The 10 greatest assistant coaches in Eagles history

The 10 greatest assistant coaches in Eagles history

It’s not surprising that a list of the 10 greatest assistant coaches in Eagles history is led by three legendary former defensive coordinators.

This franchise has always prided itself first on tremendous defense.

But this list includes a little bit of everything.

Offensive coordinators from a couple Super Bowl teams, two brilliant offensive line coaches, a special teams coach that went on to win a Super Bowl as a head coach and two more extraordinary position coaches.

If you missed our 10 worst assistant coaches in Eagles history, that list is here.

Here, in alphabetical order, are their polar opposites: The 10 greatest assistant coaches in Eagles history.

Marion Campbell

If all you remember about Swamp Fox is that he was a mediocre head coach between the Dick Vermeil and Buddy Ryan eras, consider this: Campbell was Vermeil’s defensive coordinator from 1977 through 1982, and the Eagles had the best defense in the NFL during that six-year period, allowing just 15.8 points per game (the league average was 19.5). The Eagles were never ranked below seventh in the NFL in the five full seasons Swampy coached, and they were No. 1 in both 1980 and 1981 — the only time since 1950 the Eagles have had the NFL’s best defense in consecutive years.

Bud Carson

During the legendary Carson’s four years as defensive coordinator, from 1991 through 1994, the Eagles allowed the fewest yards in the NFL and sixth-fewest points, ranked No. 1 against the pass, No. 7 against the run, No. 1 in takeaways, No. 1 in first downs allowed, No. 1 in third-down conversions. Those may not have been great teams, but they were sure great defenses. Bud’s 1991 team allowed 221 yards per game, lowest by any NFL team since the 1974 Steelers, also coached by Carson.

Juan Castillo

Before Castillo became offensive line coach in 1997, the Eagles hadn’t had a Pro Bowl offensive lineman since 1981. During Castillo’s 14 years as O-line coach, five different Eagles O-linemen made a total of nine Pro Bowls. A terrific teacher, a tremendous motivator and a tireless worker, Castillo spent a total of 18 years as an Eagles assistant under Ray Rhodes and Andy Reid, the last two as defensive coordinator. He’s currently coaching O-line with the Bears under Matt Nagy, who coached with Castillo in Philly under Reid.

Sid Gillman

The hugely influential Gillman was one of the original architects of the NFL’s down-field passing game during his years with the Rams and Chargers in the 1950s and 1960s. He’s the only coach in both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame. Gillman was 68 and had already retired once when Vermeil hired him as offensive coordinator in 1979. The Eagles ranked 12th, sixth and fifth in Gillman’s three years here, reached the playoffs all three years and the Super Bowl in 1980.

John Harbaugh

You could tell his first day on the job in 1998 Harbaugh had all the tools for greatness. He was smart, he was tough, he was driven. Harbs took over a special teams unit in shambles and turned it into one of the best in the league. Reid kept him when he replaced Rhodes and moved him to the secondary in 2007 to help his chances to land a head coaching job. Harbs has now been with the Ravens 12 years, reached the playoffs seven years and won a Super Bowl. 

Dale Haupt

Ryan brought Haupt over with him from the Bears as defensive line coach, and he stayed here under Rich Kotite and for a year under Rhodes. Reggie White raved about Haupt’s ability to teach, and when you think about the talent he worked with — Reggie, Jerome, Clyde, William Fuller — it’s remarkable. During Haupt’s 10 years here, the Eagles had 43 more sacks than any other NFL team and the No. 4 run defense in the league. 

Jim Johnson

In Johnson’s remarkable decade, the Eagles ranked No. 2 in the NFL in defense three times, No. 4 once, seventh once and ninth once. But the innovative Johnson saved his best work for the postseason, where the Eagles allowed an average of 15.8 points in 17 postseason games. That’s amazing. Only four of those 17 opponents scored more than 20 points. Hall of Famer Brian Dawkins credits Johnson for taking his career to the next level, and he’s one of many. The Pro Football Hall of Fame hasn’t admitted any assistant coaches yet, but if they do, Johnson should be at the top of the list.

