The Philadelphia Eagles have parted ways with Doug Pederson and are searching for a new head coach to lead their football team. The move came as a surprise to many, but not all. Some agree with the move (myself included), but others don’t. But I’m not here to talk about whether Pederson should still be here or not, and I’m not here to talk about Howie Roseman and Jeffrey Lurie being the bigger problem. Those are other topics for another day. The fact remains that this team needs a new head coach, and there’s an opportunity here for the organization to bring in someone who can elevate the roster in ways Pederson didn’t.
There have already been names mentioned that media and fans have on their wish list. Lincoln Riley, Robert Saleh, Duce Staley, Arthur Smith, Eric Bienemy, Mike Kafka, Brian Daboll, Joe Brady, and Nathaniel Hackett are just a handful that comes to mind. Each one of them has its selling points and concerns. Each one of them has varying odds of actually being interested in and taking the job.
I’m not an insider or reporter, so I have no idea whom the Eagles are likely to hire. But no matter who it is they decide to go with, there are certain things they should be looking for; traits, qualities, and philosophies that the new head coach must possess if the team is going to have any hope of being a Super Bowl contender again one day.
= Leader of men =
This one is pretty obvious, but also the most crucial, so I’m leading off with it. This is an area I still think Pederson was great at, so the next head coach can’t be a single step down from him.
A lot of people tend to think being a head coach is mainly about being either an offensive or defensive genius, but that’s far from the truth. It’s an important part, but it’s not the only part. Look at how many great coordinators couldn’t make it as a head coach.
A head coach needs to know how to lead a locker room of men with different personalities. He needs to know how to get them prepared on a week-to-week basis. He needs to know how to motivate them to play at the peak of their abilities for the benefit of the team.
If the new coach can’t lead, then we’re wasting our time.
Duce Staley #NextManUp !!! Every time he stood in front of the team he had the attention and respect of everyone in the room. The embodiment of what it means to be an 🦅 @Eagles , in a coach. I’m good where I’m at lol BUT, In another lifetime I’d love to play for him!
— Malcolm Jenkins (@MalcolmJenkins) January 11, 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
= Intelligent offensive mind =
The main gripe over Pederson was about his offensive system, play designs, and play calling. That’s where he certainly seemed to struggle, especially in the past year or two. And if Lurie’s main concern pertains to the offensive struggles, then hiring an intelligent offensive mind is an absolute must.
The Eagles need a coach who knows how to use the strengths of his players to their advantage; someone who puts his players in the best position to succeed. Also, the team needs a coach who has a creative enough mind to scheme players open and make things easier for his QB. Coaches like Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay are lauded around the league because they’re innovative and constantly coming up with new ways to catch defenses off guard. Coaches like them can mask deficiencies on the roster, whether it be due to a lack of talent or a slew of injuries.
Yup, Lincoln Riley gets it. From his belief in running the ball to being able to use QBs with different styles. He just gets it. https://t.co/BzCARr18O6
— Charles “Chux” Maranan (@ChuxMaranan) January 13, 2021
Now, if the Eagles decide to hire a defensive-minded head coach, that’s fine too if the offensive coordinator he brings with him is a great offensive mind. So, whether it’s the head coach himself or the coordinator, the priority here is finding someone who can design and call a good offensive system.
= Commit to the run =
This could fall under the previous category, but I’m going to give it its own because I feel it’s that important.
The Eagles drafted Miles Sanders in the 2nd round to be their featured RB, similar to what Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy were for the team in the past. He should have gotten way more touches than he did in 2020, and it’s a travesty he didn’t. He’s your best playmaker on offense.
Also, whether the starting QB is Carson Wentz or Jalen Hurts in 2021, an emphasis on the running game is going to help either one of them a lot. And a smart play designer and play-caller should be able to marry the running and passing game together via play-action, zone-read, and other concepts. Doing so opens things up and makes reads and decisions easier for the QB.
The Eagles don’t necessarily need a coach who’s going to install a run-first philosophy. But there certainly needs more balance in the play-calling than what they’ve gotten in the past 20 years.
= Continuity with the coaching staff =
This is another one that may seem like a given. However, considering how things were in 2020 with Doug and his staff, it isn’t. We need to consider the fact that Roseman and Lurie had too much say and control over the staff, and that’s part of what angered Pederson to begin with. But no matter what the reason, the chain of command and communication amongst the coaches was a mess.
Pederson banked on himself to be both the head coach and the offensive coordinator. The team then hired a bunch of offensive consultants and assistants under him, but it proved to be a case of “too many cooks in the kitchen.” There were also reports that Doug wasn’t even on board with some of the hirings.
None of that should happen with the new coaching staff. If they’re going to be successful there must be an established chain of command. Players need to know who they’re listening to and going to for guidance. The entire staff needs to be on the same page when it comes to making the weekly gameplan and installing it. Without that continuity, all 3 phases of the team are going to continue to falter, just like they did in 2020.
You won’t be able to bring in a big name coach or maintain one if he doesn’t have some power to make decisions. Why would they come to Philly if they don’t have input on draft/roster/coaching staff while getting blamed on the product on Sundays?
I expect a first time HC.
— Kevin Negandhi (@KNegandhiESPN) January 11, 2021