In what was an expected move, the Indianapolis Colts have appointed Frank Reich as their next Head Coach. For the Eagles, this means that two of the three key cogs in the development of Carson Wentz have been poached within the last seven days. What will the team do now? That’s where the fun begins.
The right person:
Doug Pederson was never going to surrender play-calling duties and this likely played a role in the signings of both ‘Flip’ and Reich. However, so does previous quarterback experience. There are several in-house options that the team will consider, but that will just shift the hole to another, slightly less important area. Finding an offensive coordinator with previous QB experience is likely where the Eagles will look, but with many teams being a ‘week ahead’ due to the Super Bowl, their options are going to be limited as teams seek to block interviews.
Losing Reich hurts. While Pederson didn’t allow Reich to call plays, the two were close and had meetings on nights before the games took place.
“We just kind of go back through everything one last time.” Pederson said when asked about the context of the meetings. “And for the most part we’re just kind of sitting and telling stories, just kind of reminiscing about the season, maybe the week we just had or something like that. But it’s just a review of the plan and make sure that we’re set on whatever our openers are for that particular game, make sure we’re all set and just kind of go over everything one more time.”
The in-house option that’s favorable is obviously current WR Head Coach Mike Groh. A former UVA quarterback who won back-to-back bowl games, Groh has manufactured some heroic wide receiver seasons since entering the NFL and was most recently a key asset in helping the resurgence of Nelson Agholor and the committee effort that was an astonishing Eagles passing attack.
Elsewhere, running backs coach Duce Staley stands out as a potential promotee. Adored by his players and respected by the coaches, Staley was a mainstay after the Chip Kelly era crumbled, but there has been very little development at the running back position since he joined the team. Now, a lot of that was due to instability and moves, but players such as Wendell Smallwood have yet to show real signs of taking big leaps forward, which could be a knock on giving Duce a much heavier workload.
The Eagles could well create a system in which coaches earn promotions. For instance, if Groh earns the promotion, and Press Taylor then moves to QB coach, it creates a effort/reward system in-house that would deter future desire to leave the team, especially after a Super Bowl win. It then becomes a case of finding ‘the next generation’ of coach as they did with Flip.
Stopping the bleeding:
The Eagles have now lost two of the most important coaches of the group. Mike Groh and Jeff Stoutland stand out as two highly coveted names who could also be eyed up by enemy forces. The Eagles have to find a way to quickly and sufficiently find the right people to fit the culture and team before the wounds only open further.