Frank Reich

The 2017 season was magical in a lot of ways, and offensive coordinator Reich was in the middle of much of it. Reich spent only two years here, but he had a huge role in an offense that ranked No. 4 in the league in scoring over his two years and was unstoppable in the 2017 NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl under backup QB Nick Foles. Reich is entering his third year as head coach of the Colts.

Duce Staley

Anybody who can work under Reid, Chip Kelly and Doug Pederson must be doing something right. After spending seven years here as a player, Duce has been coaching here for 10 years in several different roles. But in his seven years as running backs coach — despite rotating 15 different running backs during that span — the Eagles have the seventh-most rushing yards in the NFL. All his backs swear by Duce, and Staley definitely deserves consideration for any head coaching jobs that open up.

Jeff Stoutland

Like Duce, Stoutland is a holdover from Kelly’s staff, and the former Alabama offensive line coach has had tremendous success here, with Brandon Brooks, Jason Peters, Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson all making at least three Pro Bowls under Stout. Only three other offensive linemen in Eagles history have made three Pro Bowls (Bob Brown, Jim Ringo and Tra Thomas). Four of the Eagles’ nine first-team All-Pro O-linemen in franchise history played under Stoutland.

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A lost opportunity for Sidney Jones in Roob's 10 Observations

A lost opportunity for Sidney Jones in Roob's 10 Observations

A lost opportunity for Sidney Jones, an unbelievable Sam Bradford stat and the continuing saga of Reb Russell.

It's all right here in this weekend's Roob's 10 Eagles Observations! 

1. I keep trying to convince myself, "This will be the year we see the real Sidney Jones." And coming out of last year, I really believed Jones, going into Year 4, had a chance to really get his legs healthy this spring and then show everybody in minicamps, OTAs, training camp and the preseason games that he could hold down the CB2 opposite Darius Slay. But if the curtailed offseason and preseason hurts anybody the most, it's Jones. The Eagles have made it clear Avonte Maddox is the projected starter, and as long Maddox stays healthy I don't see how Sidney can win the job. Without any spring workouts or preseason games? Can Jones do enough just in a few weeks of training camp practice to beat out Maddox? I don't think so.

2. Who has the highest 4th-quarter passer rating among Eagles quarterbacks? Going back to 1994, as far back as the Pro Football Reference database logs quarter-by-quarter stats, here's the surprising answer (minimum of 100 4th-quarter attempts):

95.9 ... Sam Bradford

88.4 ... Michael Vick

84.5 ... Carson Wentz

83.6 ... Donovan McNabb

81.9 ... Nick Foles

76.9 ... Rodney Peele

76.7 ... Mark Sanchez

70.3 ... Ty Detmer

64.1 ... Bobby Hoying

62.7 ... Randall Cunningham

59.0 ... Koy Detmer 

(Remember, this only includes Randall's last two years with the Eagles) 

3. As good as T.O. was in 2004, he was on his way to an even bigger season in 2005 before he imploded and got himself suspended. Owens was 47-for-763 with 6 TDs after seven games, which put him on pace for 107 catches and 1,744 yards with 13 TDs. The only players in NFL history to reach those plateaus in a season are Jerry Rice and Isaac Bruce. T.O.'s 93.5 yards per game as an Eagle is 23 yards per game more than any other WR in franchise history. DeSean Jackson (69.7), Mike Quick (64.0), Irving Fryar (63.9) and Jeremy Maclin (63.6) are next.

4. If the NFL does wind up reducing rosters from 90 to 75 because of the curtailed or eliminated preseason and for social distancing purposes, the league needs to give each team the opportunity to retain the rights of some or all of the players they're forced to release. Maybe pay them a weekly reduced salary and let them participate in virtual meetings and remain part of the team without actually being at practice. It would be a shame to see the Eagles forced to cut ties with promising kids like Adrian Killians Jr., Grayland Arnold, Raequan Williams, Mike Warren, Sua Opeta or Deontay Burnett because of the current circumstances. The league and the NFLPA need to find a way to make sure that doesn't happen.

