Eagles

Eagles mailbag: What should the Eagles do at wide receiver next year?

Eagles mailbag: What should the Eagles do at wide receiver next year?

The Eagles will face off against the Giants tonight but we still have plenty of time to kill. 

We answered half of your questions yesterday.

Here are the rest. 

It’s a fair question. Jackson just turned 33 and his body failed him this season. He had one tremendous game and that was it. Recently, in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Joe Banner said he thinks the Eagles will move on from Alshon Jeffery and Jackson. 

If that happens, we’re talking about serious dead money. In Jackson’s situation, Banner wondered if Jackson would maybe be open to moving some of his salary to bonuses. That would certainly be worth a shot. Try to get Jackson to bet on himself with the chance to make even more money. 

If I’m the Eagles, I’m open to bringing Jackson back, but they just can’t let that be their solution. They need to get younger at the position, which leads us to this next question … 

They can’t think like this. When you focus in on one position, you end up reaching and get Marcus Smith. The Eagles have to be smarter than that. With that said, if it’s a tie, I’d go receiver. 

While they certainly need help at cornerback, the Eagles’ biggest problem this season has been at receiver. They need to upgrade there and finally hit on one in the draft. Take a look at every receiver they’ve drafted this decade: 

2019: JJ Arcega-Whiteside (2nd round) 
2017: Mack Hollins (4th round) 
2017: Shelton Gibson (5th round) 
2015: Nelson Agholor (1st round) 
2014: Jordan Matthews (2nd round) 
2014: Josh Huff (3rd round)
2012: Marvin McNutt (6th round) 
2010: Riley Cooper (5th round) 

The Eagles haven’t had much success, but they need to find a way to give Carson Wentz more weapons. They’ve invested so much in Wentz, so they need to at least try to surround him with more talent. 

Jason Kelce was a sixth-rounder back in 2011 and he’s been a Pro Bowler. Getting Kelce in the sixth round qualifies as one of the best draft picks in franchise history. 

The real problem for the Eagles is that they’re not drafting Pro Bowl players even in the early rounds. Since 2010, the Eagles have drafted six players who have become a Pro Bowler for them: Kelce, Fletcher Cox, Nick Foles, Lane Johnson, Zach Ertz, Carson Wentz. 

During that same timeframe, the Cowboys have drafted 12. 

Probably not the way you want them to and I get why that’s frustrating. With Jim Schwartz as the defensive coordinator, the Eagles have drafted just two linebackers: Nate Gerry in the fifth round and Joe Walker in the seventh. When going through position coaches last week, I actually gave LBs coach Ken Flajole a lot of credit because he’s done the most with little. 

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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. 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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Eagle Eye podcast: The best offensive coordinator candidates left

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Eagle Eye podcast: The best offensive coordinator candidates left

On the latest Eagle Eye podcast, Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro go over the latest news from the Eagles’ offensive coordinator search. 

The best candidates left. Taking a guess at the hire. Also, Andy Reid is heading to the Super Bowl … and so is Raheem Mostert. 

That and more on the latest Eagle Eye podcast: 

• Updating the Eagles’ search 
• Who are the top candidates left?
• Figuring out if Duce Staley makes sense  
• Each guy takes a guess at the next OC 
• Big Red is back in the Super Bowl 
• Stealing one player from each team 
• Raheem Mostert’s rise to stardom 

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