A day after Doug Pederson said the Eagles would bring back offensive coordinator Mike Groh, the Eagles have fired Groh and WRs coach Carson Walch.
So now Pederson is entering Year 5 and will be looking for his third different offensive coordinator, following Frank Reich and Groh.
Here’s a quick list of some possible candidates:
Duce Staley: Before the Eagles hired Groh, they also interviewed Staley and didn’t hire him. Instead, they kept Duce in his role as running backs coach and tacked on the title of assistant head coach, which hasn’t really meant much.
During his seven years as a running backs coach, Staley has done a phenomenal job. He’s highly regarded in that position, but it’s worth noting that the Eagles have been hesitant to promote him to OC, opting for a passing mind the last time they had a decision to make. If Staley, 44, doesn’t get the OC job this time, he’ll probably have to go elsewhere if he wants to move up in the coaching world.
Press Taylor: This wouldn’t be a popular pick but he’s the only other internal candidate who really makes sense. Taylor is still just 31 and has been the Eagles’ QBs coach for two years now after the Eagles promoted him to replace John DeFilippo. The next offensive coordinator will need to have a close connection to Carson Wentz and we at least already know Taylor has that.
For a while, it was looking like Taylor might be on the hot seat, but Wentz was fantastic down the stretch in the 2019 season. Was Wentz good enough to get his position coach promoted? Maybe. But maybe this OC hire needs to come from outside the building.
Mike Kafka: The 32-year-old former quarterback is a hot name. Right now, he’s the Chiefs’ quarterbacks coach under Andy Reid. The thought here was that Eric Bieniemy was going to get a head coaching job and Kafka could then replace him. But that hasn’t happened, so Kafka might have to leave Kansas City to find his next job.
Kafka actually played for Pederson in 2010-11 with the Eagles while Pederson was still an assistant. So if Doug is looking for someone he knows well and who understands what he wants offensively, Kafka makes sense. It’s been a quick climb for Kakfa, whose coaching career began in 2016 as a graduate assistant with Northwestern before Reid brought him to Kansas City.
Jay Gruden: If the Eagles want to get away from the Reid tree, Gruden is an option. The former Redskins’ head coach was the Bengals’ offensive coordinator from 2011-13. He spent over five years with the Redskins and had a 35-49-1 record but it’s hard to win in Washington with all that disfunction.
The 52-year-old will need to take an OC job if he wants to get back to a head coaching job. A fresh perspective might help the Eagles too.
Pat Shurmur: Don’t laugh. Shurmur hasn’t been a very good head coach at his two stops but he’s been a pretty good offensive coordinator in the past. He was obviously the OC under Chip Kelly here in Philly but he comes from the Reid tree and has familiarity with Pederson and the basics of the offense.
Marty Mornhinweg: Another retread of sorts, Mornhinweg is a longtime member of the Reid tree. He was the OC and assistant head coach in Philly from 2006-12. He’s been a former head coach and was most recently the Ravens’ OC from 2016-18. He’s 57 now but Mornhinweg has always been a good offensive mind.
Mike Shula: If you want one more name from outside, how about Shula? He’s still technically with the Giants as their OC and QBs coach but there’s a new head coach in New York, so the 54-year-old might become available. He’s been around for a long time in the NFL and briefly as the head coach at Alabama. He was the Panthers’ OC from 2013-17, when they went to the playoffs in four of five seasons.
James Urban: With the Ravens, Urban has done a great job in the last two years with Lamar Jackson and the 46-year-old has a history with the Eagles. He was actually the Birds’ QBs coach before Pederson in 2009-10, when Pederson joined the staff as an offensive quality control coach. These two worked very closely during those years.