According to Howard Eskin of 94WIP, the decision on whom the Philadelphia Eagles will appoint as their next head coach has come down to either New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels or Eagles assistant coach Duce Staley. There’s been a lot of buzz lately surrounding McDaniels. Many do believe he is the frontrunner for the job at the moment. As for Staley, the reports on him have differed. Jeff McLane even stated that he’d be “very surprised if it was Duce.” Eskin’s quotes are below.
“I hear it is most likely going to come down to Josh McDaniels or Duce Staley. The reason that I believe that is what I hear is Howie (Roseman) really likes Josh McDaniels…Jeffrey Lurie not quite at that point and the interview with Duce Staley, from what I was told, really went well. Jeffrey Lurie has also received quite a few text messages from players who are in support of Duce Staley. How much that means, I don’t know, but that will obviously have some input. In Duce’s interview he was very thorough, had some good ideas for coaches, especially offensive and defensive coordinators, both from the pros and from college. He has got guys from what I understand he has talked to if he gets the job. He is prepared. From what I understand that has impressed Jeffrey Lurie.”
I don’t know how legitimate any of these reports about McDaniels and Staley are. With the Eagles interviewing a wide range of coaches, it’s fair to say that anything could still happen. But if they are heavily considering McDaniels and Staley for the job, it’ll be very interesting to see who they decide to go with. You have 2 coaches who bring 2 completely different traits to the table.
Josh McDaniels is a great offensive mind, and that isn’t up for much debate. The scheme and play-calling in New England have been masterful with him at the helm. Yes, I’m aware that Tom Brady was the QB for the Patriots for most of McDaniels’ tenure as OC. But that doesn’t take away the brilliant play designs that McDaniels has been able to create. He knows how to scheme players open and use them to their strengths. Look at how successful the Patriots have been using slot receivers and the TE as evidence. And McDaniels knows when his offense needs to commit to the run. So, when it comes to being an intelligent offensive mind, McDaniels checks that box.
The concerning thing about McDaniels is his leadership skills. With the Denver Broncos back in 2009-2010, which was his first head coaching gig, he was given way too much power. He wasn’t ready for it, and it showed. The stories surrounding his demise in Denver are alarming.
I remember reading this article back in 2015 and hating Josh McDaniels. With news that he is the apparent front runner for the Eagles job, this excerpt is worth revisiting. Granted, this was 11 years ago, so you hope McDaniels has grown up. But this is not good, to say the least. pic.twitter.com/Ij5ESCO09n
— I’m just riffin baby (@GoBirdsGoSixers) January 18, 2021
Then, of course, there is what happened with the Indianapolis Colts in 2018. If you need a reminder, McDaniels accepted the Colts’ offer to be their next head coach. The team sent out an official announcement and everything. Then, for some reason, McDaniels backed out and decided to return to New England. Does that sound like a guy who’s trustworthy enough to lead a locker room?
You can spin that situation in a positive light if you’re the Eagles, though. Yes, McDaniels ultimately backed out of the job. But the fact that the Colts, run by owner Jim Irsay and general manager Chris Ballard who are both well-respected, chose McDaniels as their guy in the first place does speak volumes to what they initially thought of him.
Nevertheless, those are fair and valid concerns we should have about McDaniels. Can he be a great leader?
On the other hand, being a leader is something that no one has concerns about when it comes to Duce Staley.
Numerous players, coaches, and front office people around the league have repeatedly lauded Staley and his leadership abilities. He has a certain commanding presence to him. He naturally draws command of the room. He quickly gains the respect of players who play for him, and they follow and listen to him when he speaks. There’s not much else to be said about Staley as a potential leader of a team. He has what it takes in that department.
Enjoyed listening to @GeoffMosherNFL & @caplannfl showing respect to & advocating for Duce Staley as someone who at the very least deserves an interview for a head coaching job. It’s mind boggling how he hasn’t gotten any consideration from teams around the league. @InsideBirds pic.twitter.com/6RNZMFSheA
— Charles “Chux” Maranan (@ChuxMaranan) January 20, 2021
Duce would be a GREAT HC https://t.co/gi3lKBzc4k
— Brian Westbrook (@36westbrook) January 12, 2021
Oh by the way, for all of those who have the unadulterated gall & sagacity, to scream as it were from the mountain top, that “Duce would be an Awesome HC”… 👊🏽😎 pic.twitter.com/za4cZDBeeR
— Brian Dawkins (@BrianDawkins) January 12, 2021
Brandon Graham add to the support of Duce Staley. It’s pretty clear he is a player-favorite.
— Thomas R. Petersen 🦅 (@thomasrp93) January 16, 2021
The question marks about Staley start to arise when you get into him as a play-designer and play-caller. He’s never been an offensive coordinator, nor has he ever called plays. So, for Jeffrey Lurie, who prioritizes having an elite offense, one can assume that Staley would logically already be behind the 8-ball compared to other candidates.
And it’s not to say that Staley can’t prove to be a really good offensive mind, it’s just that there’s no evidence to show that he already is. The one thing Staley does have going for him in this area is his ability to coach and develop running backs. He’s one of the best RB coaches in the league, if not the best. But is that enough?
Staley would have to be able to put together a great staff around him. And according to Eskin, he provided a really good list of names for his staff to Lurie at his interview. But is it a guarantee that he’ll be able to get the names he listed? That’s something we can’t answer at this time.
Several Eagles players, former and current, have said publicly that Staley should be the Eagles’ next head coach. You can remain skeptical of him if you choose to, but when this many players advocate for him, it’s difficult to ignore. And I’m sure Lurie and Roseman are taking that into account.
The head coaching search continues for the Eagles, and no one knows just how much longer it will go on. But no matter who they decide to hire whether it be McDaniels, Staley, or someone else they’ve interviewed, there are going to be question marks and concerns surrounding them. There’s no home-run candidate who checks all the boxes right now. It’s just a matter of finding a guy whom they believe can check all the boxes going forward.