Eagles

In extremely divisive times, Eagles have done the unthinkable

usa-eagles-fans.jpg
USA Today Images

In extremely divisive times, Eagles have done the unthinkable

One of the many positive byproducts of the Eagles' incredible, unforeseen run to the Super Bowl is the undeniable unifying effect it has had on the Delaware Valley. Sports can do this in a way few if any other entities can. It brings groups of people together who otherwise share very little common ground. 

Democrat, Republican, black, white, male, female, gay, straight, young, old ... at least for one brief moment, put aside all the divisiveness that has become so commonplace in our society and unite for one goal.

Whether it’s the guy behind you in line at your local Wawa or the woman next to you on the train or the receptionist at the doctor’s office. Perfect strangers you would otherwise never speak or engage with, beginning the conversation the same exact way: "So what do you think?" You know exactly what they mean, no clarification needed. Next thing you know, you and said person are devising game plans for an Eagles win over the Patriots. And it’s a beautiful thing.

You’re not caught up in politics or religion or skin hues. Your Facebook feed is filled with Eagles hype videos instead of your “friends” insulting one another over the State of the Union. BTW, the Chase Utley/Always Sunny in Philadelphia crew’s subtle yet impactful “Fly Eagles Fly” tweet may have upstaged them all.

Beyond the strangers, I’ve always found sports to be a great icebreaker with family or friends. There were times growing up when my dad and I may not have been seeing eye-to-eye on almost everything else but there was always the Eagles or the Phillies or the Sixers or the Flyers. Whatever our differences, we could put them aside during the game. Christmas or birthday party, my uncles and cousins and I are talking sports. Sometimes it’s the only way to get through some of those gatherings. I have a buddy in California who I don’t get see as often as I would like. But I know if something big happens with our pro teams or if Temple blows a game, I’m either receiving or sending him a text about it.

Our local teams winning is great on so many levels. Our local commerce, the cheesesteak place around the block, your corner bar, sporting goods store in the neighborhood. Schools having Eagles spirit days. Yes, there’s a downside — folks covering the game tweeting a screen grab of the temperature in Minnesota. Non-sports, local news folks who wouldn’t know a football from a frying pan discussing Nick Foles' passer rating. But I digress.

Ideally, one would think this kind of connection and civic unity can carry beyond Sunday night. I tend to doubt it, but here’s hoping. Either way, it’s been fun while it’s lasted.

So what do you think?

Duce Staley would have been the easier choice

usa-duce-staley-doug-pederson-eagles.jpg
USA Today Images

Duce Staley would have been the easier choice

The right choice isn't always the easy one. Ultimately, we won't know for some time if the Eagles' tabbing Mike Groh for the job of offensive coordinator over Duce Staley was the correct call. But we know they didn't take the easy way out.

Staley has spent 14 seasons with the Eagles as a player and coach. He's been in charge of the Eagles' running backs since 2013 and even interviewed for the head coaching spot after Chip Kelly was fired following the 2015 season. He has the utmost respect of the guys who have played for him and from the organization. His time coaching in Philadelphia has spanned three head coaches (Andy Reid, Kelly, Doug Pederson). That tells you how the folks in the executive offices feel about him. He would have been the easier choice. He juggled egos and the Eagles' crowded backfield skillfully. He smoothly integrated Jay Ajayi into the Birds' system after a midseason trade. Duce checked a lot of boxes.  

But Pederson and the Birds chose to go with Groh, who has been with the club for just one season. The 46-year-old coached the Eagles' wide receivers last year and is credited with helping Nelson Agholor find his game and confidence. Groh has coached in college and the pros for 18 seasons, including a stint as the offensive coordinator at his alma mater, Virginia. Perhaps that gave him the edge in Pederson's and the team's eyes. 

Despite Pederson's calling the plays, the job of offensive coordinator is not just a title. Frank Reich played a huge role game-planning and acting as a sounding board. 

Can't imagine Staley is too happy about this development. It will be interesting to see if he chooses to stay or go elsewhere. But if the track record of Pederson and Roseman is any indication, they did a pretty good job putting together the staff that helped them win their first Super Bowl. So they've earned some trust on the hiring end.

Eagles reach decision at offensive coordinator

ap-doug-pederson-eagles.jpg
AP Images

Eagles reach decision at offensive coordinator

Doug Pederson has made his decision. 

The Eagles are promoting wide receivers coach Mike Groh to offensive coordinator, a league source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia. ESPN's Tim McManus first reported the move.  

On Monday, Pederson interviewed Groh and running backs coach Duce Staley for the vacant offensive coordinator job after Frank Reich became the Colts' head coach earlier this month. 

Groh, 46, just joined the Eagles last offseason, taking over for Greg Lewis. In his first year in Philly, he did a masterful job with the Eagles' receivers and had a bigger role in the offense and game-planning than a typical receivers coach. 

There had been a report that Pederson was thinking about not having an official offensive coordinator for the 2018 season. He already calls the plays. But it looks like he saw the value in filling Reich's old spot. 

It'll be interesting to see how this goes over with Staley, who has been with the Eagles as a coach since 2011 and has been in his current role as running backs coach since 2013. He has previously expressed interest in moving up the ladder. 

When Pederson hired Reich to be his offensive coordinator, he said he was interested in what Reich could bring to the downfield passing game. If that's still important, it would make sense for him to hire a receivers coach with a background as a quarterback over a former running back and running backs coach. 

The 2018 staff is starting to come together. Press Taylor is expected to be named the team's quarterbacks coach (filling in for John DeFilippo), Groh is OC and Staley will stay with the running backs. The last shoe to drop appears to be filling Groh's old post of receivers coach.