Bolt Coming For Birds Offense Under Steichen?
One of the prominent offensive minds who presided over rookie sensation Justin Herbert in Los Angeles figures to be an integral part of a refurbished coaching staff in Philadelphia.
Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni, who has been busy combing through his expansive rolodex of coaching contacts to assemble his staff within the past week, tabbed Shane Steichen to be his offensive coordinator.
Steichen, 35, originally entered the coaching ranks as an offensive assistant at Louisville in 2010 before bolting for the pros in 2011, where he served as a defensive assistant for two seasons with the then-San Diego Chargers.
The Sirianni connection stems from his lengthy tenure on the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers staff, where Steichen held the roles of offensive quality control and quarterbacks coach before ultimately becoming the team’s offensive coordinator midway through the 2019 campaign.
On the surface, it would appear Steichen comes to Philadelphia on an upward trajectory, esteemed for his work with Herbert, who was the PFWA's Offensive Rookie of the Year. However, many feel that much of the credit for Herbert’s rapid ascension rightfully belongs to Chargers quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton.
While it’s not yet known whether Steichen will assume play-calling duties in Philadelphia, the young coach will be tasked with conjuring an innovative offense presumably tailored to the strengths of quarterback Carson Wentz.
So, what might a Steichen-led offense look like?
If last season was any indication, it's poised to be maddeningly inconsistent. For perspective, the Chargers’ offense ranked sixth and ninth in the NFL in passing yards and total yards, respectively, but sputtered in the red zone (21st), and the running game (18th) never found its footing. The team averaged a pedestrian 24.0 points per game as a result, 18th in the league.
Clock management gaffes, play-calling blunders, and situational lapses too often became hallmarks of the Los Angeles offense.
However, like Sirianni, Steichen crafts plays with personnel in mind. If you recall back to the early stages of last season, with Tyrod Taylor at the controls, the Chargers were committed to running. Even with Herbert, who boasts a prototypical build and the arm strength of a bazooka, the archaic mentality remained the same – the team just didn’t garner much success, finishing 18th and 30th in total rush yards and rush yards per play, respectively.
When he wasn’t calling running plays at a high frequency, Steichen implemented a heavy use of play-action and demonstrated a propensity to push the ball downfield at high frequency.
Steichen also afforded Herbert the liberty of pulling the ball down and churning out yards with his legs –as evidenced by his 234 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Those are tendencies that favor both Wentz and second-year pro Jalen Hurts.
Though I suspect Sirianni’s fingerprints will be all over the offense’s design, Steichen will be Sirianni’s second voice in Philadelphia's offese, much like Frank Reich once was to Doug Pederson five years ago.
– 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: