelly brought him to Philadelphia in 2013 to work as a quality control coach. He was here when Nick Foles first burst onto the scene with his 27-2 (TD-to-INT) season. He was here when the Birds went all in to move up and take Carson Wentz in 2016. It was Taylor who helped bring the "Philly Special" play into the Philadelphia playbook and thanks to that now legendary play, he was on hand at the NovaCare complex Thursday when the champions got their rings. At 30, he's seen it all.

"My relationship with these guys continues to build," Taylor said last week during minicamp. "It's always fun to sit in and talk football with these guys, bounce ideas off one another. Those guys, if you can come in and help them get better they are open to it. They're awesome, unbelievable guys who do things the right way."

Taylor is of course referring to his top two quarterbacks Wentz and Foles (and perhaps also to Nate Sudfeld and Joe Callahan). To have a QB room with so much potential drama as the Eagles do is one thing — as the Super Bowl MVP could be forced to back up a regular season MVP candidate. To trust someone as inexperienced as Taylor is quite another. The vote of confidence he has already, holding the job he does, is one that puts high expectations on the son of a college legend and brother of another NFL coach.

"I've know Press for a long time," Foles said, "since he was here with Chip. He is a tremendous coach. He takes all the info in, if you watch practice the fundamental drills he always has something new and interesting… I have watched him climb up the ladder and I am really happy to have him as my QB coach."

Taylor's brother Zac is, as it happens, the quarterbacks coach in Los Angeles, responsible for coaching up the only player taken ahead of Wentz in the 2016 NFL Draft, Jared Goff. His dad Sherwood was a defensive captain for the Oklahoma Sooners under Barry Switzer in the 70s.

"My father and brother are 1 and 1-A," Taylor said, telling reporters who he sees as his biggest football influences. "My dad coached at Oklahoma after he played there and then at Kansas state. I learned a lot from my brother too. We have different experiences, different paths. He's come up in the west coast system, here with Doug, it's my first time in it myself.

"I am a product of the guys I've been around. A lot of great quarterback coaches [have been in Philly] like, coach [Pat] Shurmur, Bill Lazer, Bill Musgrave, Ryan Day, working with Frank [Reich], [DeFilippo], and Pederson. It's great to be a fly on the wall and ask those guys a million questions…. I like to think I take the best elements of those guys that fit my personality."

He may not be drawing up plays like Pederson or addressing the team like assistant head coach Duce Staley, but Taylor can make his mark on the Eagles in 2018. All he has to do is get the most out of one of the most talented quarterback rooms in all of football. No big deal.

"It's huge for the rest of the team, the tone our quarterbacks room sets in terms of competing," Taylor said. "Not necessarily with one another but competing as a group to benefit our team and supporting one another. There is no ego with anyone in that room."

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