Inside The Birds: Where’s The Juice For Duce?
Just when it appeared the Eagles had meticulously and thoroughly turned over every stone to find Doug Pederson’s replacement, a pair of intriguing candidates were added to the team’s lengthy interview list.
In the latest Inside the Birds podcast, Eagles insiders Geoff Mosher and Adam Caplan provide updates, insight, and perspective on the Eagles’ ongoing head-coaching search.
Mosher: “I don’t think anything about the [Nick] Sirianni interview or the Dennis Allen one, or anybody else they might bring in, changes what we had said about Josh McDaniels and the Eagles and there being a strong mutual interest there.
“But like you said, they’re not in a rush. I guess Adam, it’s fair to say, ‘Well, if you like him that much and you interviewed him, what are you waiting for?’ There’s planning to do, there’s a quarterback situation that has to be rectified, so I don’t know why they’d be waiting. And sometimes things take a little while at the negotiation table as well, or you have a conversation and you’re not 100 percent on page with that. I’m just speculating on why things break down.”
Caplan: “I still think if you go into the week, McDaniels would be their top choice in terms of if you had to have a pecking order, but that could change tomorrow if Sirianni blows them away; he could even it up or even take the lead. This is the thing I’ve learned about this for 21 years with these coaching searches, there’s so many twists and turns – you literally could talk to the agent who is doing the contract, and he’ll say, ‘Yeah, looks like it’s gonna happen. I’ll call ya tomorrow,’ … and then something happens. Someone comes in and blows the team away.
The fact that he has not been hired yet tells me they’re not either satisfied, or they wanna make sure they go through all these other names because – this is not the Chip Kelly chase of ’13 – it was Chip Kelly and everybody else.”
Mosher: “How is it that nobody else has asked to interview Duce Staley?”
Caplan: “It’s a disgrace that other teams – how the hell do you not know that Duce Staley is one of the best running back coaches in the league. It’s a joke.”
Mosher: “You look at Dan Campbell, who may be a great coach – I hope he does really well. I don’t like to see people get fired. He played tight end in the league – not a glory position. He coached tight ends when he first broke in with Miami. He went from tight ends coach to interim coach, to assistant head coach. So, much like Duce Staley went from running backs coach to running backs coach/assistant head coach. How does Dan Campbell get a job in a finger snap and Duce can’t get an interview other than the team he’s employed by?”
Caplan: “I had one high-ranking coach tell me, ‘Absolutely should be a head coach.’ I’ve mentioned this before, he would be a better head coach than a coordinator because he’s got command of the room like you wouldn’t believe.”
Mosher: I go back to the messaging. This guy has survived – first of all, he came up under Andy Reid – his chain speaks for itself; he survived the transition to Chip Kelly, who was not a pushover, who changed many coaches on his staff but did not change Duce Staley. And then he survived again and stayed with Doug Pederson and got promoted. So, your organization has told you through its actions over the last 6, 7, 8 years that it values Duce Staley to the point where it’s willing to make him the assistant head coach. So, when the opening comes, you’d like to think he’s getting a real consideration and it wasn’t a courtesy interview.”
Caplan: “At the very least, if they don’t hire Allen, they got to talk about their defense, their offense. The Eagles’ offense and defense – if he’s scouted them, if he’s watched tape, since you know he’s going to be interviewing. What’s his philosophy on offense and defense? What do you think of our roster? You’ve studied us from afar, you’ve seen when we’ve been really really good in ’17, you’ve seen when we’ve been low — like this season. This is the Al Davis thing; he used to bring in people that, quite frankly, he was never gonna hire. But he wanted to know, he was a fan of theirs and he talked to them and got notes.”
Caplan: “Here’s his background: He’s not a play-caller; he has worked a lot with quarterbacks and receivers over his career. He is a Frank Reich protégé, they’re like brothers; they worked together first with the Chargers. If it wasn’t Frank’s first hire, it was certainly one of them with the Colts. I happened to speak to him twice … I’d heard about him, I wanted to talk to him. Very engaging, tremendous energy – a lot of energy – really good command.
“I talked to the Colts about him; he’s got it. You talk to certain people and you ask certain questions, you get yes or no. I asked one Colts source, I said, ‘Hey, is this guy a real head-coaching candidate?’ The guy said, ‘Absolutely, we don’t want to lose him. Really talented coach, I’m sure you know how close he is to Frank. That’s why he’s here.’
“The thing that I like about his background, as one guy explained to me: His dad’s a former high school coach – or current – I didn’t ask if the guy was still coaching. His brother’s been a longtime coach. He comes from a coaching family, that’s really good. I like that background. But, here’s my question – and I understand they haven’t hired anyone yet and yes, they started last week – I just find it interesting … and I’m not criticizing the Eagles, I’m just asking a question: We know that they like to hire an offensive coach. Doesn’t mean that they will, but their history would show you that they will probably hire an offensive coach, barring a surprise. You would think that Sirianni, on a marquee team like the Colts, you would think that they would have interviewed him [already]. I’d love to know why he wasn’t on their original list. It’s not a criticism, it’s just a question.”
Mosher: “And again, that just makes you wonder about the optics of the situation. It almost – and I’m not saying this is the case, but people are looking at this from the outside saying, ‘You’re interviewing so many people, you’re bringing in a guy all of the sudden you could’ve brought in two weeks ago – do you really have a plan here?’” I’m sure the Eagles have a plan, but…”
Caplan: “I can just repeat what I had before – I believe he’s on Dan Campbell’s list. Dan Campbell’s going to be the Lions’ head coach, now that the Saints are out. I believe he’s on his list. Look, if the Chiefs lose this week and the Eagles have not hired their coach, I would be almost shocked if Kafka doesn’t talk to them, even if it’s a Zoom. It would make no sense to me – this is a guy I can tell you as an absolute fact they’ve wanted to talk to. I couldn’t tell you why it hasn’t happened this week, I don’t have a straight answer.
Just again, Kafka is [the Chiefs] guy for the passing game, like Bieniemy is for the running game. Though he doesn’t have the run game coordination tag, he’s certainly heavily involved in it. Mike is a passing game guy. The thing with him is, he’s young and he’s really relatively new to coaching. It’s just like when you talk to Joe Brady – I understand he’s smart, that’s great – that doesn’t mean he’s ready to be a head coach. That’s a big jump for a guy who has only been an OC for one year – he didn’t call [plays] at LSU, as I understand it.”
Caplan: “I’m told that he’s concentrating on coaching this week, and he has no scheduled interview with the Eagles. That’s what I know. If they lose this week, and somehow the Eagles don’t have their head coach, maybe he gets an interview.”
– Andrew DiCecco (@ADiCeccoNFL) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for InsideTheBirds.com.
Listen to the latest “Inside The Birds” podcast with Adam Caplan and Geoff Mosher here: