Inside The Birds: Growing Buzz Connecting McDaniels To Eagles
By the time Sunday night’s divisional round game had concluded, the NFL’s head-coaching vacancies dwindled down to two.
In the latest Inside the Birds podcast, Eagles insiders Geoff Mosher and Adam Caplan provide an extensive rundown of what they’re hearing from their sources in relation to the Eagles’ ongoing head-coaching search.
Caplan: “A couple of days before the actual interview, I’d heard the Eagles were on him. Let’s get into the weeds here, we’re gonna call this down the middle, folks. I don’t know Josh McDaniels, I’ve never met him, but we’re gonna give you detailed information.
Let’s go back to Denver when he was head coach – 32 years old, head coach of the Broncos with full personnel control. Absolute mistake by ownership, they never should have done it; way too much to give a guy. This was Sean McVay before McVay. It was too much too soon, he did not do a good job there. We know about Tim Tebow, that was a mistake. His evaluation of Tebow was way off.
“[I talked to] Jim Miller, who was a Patriot and was coached by Josh – I talked to a bunch of people who’ve worked with him. He’s a brilliant guy, but there’s baggage. You can’t deny it, because it’s a fact. He had issues in Denver, there’s some stuff out there, if you wanna read about him, go ahead.
“He’s a brilliant guy, his development of the slot receiver is legendary. It came from, a Patriots source told me, in a meeting that they had before they traded for Wes Welker from the Dolphins. Belichick saw the future of the slot position – they’re gonna control the middle of the field, plus obviously Gronk, with the tight end. Josh was the one who developed that slot position with Wes Welker then later the great Julian Edelman – and obviously Gronk. So, the guy’s a pretty darn good coach.
Now, we have the Denver stuff, which is a big negative. And the other negative – the agreeing to a deal with the Colts to be their head coach then backing out of it hours after. The thing that pissed the Colts off – they announced it! You can’t do that.”
Mosher: “My initial reaction was that Jeffrey’s been enamored with that New England offense for a long time. He’s always talked about it, obviously it’s been an elite offense, so here’s a chance to bring in a guy who has all the knowledge of how it runs, and as you mentioned, his development of the slot position.
“So I started calling around a little bit, and later that night, one of my better sources around the league said, ‘You know what, McDaniels to Philly – there’s a lot of buzz about that. There’s people who think that this thing can really happen.'”
Caplan: “There’s not a lot of names left, but if you look at the guys that would make sense and fit what they’re looking for, I would put Josh McDaniels at the top of the list for fit and coaching experience. I know it didn’t go well for him in Denver – at least he’s been a head coach before. The issue there is the baggage.”
Caplan: “[Saints assistant head coach/TE coach] Dan Campbell is gonna be the Lions head coach. Now that they can negotiate with him, that’s gonna happen. Mike Kafka is a potential OC for him, from what I’m hearing. I’ve checked into it, Kafka is a possibility – because he’s not calling plays in Kansas City, so he certainly would be calling plays if he became the Lions’ OC. So we’ll see what happens there.
Although, I mean I’ve detailed on one of our shows – not only is he their passing game coordinator, he and Andy are the pass game developers on that team.
“And I understand the Eagles seem to be like the only team that is interested in interviewing him; that doesn’t mean that they’re not right, obviously they’re right because the passing game means everything to the Eagles. That’s kind of where they’re at with that and we’ll see if Kafka gets the interview or not – whether they wanna hold on for Kafka or Eric Bieniemy, who is new to the list.”
Mosher: “I went back, because the last podcast I believe I said Adam, I don’t know about the actual fit, other than the fact that he comes from that Kansas City chain there – and the offense is something that of course Jeffrey Lurie would want to bring to Philadelphia. I said that the Chiefs and him – I don’t see the whole analytics thing meshing as well as it did with Doug, who definitely was into that stuff. I double-checked on it, and again, this is true, the Chiefs do not incorporate analytics the same way the Eagles do – including game-day calls.”
Caplan: “If you wanna coach here, whether it’s Josh McDaniels or Bieniemy, whoever, you better embrace analytics in terms of game day play-calling. It’s really important to Jeffrey Lurie – trust me on that one.”
Mosher: “It doesn’t mean Kafka can’t be sold on it – or maybe he does love it and they just don’t do it there. I’m just saying, it’s not what they do there.”
Caplan: “They can’t interview him yet until they’re done. Here’s the thing about Bieniemy, and it’s ridiculous he has not become a head coach yet, but when you just talk about qualifications: former player, total command – if you talk to the Chiefs, they’ll tell ya. I don’t care if he’s not calling plays, it doesn’t matter to me. I’m okay with a CEO head coach, where you bring in your own play-caller; obviously because of his experience in the run game he certainly could help. Total command, he’s got total buy-in. It just comes to the point – either he’s not interviewing well or there’s some other reason he’s not getting head coach. It’s just to the absurd point – there’s nothing else he can do.”
* Note on Prince Tega Wanogho
Caplan: “This is a sixth-rounder, Wanogho. This is a team that needs depth on the offensive line – I totally get it, he’s a long-term project; not going to be ready to do anything for at least a couple of years. The only reason that he was added late to their 53, is because they ran out of linemen.
And then [cornerback] Kevon Seymour – it was interesting, [the Eagles] cut him off of [injured reserve] and then he cleared and was signed to a reserve/futures contract. So, he’ll be with the team in the offseason.”
Mosher: “I spoke to the Chiefs a little bit about Tega Wanogho and why they would sign him. What they told me was, they had a pretty good grade on him coming out of the draft. Remember, some people thought – I’m not saying the Chiefs did – he had this reputation that he would have been third- or fourth-round pick if he didn’t have the – you reported this – he’s got a rod in his leg, right? And at the Combine – he went to the Combine but didn’t do anything.”
“Why wouldn’t the Eagles have just signed him to a Futures Deal?”
Caplan: “I agree. Obviously, [Jeff] Stoutland clearly didn’t want him. Well, it’s all relative – we’ll get into Stoutland before we get out of here, we’ll see if he’s back. I agree, you make a fair point. I don’t quite understand, but they clearly didn’t see enough out of him.”
– Andrew DiCecco (@ADiCeccoNFL) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for InsideTheBirds.com.
Listen to the latest “Inside The Birds” podcast from Geoff Mosher and Adam Caplan here: