How hard could coaching losses hit Eagles?

How hard could coaching losses hit Eagles?

Andy Reid's original coaching staff in 1999 included names such as John Harbaugh, Brad Childress, Ron Rivera, Leslie Frazier, Pat Shurmur and Steve Spagnuolo.

Frazier left after the 2002 season, Rivera one year later. From 2005 through 2008, Childress, Spagnuolo, Harbaugh and Shurmur left. All either immediately or soon became NFL head coaches, most very successful ones.

Along with Rod Dowhower's retirement after the 2001 season and Jim Johnson's tragic death after the 2008 season, Reid's staff underwent a gradual and almost complete overhaul from 2002 through 2008.

Do the names Mike Reed, Bill Shuey, Ted Daisher, Pete Jenkins, Rory Segrest, James Urban and Mike Caldwell mean anything? 

They were among the replacements for that initial group of assistants. None ever became a head coach, and only Urban and Caldwell are even still coaching in the NFL — both as position coaches.

That's not the only reason for the team's gradual and almost complete decline over the second half of Reid's tenure with the Eagles, but it definitely had a lot to do with it.

Reid was never able to properly replace that original group. Whatever magic he had building from that original staff was gone. And after going 75-37 with eight playoff wins from 2000 through 2006, his last six years in Philly resulted in two postseason wins and a 50-45-1 record.

Which brings us to 2018, and Doug Pederson's staff, which I think is almost as strong as Big Red's initial staff two decades ago.

Quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and offensive coordinator Frank Reich — in that order — all may have an opportunity in the next month to become head coaches.

DeFilippo already has interviews arranged with the Bears and Cardinals, and Schwartz is scheduled to meet with the Giants for their head coaching vacancy. We're likely to learn of more interviews in the coming days.

DeFilippo would be an enormous loss. His work developing Carson Wentz from a third-string rookie out of an unheralded football championship subdivision school into an MVP candidate in just 16 months was remarkable.

Really, it's hard to imagine Flip won't get a head coaching job. He's that hot of a candidate right now. A tremendous teacher, a terrific communicator and one of those guys who just carries himself like a head coach.

All Schwartz has done is lead the Eagles' defense to its first top-five ranking since 2008, Johnson's last year here, and its first No. 1 ranking against the run in 26 years.

He has head coaching experience — he went 29-51 with one playoff season in five years with the Lions from 2009 through 2013 — but his biggest selling point is the work he did this year with a defense that was ranked 28th just two years ago and has evolved into one of the NFL's elite units.

A couple things are working against Schwartz. Most teams are looking for offensive head coaches these days. They want a head coach who can help develop a young franchise quarterback. Schwartz also may not be the ideal front man for a franchise. He's great with the media but trends toward the sarcastic and acerbic, and some teams may not want that personality as the face of the franchise. And then there's that 29-51 record in Detroit.

As for Reich, I'd be surprised if he's seriously considered for a head coaching job, simply because most teams are going to credit DeFilippo and Pederson for Wentz's development. And at 56 with no head coaching experience, Reich's not going to be considered a "hot" candidate.

The Eagles are in an interesting position with DeFilippo and Reich. Flip's contract is up, so he can go wherever he wants once the season is over. He's a coaching free agent who's going to be in tremendous demand. If he doesn't get a head coaching offer, he's sure to get numerous offensive coordinator offers.

One thing is virtually certain: He won't be back with the Eagles as quarterbacks coach. If the Eagles want to keep him if he doesn't get a head coaching job, they'd probably have to make him offensive coordinator or assistant head coach and give him an enormous raise.

Where would that leave Reich? Would they fire or reassign Reich in order to keep Flip? It's possible. If the Eagles continue to struggle with Nick Foles at quarterback, Reich could be made the scapegoat for the offense's late-season struggles to clear the way for DeFilippo.

If the Eagles do lose DeFilippo and keep Reich, I could see wide receivers coach Mike Groh seamlessly becoming quarterbacks coach. Groh was a star quarterback at Virginia and has served as a big-time college quarterbacks coach and the passing game coordinator last year with the Rams under Jeff Fisher.

