All the changes, all the coaches getting hired and fired, all the emphasis on new ideas?
It’s all about Carson Wentz.
With this team, it always is. It has to be.
Because if the Eagles are going to win another Super Bowl, Wentz has to be healthy first of all but exceptional as well.
Doug Pederson, in an interview with the Eagles Insider podcast on the team’s official web site, made a very clear connection between the team's recent coaching staff overhaul and the need to get the most out of their 27-year-old quarterback.
We know we have a dynamic quarterback and it starts with that,” Pederson said. “He’s great at play action, he’s great at movement, getting him out of the pocket where he can see and do some things with his legs. That’s where he excels. We’ve got to start with that.
The Eagles last year eventually got around to running more moving pocket stuff for Wentz, who clearly is more comfortable and more effective when he gets out of the pocket.
But Pederson said it was important to surround Wentz with coaches who can maximize that ability.
The Eagles made major changes this offseason to the offensive coaching staff. To recap:
FIRED: Offensive coordinator Mike Groh, WR coach Carson Walch
HIRED: Offensive assistant Rich Scangarello, WR coach Aaron Moorehead, passing game analyst Andrew Breiner
PROMOTED: QBs coach Press Taylor is now also passing game coordinator.
The two moves that were made specifically with Wentz in mind appear to be Scangarello’s hiring and Taylor’s promotion.
Pederson said he has no history with Scangarello but was intrigued by his background with current 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and his emphasis on play action, moving pocket and outside zone runs.
Scangarello was the Falcons’ quality control coach in 2015, when Shanahan was Dan Quinn's offensive coordinator, and he was quarterbacks coach in 2017 and 2018 under Shanahan in San Francisco.
Really, really was intrigued by his resume, where he’s come from and how he’s worked himself up in this league,” Pederson said. “He started as a quality control coach, just like myself, very sharp, been around some really sharp football minds. … I’m really excited about Rich because he comes from a world where it’s play action, it’s Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco, it’s Atlanta with (Shanahan and) Matt Ryan, where it’s a lot of play-action pass, it’s a lot of quarterback movement, which is what our quarterback excels at. So why not have a guy like that on my staff who has these types of ideas that can just enhance what we already have and make our offense better?
Then there’s Taylor, who originally came here in 2013 as one of Chip Kelly’s quality control coaches, was promoted by Pederson to assistant quarterbacks coach in 2016 and this month received the additional title of passing game coordinator.
Pederson emphasized how important it is for Wentz to keep Taylor in his current role with the quarterbacks while giving him additional responsibilities.
I think it's important that we don't disrupt that (quarterback) room,” Pederson said. “I don't want to disrupt the quarterback room. I think Carson's in a great place right now athletically, mentally as a quarterback, so I want to keep Press in that room. But I do want to give Press an opportunity to have more of (his) fingerprints on the game plan. Even though we're such a collaborative offense that way in gameplanning, this gives Press an opportunity to have more hands on with gameplanning during the week.
It’s all about surrounding Wentz with coaches who can get the most out of him.
Something that's been missing the last couple years.
Wentz has ranged from occasionally shaky to usually very good to often terrific when healthy in his first four NFL seasons.
These moves are Pederson’s way of trying to make sure he’s even better moving forward.
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