Three potential candidates for a future offensive coordinator role with the Eagles

ESPN NFL reporter Chris Mortensen was on SportsCenter Monday morning and had the following quote about the Eagles’ coaching staff:

Barring a run in the playoffs, I would say there’s going to be some significant changes on the Philadelphia staff.

Mortensen went on to say that he has not spoken directly to owner Jeff Lurie, so this is all speculation. 

However, changes to the coaching staff seem inevitable no matter how far the team goes.

They currently sit at 5-7 after a loss to the now 3-9 Miami Dolphins. The offense was able to put up 31 points after scoring 19 combined the previous two weeks. However, the defense gave up 37 points to a team averaging 14.8 points per game after giving up 17 in back to back games versus higher powered offenses. 

Although the offense looked better during the Miami game, the game plan still looked atrocious. The offense ran the ball just three times after going up 28-14, a ratio that doesn’t set up a team to contain a lead. 

After two weeks of containing Tom Brady and Russell Wilson, the defense allowed Ryan Fitzpatrick to torch them for a second straight year on a different team. The defense doesn’t seem to have an identity.

All of this leads to two names on the coaching staff possibly being let go at the end of the season, Mike Groh and Jim Schwartz. In this article, I take a look at some options for the offensive coordinator position. 

Mike Kafka

The trend of former starting/back up quarterbacks becoming coordinators or coaches is becoming more prevalent in today’s NFL. Kellen Moore, as offensive coordinator of the Cowboys, has helped bring Dak Prescott to a career year. The Cowboys also have Jon Kitna as quarterbacks coach. Ken Dorsey is the quarterbacks coach in Buffalo. Ryan Lindley is the quarterbacks coach in Cleveland. Byron Leftwich is the offensive coordinator in Tampa Bay. In Kansas City, an old Eagles quarterback is the quarterbacks coach.

After being drafted in 2010 by the Eagles, Mike Kafka played four games for in 2011. He went 11 for 16 with 107 yards and two interceptions in those two games. He bounced around summer rosters until 2014, where he latched on to the Buccaneers but did not appear in a game. 

Nowadays, he is the quarterbacks coach for the reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City. While Kafka was a member of the Eagles, he studied under Doug Pederson (offensive quality control coach/quarterbacks coach) and Andy Reid (head coach). Kafka is extremely knowledgeable and knows how to coach up a quarterback to do great things.

With his familiarity with the type of offense Doug Pederson wants to run, and his familiarity with Philadelphia, Kafka could be the bright mind that’s needed for the Eagles offense.

Joe Brady

Joe Burrow went from three years as a back up quarterback at Ohio State to being deemed as a game manager in his first year at LSU in 2018. In 2018, he passed for 2,894 yards, with 16 touchdowns and five interceptions in 13 games.

Enter Joe Brady as passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach.

In 2019, Burrow now leads in Heisman voting, has LSU in contention for a National title, and may have thrust himself into being the number one overall pick. Burrow has passed for 4,366 yards, with 44 touchdowns and six interceptions in 12 games.

What kind of knowledge did Brady bring to LSU?

Prior to coming to LSU, Brady worked under Sean Payton on the Saints as an offensive assistant for two years. He was also able to work under one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game, Drew Brees, and a very knowledgeable offensive coordinator, Pete Carmichael. 

Brady has been named a finalist for the nation’s top assistant coach award, so the Eagles may have some competition to get him. LSU head coach Ed Orgeron has stated that there already is a plan in place to retain Brady.  Texas has an opening at offensive coordinator and may look to pry Brady away from LSU.

But with an increased emphasis on hiring younger coaches in the NFL, Brady’s chance to land a future head coach position may lie in the Eagles staff.

Brady would have the chance to coach one of the best quarterbacks in the league and try to resurrect an offense that should’ve been more explosive than it has been.  If Brady could succeed in doing this, his stock for future head coaching jobs would sky rocket.  

Jay Gruden

Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay. Why do I start this section with those names? Because they are two coaches that were let go by the Redskins who are now finding success elsewhere. Could the Redskins just be one giant void harboring good coaches? Jay Gruden could further that hypothesis by joining a team in need of an offensive guru.

Guru? Yes, guru. 

In his three years as offensive coordinator for the Bengals, the team was top 15 in total yards and points per game each year. He made Andy Dalton look great.

In his five and change years as head coach of the Redskins, Gruden had to use seven different quarterbacks. During his last season and a half, the passing offense ranked dead last in yards and touchdowns. In those two seasons, the team started Alex Smith, Josh Johnson, Colt McCoy, Mark Sanchez, and Case Keenum. In 2016 and 2017, when he had one starting quarterback, the team ranked in top 15 in both categories. They were second in yards in 2016 and ninth in touchdown passes in 2017. 

While he was 2-4 against the Carson Wentz led Eagles (discounting the one game they faced Nick Foles), he can come in and provide some insight on why he was so successful against them and also what they saw as a defense in game planning for him. 

Gruden’s ultimate goal will be to be a head coach again. But to get there, he should build up his resume by being Doug Pederson’s sidekick on the offense and help propel Wentz to new heights in 2020.

 

Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Leave a Reply