5. I just remembered the Eagles paid Nelson Agholor $9.387 million last year.

6. The Frankford Yellow Jackets won the 1926 NFL Championship, but by the early 1930s, they may have been the worst professional sports team in Philadelphia history. They won only 3 of their last 24 games and scored 7 or fewer points in 20 of those 24 games. 

7. What are the odds that the Eagles' two recent Hall of Famers — Brian Dawkins and Harold Carmichael — went to the same high school? Both graduated from Raines High in Jacksonville. Raines has produced numerous other NFL players, including Lito Sheppard, Shawn Jefferson and Ken Burrough, along with baseball's Vince Coleman. Surprisingly, 16 high schools produced multiple Hall of Famers, including one — George Washington in L.A. — that produced three (James Lofton, Hugh McElhenny, Bill Walsh). 

8. Carson Wentz's 32 wins are 15th-most in NFL history by a quarterback in his first four seasons. He's also one of only five of the top 20 that didn't win a playoff game during those four years. The others are Matt Ryan, Andy Dalton, Steve Grogan, Peyton Manning and Carson Palmer. Ryan won one in his 5th season, Manning in his 6th and Palmer in his 14th. Dalton and Grogan never did win one. One of these years, Wentz will win one. Right?

9. Donovan McNabb had already won four playoff games and reached two NFC Championship Games by the end of his fourth season.

10. Everyone seemed to enjoy last week's excerpt from newspaper coverage of the Eagles' first game in franchise history in 1933, so here's an excerpt from the Inquirer story reporting the first win in franchise history, 6-0 over the Reds later in 1933: 

"Tall, slab-sided, loose-limbed Swede Hanson, the new Galloping Ghost of the commercial gridiron, raced over the last white stripe today, as the Philadelphia Eagles achieved their first conquest of the season, 6-0. Hanson, lean and lank and lantern jawed, was the hero of this game, as he has starred in all of the frays in which the Eagles have been a part. For two periods, the Birds and their Red foes battered away at the line or sought the air but all in vain. In the third quarter, however, the Wraymen turned into a devastating horde." 

The story goes on to describe Hanson's touchdown, the game's only score: 

"It was fourth down now and the goal line beckoning in tantalizing fashion straight ahead. Then Hanson and (Reb) Russell outwtitted their foes. Reb came tearing in as if to shoot off tackle. The Reds tumbled through upon the former Purple hero, however, who was ready for this emergency. As the gang tried to pile up, Russell flipped a lateral, straight and unerring, right into Hanson's arms. Like a flash, the Swede lighted out for the end, slipped past two tackles and went over the line."

Wraymen? Really? Remember, that team's coach was Lud Wray. Guess I should start calling the Eagles the Dougmen?

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Report: NFLPA board unanimously recommends to cancel entire preseason 

Report: NFLPA board unanimously recommends to cancel entire preseason 

Just two days after we learned the NFL’s plan to cut the 2020 preseason in half, the NFL Players Association is reportedly recommending that the league cancel the entire preseason. 

The NFLPA’s board of representatives voted unanimously on the recommendation, according to ESPN. 

On Wednesday, ProFootballTalk reported that the NFL was cutting the preseason in half because of the coronavirus pandemic, keeping Weeks 2 and 3 but eliminating Weeks 1 and 4. Other reports indicated that those preseason games would be pushed back later into August. 

If the Eagles end up playing the original Weeks 2 and 3 of their preseason schedule, they will face the Dolphins on the road and the Patriots at home. They were originally scheduled to be at Indianapolis in Week 1 and at home against the Jets in Week 4, but those games have already been canceled. 

The NFL is still planning for training camps to begin on July 28 with rookies and select vets allowed to report earlier. 

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said earlier this offseason that his team will need the entire five-to-six-week training camp to get ready for the 2020 season, especially after missing the entire spring workout schedule because of the pandemic. 

The Eagles are scheduled to begin their 2020 regular season in Washington on Sept. 13. 

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