Frank Reich

Duce Staley would have been the easier choice

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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. (They did, according to a league source, reward Staley with a new title: Assistant head coach/running backs.)

The 46-year-old Groh 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

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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 on Tuesday. 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. 

Staley did get a consolation prize though. According to league sources, the longtime Eagle will get a new title of assistant head coach/running backs. Staley 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. ESPN's Josina Anderson first reported the new title for Staley. 

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. 

'Going dark' worked out well for Frank Reich

'Going dark' worked out well for Frank Reich

Frank Reich was not on the Colts' initial shortlist of head coaching candidates before they decided on and were burned by Josh McDaniels. 

Even if he was, he wouldn't have known. 

Because when Reich, introduced as the Colts' head coach on Tuesday, was still the Eagles' offensive coordinator, he was singularly focused on the playoffs. In fact, he wasn't prepared to even talk about another job while the Eagles were making their run to Super Bowl LII. 

Reich told his agent, Bob LaMonte, to hold his calls. 

"The stance that I took with my agent," Reich said, "the words were basically this: 'I'm going dark. I'm focused on the task at hand. And that's to help our team win playoff games and win the Super Bowl.' 

"And that meant no phone calls, no texts. Now, whether there was any activity or not, I was dark. I was focused on one thing. And after experiencing that and the importance of every detail in preparation for those games, I wouldn't change a thing."

That was a pretty big gamble for Reich. While John DeFilippo took a couple head coach interviews during the bye week, Reich didn't. That could have very well ruled him out from getting a top job and, really, it did until McDaniels backed out in Indy. 

Both Colts owner Jim Irsay and GM Chris Ballard said on Wednesday that they realized how big of a mistake it was to not include Reich on their original shortlist once they interviewed him for the job. 

"The more I think about it, the more I think how could you be so stupid and not see the clarity of it sooner?" Irsay said.

Even after McDaniels backed out of the Colts job, Reich said he never called his agent about Indy. He hoped the Colts would be interested but he wasn't going to chase them. If they didn't call, he was prepared to go back to work as the Eagles' offensive coordinator. Instead, he's one of 32 NFL head coaches. 

Reich's shining moment of his press conference came when he was asked if he loved or hated McDaniels for what happened. 

"The backup role has suited me well in my career," Reich returned, brilliantly. 

Of course, everything worked out great for Reich. His "dark" period didn't stop him from getting a job. In a weird way, it might have helped. And he was able to devote all of his energy to the Eagles' playoff run and he'll now get a Super Bowl ring out of it. 

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.