Another viable candidate would be current assistant QBs coach Press Taylor, a college quarterback himself at Marshall and originally a Chip Kelly hire back in 2013.

As for Schwartz, I'm not sure there's a clear heir apparent internally, although another Kelly hire, Cory Undlin, has done wonders with the defensive backs over the last three years and would certainly make sense.

Then there's Spagnuolo, who is expected to be let go with the Giants' purge. Spags was a quality control coach with the Eagles in 1999, when Pederson played here, so there is a connection there.

Whatever is next, it's clear that some of the most important decisions Pederson has to make won't come until after the season ends.

Eagles 2018 regular-season breakdown (Part 1)

Eagles 2018 regular-season breakdown (Part 1)

A game-by-game breakdown of the Eagles’ 2018 regular-season schedule.

For Weeks 9-17, click right here. Let’s break down Weeks 1-8 below.

Week 1: Falcons at Eagles
8:20 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

The Falcons come to Philadelphia for a third straight season. The Eagles won 24-15 at the Linc in 2016 and 15-10 last year in the conference semifinal round of the playoffs. The Eagles are 6-1 all-time against the Falcons at the Linc, with the only loss coming in 2012. They’re 19-14-1 all-time vs. the Falcons and 11-6-1 at home. The Falcons’ last win over the Eagles came in 2015 at the Georgia Dome. Going back to 2000, the Eagles have won 10 of the last 14 games against Atlanta.
Week 2: Eagles at Buccaneers
1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018
Raymond James Stadium

The Eagles travel to Tampa for the first time in five years to face the Buccaneers. They’re 4-3 all-time in Tampa and 3-1 at Raymond James. The Bucs beat the Eagles 45-17 at the Linc in 2015 in their last meeting. The Eagles won in 2013 in the last game in Tampa. Overall, the Eagles are 10-8 against the Bucs.
Week 3: Colts at Eagles
1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

From 1996 through 2006, the Eagles lost four straight to the Colts by an average of 25 points. But they’ve won the two matchups since, at the Linc in 2010 and at Lucas Oil Stadium in 2014. Including their years in Baltimore, the Eagles are 9-10 all-time vs. the Colts and 5-5 at home but just 1-0 at the Linc. Since the Colts moved to Indianapolis, the Eagles are 4-5 against them.
Week 4: Eagles at Titans
1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018
Nissan Stadium

The Titans have won four of the last five games against the Eagles, although the Eagles won the last meeting, 43-24, at the Linc in 2014. The Eagles are 7-4 all-time against the Titans/Oilers franchise and 3-2 on the road, but the last road win was the House of Pain game at the Astrodome in 1991. The Eagles  are 0-2 against the Titans in Nashville.
Week 5: Eagles vs. Vikings
4:25 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

The Eagles have won seven of their last nine games against the Vikings, including a 38-7 rout in last year’s NFC Championship Game at the Linc. They are 4-1 at the Linc vs. the Vikings, 10-6 in Philly and 14-13 all-time in a series dating back to 1962. Since 1980, the Eagles have won 14 of 20 matchups, including all four postseason meetings. The Eagles have won eight of their last nine home games against the Vikings, with the only loss coming in 2010.
Week 6: Eagles at Giants
8:20 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 14, 2018
MetLife Stadium

The Eagles are 9-2 in their last 11 meetings with the Giants in East Rutherford, and their last three wins on the road against the Giants have come with different coaches at the helm – Chip Kelly in 2014, Pat Shurmur in 2015 and Doug Pederson in 2017. The Eagles’ only losses at MetLife Stadium since it opened in 2010 came in 2012 and 2016.
Week 7: Panthers at Eagles
1 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

The Eagles and Panthers meet for the fifth time in seven years. The Eagles beat Carolina 28-23 in Charlotte, N.C., last October, and won the last meeting in Philadelphia 45-21 in 2014. The Eagles are 7-4 all-time vs. the Panthers, 4-2 at home and 3-2 at the Linc. The Eagles’ last home loss to Carolina came in 2012, late in Andy Reid’s final season as head coach.
Week 8: Eagles at Jaguars
9:30 a.m., Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018
Wembley Stadium, London

After losing their first three games against the Jaguars, the Eagles have won the last two, in Jacksonville in 2010 by 25 points and at the Linc in 2014 by 17 points. The Eagles are 1-2 against the Jaguars in Jacksonville, with the losses coming in 1997 and 2002. The Eagles have never played a regular-season game in London. The Jaguars have played every year since 2013 at Wembley, where they are 3-2.

