Fate of Eagles' assistants tied to length of playoff run

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Fate of Eagles' assistants tied to length of playoff run

Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz was asked Tuesday about potentially being a candidate for head-coaching jobs this upcoming offseason. It was only a matter of time before the question came up. It’s been a topic of conversation for as long as he’s been with the team.

Schwartz was a head coach for five seasons in Detroit, and there’s little doubt he’d like another opportunity. Now that the Eagles have one of the best defenses in the NFL, he very well may draw some interest again.

And he’s not alone. Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo are on the radar, having played significant roles in the development of Carson Wentz. In fact, Reich and DeFilippo might be stronger candidates than Schwartz because of the league’s preference for offensive-minded coaches. Running backs coach Duce Staley could be in line for interviews as well, and some have even mentioned special teams coordinator Dave Fipp as possibly on the move.

It’s only natural. The Eagles are 10-2 and almost certainly heading to the playoffs, and Sunday’s loss in Seattle aside, they look like one of the best teams in football. Assistants from successful programs tend to be rewarded with head-coaching jobs and coordinator promotions.

Of course, if the Eagles want to avoid having their coaching staff ransacked come January, there is a relatively simple solution: Just make sure the team is still playing in February.

The longer the Eagles’ season lasts, the less likely it is another franchise will steal their assistants, and the reasoning is simple. NFL teams generally try to settle on a head coach as quickly as possible, so that coach can fill out his staff as quickly as possible to allow the organization to move on to preparing for free agency and the draft as quickly as possible.

If the Eagles make it all the way to the Super Bowl, or even just the conference title game, there are front offices that won’t want to wait and will inevitably wind up going in a different direction. There are enough quality head-coaching candidates available, but a lot of competition involved in trying to assemble a staff.

What could further complicate matters is if the Eagles fail to earn a first-round bye in the playoffs yet still manage to mount a lengthy run. At least a bye week affords candidates a comfortable window to go interview. Without the bye, assistants can interview only the following week, with the Eagles’ permission, while preparing for a divisional-round playoff game. Then, if the Eagles are able to advance, the window closes until after the conference championship.

Obviously, it’s a tad presumptuous to suggest the Eagles will be playing deep into January in a tight conference. That being said, if the concern over assistants leaving is tied to the Eagles’ success, the truth is more success in the playoffs actually reduces the odds of a vast number of defections.

There are exceptions, of course. Most recently, the 49ers decided to hire Kyle Shanahan this past offseason, despite the fact that he was still working for the Falcons in February. It can happen.

Shanahan was also one of the hottest coaching candidates in recent memory. Would Schwartz generate that kind of buzz? Would Reich or DeFilippo?

The reality is it’s impossible to predict which franchises will fall in love with which candidates, and how desperate they are to fill those vacancies. Just as it’s impossible to predict how deep into the postseason the Eagles will be playing, and how that might influence front offices across the league.

By the same token, it would be premature to write off any particular Eagles assistant on his way out. Because while there are numerous qualified candidates for head-coaching and coordinator jobs on Doug Pederson’s staff, whether or not they land any of the upcoming openings could depend on one key factor.

Their availability in January.

JJ Redick responds to video in which he allegedly used racial slur

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JJ Redick responds to video in which he allegedly used racial slur

Updated at 12:50 a.m.

Early Sunday, a video surfaced on social media that appeared to put Sixers’ guard JJ Redick in an extremely poor light. Redick has since responded to clear up the situation.

Here’s what happened:

At about 8 a.m., a post appeared on Reddit showing a screenshot and caption alleging that Redick said a racial slur during a video from NBA players wishing Chinese fans a Happy New Year. The video caused a huge uproar on social media. If you wish to see the video, it is located here, at the top.

On the surface, without a response, it looked odd from the start. Redick, who we have come to know as a well-spoken individual who is typically very appreciative of basketball fans, isn’t someone you’d expect this from, let alone with a camera pointing directly at his face with an NBA microphone in front of his lips.

He offered this response on his official Twitter account, saying he was tongue-tied and had no intentions of saying what he did on the video.

Fans reacted on both sides of the issue, some still asking for an apology and others taking Redick for his word. 

On Sunday night, Redick followed up with a longer statement on his Twitter and Instagram, where he further explained himself and indeed issued an apology.

Please read. Thank you.

A post shared by JJ Redick (@jjredick) on

Early Monday, Brooklyn Nets guard Jeremy Lin tweeted a statement saying that he spoke with Redick and believes the Sixers' guard didn't say a racial slur.

With the All-Star Break going on, Redick won’t be available for a few more days for the media to ask him about this. There’s a chance this story will continue into next week.

The Process is ready for primetime

The Process is ready for primetime

Basically, you saw everything you'd want to see from Ben Simmons, Dario Saric and Joel Embiid during the Rising Stars Challenge on All-Star Friday night, as they kept doing what they've basically done all February: winning. 

Ben Simmons was electric all over the court, ending with 11 points (5-5 FG, mostly dunks), six boards, a game-high 13 assists and a team-high four steals. A still-locked-in Dario Saric was the beneficiary of a handful of those dimes, ending with 18 points (7-11 FG, 4-7 3PT), three boards and five assists. 

Joel Embiid had an underwhelming stat line in his thankfully clipped playing time (just eight minutes after sitting out Wednesday's game — we'll see him more on Sunday), ending with just five points and two boards, and not exactly displaying the defensive dominance we're accustomed to from our big man. But the five points came on back-to-back possessions in the third, where JoJo nailed a top-of-the-break three and then scored on a dunk following a Fultzian spin move to the basket, showing the range of his skills in an appropriately breathtaking (and Internet-slaying) manner. 

And of course, the Sixers — I mean, Team World — won handily, outscoring Team USA in every quarter and ultimately triumphing 155-124. Even though Sacramento's Bogdan Bogdanovic took home MVP honors on the night for his white-hot shooting night (26 points on 9-16 FG, including a handful of Steph Curry-esque extended pull-up triples), I thought Simmons was the best all-around player on the floor, another thumb in the eye of the All-Star committee that snubbed him (four times!) for the proper game on Sunday night. 

Perhaps more importantly, the Sixers' presence just dominated the game altogether. Hell, they made up 3/5 of Team World's starting lineup — no other team had more than two representatives, across both squads, though the Lakers would have were Lonzo Ball available — and in the broadcast booth, the TNT guys couldn't stop talking about Embiid all night, comparing him to Hakeem and debating whether they'd ever seen a big man of his versatility before. 

And to think, this year they'll actually be represented on Saturday and Sunday, too. Hopefully Ben and Dario get a nice, relaxing All-Star break from here — they've certainly earned it — and now, it's Embiid's spotlight. The Process is ready for primetime, baby, and longtime Trusters should make sure to enjoy this moment as much as JoJo himself undoubtedly will.