It’s that time of year. Coaches are being fired. GM’s removed from their positions and locker rooms restructured. With three quarters of the NFL season in the rear view mirror, teams are planning frantically for the long-term plan. What does the Draft have in store? Will it be a new franchise quarterback? There are several teams who have some heavy decisions to make over the coming months…but one team has already started.
The New York Giants parted ways with Head Coach Ben McAdoo just one year after he pushed the Giants to the playoffs. One week after benching Eli Manning, the Giants lost to the Raiders and his future was cemented. A year of injury, inconsistency, strange play-calls and a locker room of unrest led the Giants co-owner, John Mara, to cut ties with both McAdoo and the team’s general manager Jerry Reese. That leaves New York at a crossroads. Interims rarely keep their place and as we all know, roles within the Giants organization are coveted.
It would hardly be surprising to see the Giants try and poach Joe Douglas from the Eagles. Howie Roseman’s right-hand man has had an incredible impact on thew team since being signed late in the offseason. From free agent signings with connections to his Baltimore days, an insanely strong draft class, or trades for players such as Tim Jernigan who recently signed an extension through 2021, Douglas has left imprints all over this team.
“Part of bringing him (Joe) in here, is trying to change what we’ve done and trying to get better.” Eagles GM Howie Roseman said during the draft process. “It started with using a different grading scale and getting us all acclimated with the way he talks about players and how he grades players. As we go through the free agent board and the draft board, we trust in Joe and his ability to put that together.”
The Eagles were right to do so. What really stands out looking back, is this one quote from Douglas himself, explaining what he looks for in prospects.
“You’re really trying to gauge ‘how much does this guy love Football’?” Douglas said. “When you get to this level, everybody is talented. There’s a prerequisite of talent that’s required for every position. We’re trying to find the things you can’t really measure; Mind, Spirit, Soul, their will to win.”
Mind, spirit, soul. Derek Barnett plays with a motor like no other, Corey Clement runs harder than most running backs around him, Rasul Douglas plays with a swagger that is normally only found in #1 cornerbacks. I could go on. The point is, it’s hair-raising to see how one simple statement applies to almost every player brought in during the offseason. Whether they’re a free agent or a rookie, Douglas has given the Eagles a team of players willing to be coached by a man set on implementing a team-first culture.
The Giants meanwhile have gone down a very different path. This is a chance for a fresh start. The team desperately need to find their future quarterback, regardless of how long Eli Manning remains with the franchise of which he has spent his entire career. A stern defense lies on the other side of the field with the potential to become an elite unit. The Giants are a storied franchise. The roles will be wanted by many. If they do indeed come sniffing for Joe Douglas, a man who has been called a GM of the future, will that chance be too good to turn down?
Douglas spent fifteen years with the Baltimore Ravens, first as an area scout where his work influenced the decision to draft Joe Flacco and then as a National Scout in 2012. He held this position for three years before moving to Chicago to become the Bears’ head of College Scouting in 2015. It was here where Douglas learned under Bears G.M Ryan Pace. Now, as Vice President of Player Personnel, would he take the leap to a General Manager position?
There are plenty of moving parts to this, but given the Eagles astounding success, there’s absolutely reason to believe that the Hounds will be waiting. The Eagles could always block an interview if such a situation were to arise, but how would that sit with Douglas? Would he want to remain alongside Howie Roseman who makes the final call, or potentially manage a franchise of his own?
The other vacancy is also one of importance. The Giants need a Head Coach…and with a new Head Coach usually comes a complete overhaul. While names like Pat Shurmur will surely have their hats thrown into the mix, the idea of John DeFilippo leaving isn’t out of the equation.
DeFilippo was brought in by the Eagles in January of 2016 with the intention of developing Carson Wentz. Having previously worked with Derek Carr, DeFilippo’s ability to nurture talent is unheralded. With Reich and Pederson relying on their playing experience too, DeFilippo has been an integral part in the growth of Carson Wentz.
More notably, he also has Coordinator experience, having had his first taste of the role in Cleveland two years ago. If the Giants are in the market for a new quarterback, surrounding him with the right coaches is obviously step one. The Eagles already blocked a potential interview with the Jets last offseason and with the growth of Carson Wentz surging through the roof and his league leading 28 touchdowns boasting development, other teams may lurk. The Eagles would be wise to do all they can to retain their QB coach if they wish to attain stability.
“That relationship couldn’t be any better.” Frank Reich said of the bond between Carson Wentz and his QB coach. “You have two guys who like to get after it, who [display] hard work, [are] disciplined [and] organized. [They] come to work every day to get better. They’re really on the same page, and they’ve jelled really well.”
The Eagles have struggled to find sustenance during the last five years and have finally built a front office and coaching tree with development and sustainability in mind. This offseason was a sign of things to come. The Birds brought in some of the most talented free agents in recent memory and hit a home-run with their draft class. The strides taken by Carson Wentz this year represent just how valuable this coaching structure really is and the Eagles cannot afford to lose neither Douglas nor DeFilippo.
The Giants are just one team. There will be others. The success of the Eagles will naturally draw the gaze of many directly to their coaching staff and front office. It will be down to the Birds to do all they can to ensure that none of the men responsible for such a swift change in culture and success would have any reason to leave. Blocking an interview may not send the right message and could cause future friction behind closed doors, but the team have to act swiftly if they are to keep one of the most formidable front office bands in the NFL together.
Mandatory Photo Credit: Ed Hille/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP