On The Rise
New Birds QBs Coach 'Second To None' In Approach
Alex Tanney was a typical journeyman backup quarterback, an undrafted free agent in 2012 from a small college who would sign with eight different NFL teams in nine years and play in just two NFL games, throwing just 15 career passes.
His coaching career is already much more promising.
The Eagles this week promoted Tanney from quality control coach/assistant quarterbacks coach to quarterbacks coach to fill the void left by Brian Johnson’s promotion to offensive coordinator. Tanney will now take over as Jalen Hurts’ position coach, making him one of the team’s most significant assistants.
Tanney has only spent two seasons with the Eagles’ coaching staff but his paths had crossed in prior stops with both former offensive coordinator Shane Steichen and head coach Nick Sirianni.
Steichen, whose departure to become Colts head coach triggered the chain reaction of promotions for Johnson and Tanney, said the Eagles’ new quarterbacks coach is “second to none” in how he approaches coaching.
“Very, very detailed,” Steichen said. “He just gets it. Those conversations that I’ve had with him over the past two years, the way he sees the game, talks about the game — clear, concise, there’s no gray area with him.
“Obviously, the game might be played – might be some gray area there – but the way he teaches it is second to none.”
Steichen plucked Jim Bob Cooter from the Jaguars as his offensive coordinator and suggested at the podium that he didn’t have the opportunity to take anyone from Sirianni’s coaching staff with him to Indianapolis.
“Some of them you’re not gonna be able to get. I respect that,” he said. “Nick has a responsibility to keep good coaches in that building, and thats what he did.”
Steichen was an offensive quality control coach for the Browns in 2013 when Tanney signed there. Sirianni was coaching Chiefs wide receivers in 2012 when Kansas City signed Tanney as a rookie free agent after a record-setting year at Monmouth (Ill.) College.
“What was really interesting, when we brought Alex in, almost everybody on our staff had coached him,” Sirianni said, noting that tight ends coach Jason Michael and pass-game coordinator Kevin Patullo were with Tanney in Tennessee in 2014.
“He’s just been everywhere. 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. Even when we were in Kansas City, I still remember Brian Daboll was having him do little projects for us. He would do little projects for us to help us, and so you remember things like that, right?
“What Alex did is Alex – when we interviewed him for the quality control spot – he did everything he could do to be ready for that job. He taught himself, took a computer class to teach himself how to draw on Visio … so he made sure he knew he could do the part of the job he was going to do.
“I really admired that. He worked really hard at that. That’s a thankless job. A lot of us have had that job and it’s thankless, but he excelled at that job.”
The Eagles promoted Tanney last year to assistant quarterbacks coach, and Sirianni said Tanney “crushed that role, too,” with eyes on eventually becoming a play-caller and head coach.
“But I know what he’s going to do this year – exactly what he did the last two years, and he is going to kill his role and do everything he can do to help Jalen play better, to help us put together a plan.
“He is going to work his butt off to do that. He is super smart, super intelligent. He connects with the players. Playing for 10 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.”
– Geoff Mosher (@geoffmoshernfl) is co-host of the “Inside the Birds” podcast and staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.
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