Meet the Eagles best kept secret: QB Coach Alex Tanney

PHILADELPHIA, PA – DECEMBER 22: Philadelphia Eagles helmet sits on a cart during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagle on December 22, 2019, at Lincoln Financial Filed in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

One coaching move that kind of flew under the radar for the Eagles this week was the promotion of Alex Tanney. He’ll be the Eagles new quarterback whisperer, under Brian Johnson’s watchful eye, and the guy trusted to keep Jalen Hurts on an elite trajectory. His experience may look lean upon first glance. It’s not.

Tanney has been toiling away for more than a decade, showing off his smarts as a backup quarterback for eight different NFL teams in nine seasons before transitioning into coaching. The 35-year-old is highly regarded around the league and within the Eagles’ organization where he has made a lasting impression on everyone he has touched. He started as offensive quality control coach in 2021 for the Eagles and moved up to assistant quarterbacks coach/offensive assistant in 2022.

Eagles Head coach Nick Sirianni called him “really sharp” when asked for his thoughts on Tanney at the NFL Scouting Combine, then revealed how he took a crash computer class to learn how to draw on Visio – a diagramming software program used by coaches to draw up playbooks – and sunk his teeth into every small project thrown at him.

“He is going to work his butt off to do that,” Sirianni said. “He is super smart, super intelligent. He connects with the players. Playing for ten years in the NFL, he has this instant connection there. He’s really worked to get everything he has. I really admire that in Alex, and I know he’s going to be a great quarterback coach and he has done a great job for us for two years now.”

Get to know Eagles QB Coach Alex Tanney: 5 Fast Facts

Tanney is already being mentioned in some circles as the next hot coaching assistant. If he attacks his new job as he did his previous ones, then the sky’s the limit. Offensive coordinator. Head coach. Who knows? For now, he’s the property of the Eagles and they will maximize all he has to offer. Here are a few fast facts about the man behind the clipboard:

1. Legendary College Arm: Tanney is the greatest quarterback ever to play at Monmouth College where he threw for 14,249 yards and fired off 1,205 completions which are Division III records. His whopping 157 career touchdown passes sit atop the NCAA list for all divisions. He was named the Midwest Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year three times, plus he won the prestigious Melberger Award in 2009.

2. Trick Show Specialist: He gained viral fame for a trick shot video released ahead of his senior year at Monmouth. In it, Tanney stands on the top of the school library and calls his shot: over the Jumbotron and through the uprights. Yes, he hit it. Straight as an arrow. Then, Tanney heads to the basketball court where he swishes it from 60 yards out. Over and over and over again. The 5-minute video is a highlight reel of insane throws: hitting people on moving trucks in stride, throwing through gym windows into trash cans, and playfully knocking a biker of a bike from a rooftop.

3. Replacing Eli Manning: Perhaps his biggest claim to fame as a professional player came on December 19, 2019 when he replaced Eli Manning with 1:54 left in a Giants-Dolphins game. What Tanney did isn’t important. He went 1-of-1 for 1 yard. However, he had the distinction of taking over for Manning in what would be the two-time champion’s final NFL contest. In all, Tanney would go 11-of-15 for 100 yards and 1 touchdown while playing in 2 career games for the Giants and Titans.

4. ‘Second to None’ Mind: Count Shane Steichen among Tanney’s strongest supporters. They were only together for two seasons in Philly but the Eagles former offensive coordinator called him “second to none” in the way he teaches X’s and O’s. Steichen couldn’t stop raving about Tanney at the NFL Scouting Combine: “Very, very detailed. He just gets it.” (via Geoff Mosher of Inside the Birds).

5. Played for Nick Sirianni: He played for Nick Sirianni in 2012 when Sirianni was wide receivers coach for the Kansas City Chiefs. Tanney was competing for the third-string quarterback job that year, eventually surviving final roster cuts and landing on injured reserve as the fourth guy. His football intelligence and work ethic stuck with Sirianni: “What struck us was that how smart he was and how hard he worked to stay on the team as a No. 3 and No. 2 quarterback.”

Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire