The Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles' coaching staff has absorbed a couple of key losses over the past few days. Quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo is now offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings, and on Sunday, offensive coordinator Frank Reich became head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.
When owner Jeffrey Lurie and executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman set out to construct a coaching staff in the 2016 offseason, part of the focus was to build an environment conducive to developing and supporting quarterbacks. It's no coincidence that three quarterback experts in head coach Doug Pederson, Reich and DeFilippo ended up in prominent positions. Given the success Carson Wentz, Nick Foles and even Nate Sudfled had this season, it's hard to argue with their line of thinking.
Now, two-thirds of that brain trust has been hired away. The moves they make next will be critical to keeping the team's success going.
Here's a look at some potential ways to go forward after poking around a bit:
1. Leave the offensive coordinator post vacant
Reich helped put the game plan together and was a good sounding board for Pederson, as the two would meet late in the week to fine-tune the approach. But Pederson calls the plays and has full control over the offense, making it less than imperative that the Eagles have an offensive coordinator on staff. The idea of going without one is under consideration.
It would not be a totally unorthodox move. The San Francisco 49ers and the Houston Texans are two examples of teams that operated without an offensive coordinator in 2017, leaving the duties to head coaches Kyle Shanahan and Bill O'Brien, respectively. Shanahan employed both run-game and pass-game specialists on staff. This method could allow the Eagles to promote from within while keeping key people in important roles. Instead of naming running backs coach Duce Staley offensive coordinator, for instance, they make him the running-game coordinator; wide receivers coach Mike Groh could oversee the pass game, as he did with the Rams before joining Philadelphia, and so on. With Pederson's offensive prowess well established, it's a path worth exploring.
2. Promote Duce Staley
Staley has been an assistant on the staff since 2011 and spent seven years with the organization as a player. He is respected, and there has been growing buzz about him around the league. Rumored to be in consideration for some offensive coordinator jobs this offseason, Staley deflected such questions in the week leading up to the Super Bowl but made it clear he feels he's ready for a promotion. The Eagles would consider giving him one should opportunity arise.
Staley, 42, has been the Eagles' running backs coach since 2013. He helped get Jay Ajayi up to speed after the Eagles acquired him at the trade deadline, while keeping veteran LeGarrette Blount invested and getting the most out of undrafted rookie Corey Clement, who scored six times in the regular season and had a pivotal 22-yard touchdown catch against the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
3. Promote Mike Groh
Groh joined the Eagles this past offseason and gained immediate command of the wide receivers room. Alshon Jeffery (12 total touchdowns) responded to him, as he did in Chicago, but Groh's work with Nelson Agholor was the most noticeable. Agholor went from a bubble player to a formidable slot receiver, scoring eight touchdowns in the regular season.
Groh was a quarterback at Virginia and later coached quarterbacks both there and at Louisville, so there's some thought to promoting him to Eagles quarterbacks coach to replace DeFilippo. That could be a more natural step forward for now.
The team is high on offensive quality control/assistant quarterbacks coach Press Taylor. A bump for other assistants could well mean a bump for him.
4. Hire from the outside
There are a couple of notable names out there, including former offensive coordinators Darrell Bevell (Seahawks) and Mike Shula (Panthers). This would add some veteran expertise to the room while giving Pederson an outsider's perspective that could prove beneficial. The risk you run is in the chemistry department -- it's hard to know just how personalities will mesh when you bring in someone new. That's why hiring from within is sometimes preferred.