The first domino fell two days ago when the Philadelphia Eagles lost QB Coach John DeFilippo to the Minnesota Vikings. Regarded as one of the finest budding coaching minds in the league, the attention surrounding ‘Flip’ was to be expected after the Eagles battled nearly two year’s of denying interview requests and keeping him in Philadelphia. The question now becomes, who fills some mighty big shoes?
Carson Wentz may have played at an MVP level in 2017, but that doesn’t mean the team can afford to skimp at the QB coach position. Wentz is entering just his third NFL season and the ceiling is incredibly high. Not only that, but Pederson has expressed a consistent interest to start grooming a project quarterback behind Wentz and with good reason. So who should the Eagles look to?
Much has been said about the Eagles current Wide Receiver coach and it’s not difficult to see why. Whether it was helping Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery excel in Chicago, pushing Kenny Britt to his first 1,000 yard season with the Rams or being key cog in the ever dominant wheel of the Alabama Crimson Tide, Groh has succeeded wherever he’s coached. This season is no exception. Despite the team not registering a 1,000 yard receiver, the Eagles wideouts were the most dominant they’ve looked in years due to a culture shift that focuses on selflessness. Grow was instrumental in that and as a former quarterback for UVA, leading them to bowl victories in 1994 and 1995, Gross’s coaching style is very much framed through the eyes of a quarterback. Grow brings the qualities that the Eagles desire from their QB coach along with a year’s experience inside the system. The only downside is, they would then need to find a wide receiver’s coach to replace Groh and that would leave even bigger boots to fill.
Taylor is very much the ‘X-Factor’ in all of this. While many see him as a potential replacement for Groh should he move to WR/OC, Taylor could be perfectly primed for a QB coaching role. In his first season with the Eagles (2016), he worked with Carson Wentz as an assistant QB coach alongside DeFilippo. The Eagles have trust and familiarity in Taylor, as do their quarterbacks. During that time, he helped Wentz set an all-time NFL rookie record 379 completions.
A former quarterback himself, Taylor would also bring a unique perspective to the quarterback room and leave the Birds with a much smaller hole to fill.
The next few options are wildcards due to being outside of the team. This means of course that teams could block a lateral interview request, complicating the matters.
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A former third round pick back in 1994, O’Connell has had a storied career as both a player and a coach. Most recently hired as the Redskins quarterback coach, O’Connell played for six teams during his career, including the Chargers and Patriots. Learning from some of the finest coaching minds in the league, O’Connell is an under-the-radar prospect after beginning his coaching career with the Browns as a QB coach in 2015.
What Makes O’Connell so appealing is that one again Washington is in disarray at the QB position. Should they desire to move some pieces around, the young coach could potentially be swayed to Philadelphia. A recent playing experience in multiple offenses make him an intriguing option for the Eagles, who are always willing to learn from divisional rivals, just ask Nate Sudfeld.
Another quarterback coach who faces uncertain times, the future of Russell Wilson’s quarterback guru has been really hot and cold during the last few weeks. The veteran previously served as offensive coordinator for the Jags and was a QB coach for the Browns. But after Russell Wilson was drafted, the Seahawks ensured that Smith would be the man to guide him to the very top of his game.
If there is truth to the sporadically speculated discomfort in Seattle, Smith would be the perfect guru to help Carson Wentz marinate and take his game to the next level.
Mandatory Photo Credit: Cal Sport Media via AP Images