Eagles 2018 regular-season breakdown (Part 2)

Eagles 2018 regular-season breakdown (Part 2)

A game-by-game breakdown of the Eagles’ 2018 regular-season schedule.

For Weeks 1-8, click right here. Let’s break down Weeks 9-17 below.

Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018
Bye week

Week 10: Cowboys at Eagles
8:20 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

The Cowboys have given the Eagles more trouble than any other division team of late, winning four of the last seven meetings and five of the last six at the Linc. The Eagles’ only home wins over the Cowboys since 2009 have been in 2011 and 2016. The Eagles overall are 52-66 against the Cowboys, 28-29 in Philly and 6-9 at the Linc. The Eagles haven’t swept the Cowboys since 2011. They lost, 6-0, to the Cowboys on the last day of last season with Nate Sudfeld playing most of the game at quarterback.

Week 11: Eagles at Saints
1 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018
Mercedes-Benz Superdome

The Eagles are 17-13 all-time vs. the Saints but have lost five of seven meetings dating back to 2006. They beat the Saints at the Linc in 2015 after losing to them in a playoff game in 2014. Their last game in New Orleans was a 28-13 loss in 2012. They last won in New Orleans late in the 2007 season. Overall, they’re 8-9 in New Orleans but they’re 8-5 since the Saints moved from Tulane Stadium to the Superdome.

Week 12: Giants at Eagles
1 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

The Eagles are 16-4 in their last 20 games against the Giants, including a four-game home winning streak. A win at the Linc this year would give the Eagles their longest home winning streak against the Giants since they won five straight from 1988 through 1992. The Eagles last year swept the Giants for the third time in the last four years, with the two wins coming by a total of just eight points. The Eagles are 84-86-2 all-time vs. the Giants, including a 10-6 record at the Linc.

Week 13: Redskins at Eagles
8:15 p.m., Monday, Dec. 3, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

The Eagles swept the Redskins last year for the first time since 2013 after losing five straight against their division rivals. Overall, the Eagles are 78-86-6 against the Redskins in a series that dates back to 1934. They’re 39-42-3 at home against the ‘Skins and 8-7 at the Linc. The Redskins have beaten the Eagles six times in their last 12 meetings at the Linc.

Week 14: Eagles at Cowboys
4:25 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018
AT&T Stadium

The Eagles have won six of their last eight games in Dallas, losing only in 2012 by five points and in 2016 in overtime. Their 28-point margin of victory at AT&T Stadium last November was the Cowboys’ ninth-worst home loss ever. Their last three home losses by 28 or more points have been against the Eagles. The Eagles are 24-37 all-time against Dallas on the road but 6-4 at AT&T Stadium.

Week 15: Eagles at Rams
8:20 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018
LA Memorial Coliseum

The Eagles have won five straight games against the Rams, including two wins in St. Louis, two at the Linc and last year’s comeback in L.A. after losing Carson Wentz for the season. The Eagles are 21-19-1 all-time against the Rams, 6-11-1 on the road and 1-5 at LA Coliseum. Their last loss to the Rams was a meaningless late-season game in 2004. Their last loss to the Rams in Los Angeles came in 1977.

Week 16: Texans at Eagles
1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

The Eagles have never lost to the Texans, beating them in Houston in 2006 on opening day and in 2014 and in Philly in 2002 and 2010, with all four wins by double digits and by an average of 13 points per game. The Texans and Jets are the only current NFL franchises the Eagles have never lost to.

Week 17: Eagles at Redskins
1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018
FedEx Field

The Eagles have lost three of their last four games at FedEx Field, with those three losses coming by an average of about four points per game. They did win by 10 points last year during their nine-game winning streak, their biggest win in Landover since 2010. The Eagles are 37-44-3 all-time vs. the Redskins on the road, including three games played in Boston in the 1930s. They’re 12-9 all-time at FedEx Field.