After a week of rumors and whispers, the Eagles appear to have their sights set on one man in the search to replace Doug Pederson. That man is Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and on the surface, it may seem like a smart move…but there’s more to this than meets the eye.
McDaniels is one of Bill Belichick’s most-trusted disciples and that trust wasn’t built overnight. He’s been New England’s offensive coordinator for 13 years and as we all know, there has been a lot of success in that time. In fact, as Peter Kind alluded to, the Patriots had a top-10 offense in 12 of his 13 seasons as offensive coordinator. This isn’t even taking into account the Super Bowl rings, conference championships, and accolades earned by individuals along the way. On paper, this is the dream move for an Eagles team that clearly needs a cultural reset. In reality, it could only expedite the downfall from greatness.
Concern #1: Loyalty
Let’s not forget that Josh McDaniels left the Colts at the altar two years ago. Just days after Super Bowl LII, he was expected to be unveiled as their new Head Coach. In a bizarre twist of events, he pulled out of the move and opted to stay in his current role under Bill Belichick.
There were rumors that Robert Kraft wanted him to be the heir to Belichick’s throne one day, but even so, this kind of move would leave a horrible stain on what was previously a strong resume.
Just to add salt in the wound, this was also the move that prompted Indianapolis to hire Frank Reich…so there’s that.
The Eagles reportedly held a 7-hour interview with McDaniels, a similar length to that of two other coaching candidates. That shouldn’t be seen as some kind of extraordinary feat, but I’d like to think in that time, the front office can get a gauge on where McDaniels is at mentally.
Let’s be honest – the Patriots were a mess last year. In their first season without Tom Brady, the wheels well and truly fell off. If there was ever a time for McDaniels to feel confident in one day inheriting the Head Coaching role, this is probably going to be it.
If his heart isn’t in it for Philadelphia, they absolutely shouldn’t hire him. Unfortunately, making the correct read here is only half of the battle.
Concern #2: Carson Wentz
By firing Doug Pederson, many assumed that this was a ‘double-down’ on Carson Wentz. In a scenario where it seemed like one or the other had to go, the Eagles followed the money and would rather gamble on righting their franchise quarterback than allowing their Super Bowl-winning Head Coach to continue.
There’s nothing wrong with this, but we have to remember why we’re even here to begin with. For better or worse, Carson Wentz has come under intense scrutiny over the last few years with regards to his ‘coachability’. Jeff Mclane recently posted an article that told the story of a growing ‘pissing match’ between Wentz and Pederson, with the Eagles QB purposefully killing plays at the line of scrimmage that led to disaster.
We’ve heard plenty of stories around Press Taylor and his relationship with Wentz. Carson Wentz reportedly struggled to adapt to John DeFilippo’s tougher style of coaching, despite having his most success under him. Under Press Taylor, there has been a perceived lack of accountability, with Wentz able to not only ‘get away’ with more, but build a much friendlier relationship that led to softer coaching. This has been met with an overwhelming sense of negativity and rightly so. All of the mechanical flaws in Carson’s game are absolutely coachable and the fact that they’ve been allowed to get to this point is frankly laughable.
With that said, firing Doug Pederson and replacing him with a much tougher coach is a risk. McDaniels will bring a fiery coaching style that has been molded in the flames of New England under the tutelage of Bill Belichick, who notoriously has a ‘my way or the highway’ mentality. If Wentz struggled under DeFilippo and grew comfortable under complacency, then surely bringing on a coach who will push ways with a level of assertion previously unseen is going to do one of two things.
Wentz will either take to the new style of coaching knowing he simply has to after a dismal season led to this carnage, or he’ll buckle and try to force his way out. Something tells me that if you’re going all-in on a quarterback, bringing in a coach who many regard as Bill Belichick 2.0 could be a huge success or absolutely disastrous.
The Eagles are not in a position to make this kind of gamble and doing so could only set the franchise back further than it already has been.
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