Eagles

Does anybody want this Eagles' offensive coordinator job?

Does anybody want this Eagles' offensive coordinator job?

It’s been nearly two weeks now, and the Eagles still don’t have an offensive coordinator, and we’re getting to the point where everybody’s wondering what the heck is going on.

Does anybody want this job?

The Eagles targeted Graham Harrell, but he opted to remain offensive coordinator at USC.

They targeted James Urban, but he opted to remain quarterbacks coach of the Ravens.

They targeted Mike Kafka, but he opted to remain quarterbacks coach of the Chiefs.

Those are three names we know, and there’s no way yet to gauge exactly how badly the Eagles wanted each of them, we do know they interviewed Harrell, they spoke with Urban and they had interest in Kafka.

Other teams are snapping up qualified candidates. Many of the top guys are no longer available.

The Dolphins hired Chan Gailey one day after they fired Chad O’Shea. The Redskins hired Scott Turner as soon as Ron Rivera got the job. The Broncos hired Pat Shurmur immediately after firing Rich Scangarello.

Highly sought-after LSU passing game coordinator Joe Brady left for the Panthers a day after LSU beat Clemson.

John DeFilippo, the Eagles’ QBs coach during the 2017 Super Bowl season, accepted the same job with the Bears after getting fired by the Jaguars.

Joe Moorhead, who worked wonders at Penn State in 2016 and 2017 and was fired recently as head coach at Mississippi State, was hired Tuesday as offensive coordinator at Oregon.

Seven of the 10 teams that had offensive coordinator openings have filled them. Only the Eagles, Vikings and Jaguars haven’t filled theirs yet.

It was 13 days ago that Doug Pederson announced Mike Groh would return in 2020 as offensive coordinator. The next day, Groh was fired, and fair or not, there’s certainly a perception that the Eagles are scrambling right now.

Why don’t they have an offensive coordinator yet? Why does it seem like people don’t want the job?

Obviously, Doug Pederson calls the plays here, and Doug isn’t giving that up to whoever takes this job. It’s definitely an easier path to a head coaching job for an offensive coordinator who calls the plays.

But Frank Reich got the Colts’ head coaching job, and he never called plays here. Pederson only called plays occasionally under Andy Reid in Kansas City.

It’s also possible that up-and-coming coaches are wary of joining a staff where the head coach gave the offensive coordinator (and receivers coach) a vote of confidence one day and then fired them the next day. That wasn’t a good look.

There could be a growing perception of instability on Pederson’s coaching staff. He’s fired seven coaches since January of 2017, including three who were on the Super Bowl staff.

Whether or not it’s accurate, that sort of perception can cloud candidates’ decision making. Nobody wants to come into an unstable situation.

It’s also possible the Eagles have had their eye on one person all along and are simply waiting to name him. Sometimes the perception doesn’t match up to the reality. And when a team plays things very close to the vest, like the Eagles have been, it can create a false sense that they’re struggling to find the right guy.

There are still some interesting candidates out there.

Former Redskins head coach Jay Gruden is still out there (update: so much for that). Former Dolphins QBs coach and Colts head coach Jim Caldwell is out there. Marty Mornhinweg is out there. Mike LaFleur, the 49ers’ passing game coordinator, is out there. ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky, who played in the NFL for 11 years, is suddenly a hot name.

And then there’s Duce Staley and Press Taylor, the two internal candidates, who’ve been there in the building all along.

There’s no deadline for this sort of thing, although the sooner someone is in place the better. Obviously the Eagles need an offensive coordinator by the NFL Scouting Combine, which starts Feb. 23 in Indianapolis.

And with each passing day more and more qualified candidates are coming off the board.

The Eagles also have openings for a secondary coach, a defensive line coach and a wide receivers coach, so there are a lot of moving parts here.

And a dwindling talent pool to choose from.

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Darius Slay explains why he’s wearing 24 to honor Kobe Bryant

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Darius Slay

Darius Slay explains why he’s wearing 24 to honor Kobe Bryant

You can still hear the giddiness in Darius Slay’s voice when he talks about Dec. 6, 2015. 

That was a special day for the Eagles’ new cornerback. 

That was the day he met the Kobe Bryant. 

The meeting between the late NBA superstar and the then-third-year NFL pro came after a Lakers-Pistons game at The Palace of Auburn Hills during the 2015 season. It’s a day and a moment Slay will never forget, getting the chance to meet his favorite basketball player and a personal idol. 

And now with the Eagles, Slay will honor Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, by wearing the No. 24 for the football team Bryant loved. 

“I was surprised that he even knew me,” Slay said. “I don’t know if the people told him, ‘You got Darius Slay out there waiting on you from the Detroit Lions’ or gave him a pre-talk about me or something. I don’t know. 

“But the fact that he came around the corner and (there) was like 20 to 30 reporters waiting on him, he kind of walked past all the reporters, everybody and came directly to me, like, ‘What’s up Slay? I love your game, man.’ He was talking about my style of play and we just chopped it up for a minute.”

Slay said he was so in shock that day he barely had any words to speak but he was able to hold a short conversation. Then Slay got Kobe’s autograph and they took a few photos together, including this one: 

Slay previously wore No. 23 in Detroit but that number is occupied by Rodney McLeod with the Eagles. And Jordan Howard, who wore 24 last year, left for Miami as a free agent. So things lined up perfectly for Slay to take the second of Kobe’s two retired numbers. 

When Bryant died in January, it became even more apparent how much he meant to his fellow athletes. When Bryant visited the Eagles in LA during the 2017 season, there was a similar giddiness with them. There’s a really good chance that Bryant was your favorite athlete’s favorite athlete. 

“I just love how much he competed,” Slay said. “He was a true competitor. He worked on his craft. I believe the work you put in is [what] you get out of it.” 

Slay said he also really admired that Bryant was always willing to seek out answers from others, most notably Michael Jordan. Even though Bryant was constantly being compared to Jordan, he was never hesitant to pick Jordan’s brain. 

Similarly, Slay said he loves talking to other cornerbacks and asking advice. He doesn’t care who that cornerback is; if he has a question about their technique or facing a particular receiver, he’s going to ask. 

“It’s just the part about doing anything and be willing to do anything to be good and be great,” Slay said. “That’s why I took out a lot of stuff that he did and that’s what I’ll continue to keep doing.”

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5-year-old Eagles impersonator gets Boston Scott's stamp of approval

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USA Today Sports Images/@SirRobin83/Twitter

5-year-old Eagles impersonator gets Boston Scott's stamp of approval

With professional sports on pause around the world, fans are looking for anything - video games, simulations, classic games - to satisfy that live sports itch.

We may have found the ultimate placeholder: a five-year-old imitating Boston Scott's infamous spin-o-rama.

On Saturday afternoon, Twitter user Robin Stanley tagged Scott in a quick video of his son, Beckett, pretending to be the Eagles running back:

I mean, c'mon: the likeness to Scott's spin move against the Giants is kind of uncanny.

In case you need to jog your memory, here is Scott's spin:

Scott, of course, made fun of himself for the move at the time, admitting that when he saw the clip after the game, it "looked pretty silly".

I'd say Beckett's spin had a little more swag.

Stanley's dad, a Philly native, told NBC Sports Philadelphia his son was expecting to play his first season of flag football this spring down in Nashville, but the league was postponed because of social distancing mandates, so he's making do.

On Saturday, Scott saw Stanley's video and gave the little man a nod of approval:

That's just good, clean fun. Thank you, Beckett, for the sports-related smile.

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