As the Eagles prepare to face young quarterback Justin Herbert this weekend at the Linc, they have a secret weapon: Shane Steichen.
Steichen, who is in his first year as the Eagles’ offensive coordinator under Nick Sirianni, had the same title in Los Angeles last year on the Chargers’ old staff. He helped guide Herbert to his Rookie of the Year season in 2020.
That means he knows what Herbert likes. And, more importantly, he knows what he doesn’t like.
“There’s no stone unturned,” defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon said.
Of course, tape is still king. The Eagles will watch Chargers tape to see Herbert’s tendencies but also to see how he has been playing in this offensive scheme. Gannon made it clear that film study is still the most important.
But they’ll take any advantage they can get.
What kinds of things can they learn from Steichen?
“Stuff like, ‘Hey, this is what Herbert does really well and this is what we were trying to improve with him. This is the looks that he likes. This is how he wants to play.’ Stuff like that,” Gannon said.
“Just with any quarterback, what is he comfortable doing, and what can we try to do to make him uncomfortable? That would be the biggest thing for the quarterback.”
Steichen, 36, was the Chargers’ offensive coordinator in 2020 but was previously their quarterbacks coach with Philip Rivers from 2016-19 and was a quality control coach with them before that. Coming into this season, Steichen had spent nine seasons coaching in the NFL and eight of them had been with the Chargers in San Diego and Los Angeles.
Every week, coaches try to gain any advantage they can. They’ll ask players and fellow coaches with some familiarity with their opponents for insight. Even though there’s a new coaching staff in LA, Steichen knows plenty about this opponent.
“They've asked me a few questions about Justin and the rest of those guys,” he said. “They're a good football team. They've got a lot of talent on the offensive side of the ball with Keenan Allen and Mike Williams and (Jared) Cook, the tight end and Austin Ekeler. So, there's a lot of weapons with those guys. I've been giving my insight on those guys' ability and, obviously, Justin Herbert as well.”
Herbert last season had a fantastic rookie campaign. He completed over 66% of his passes for 4,336 yards with 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
This year, he’s led the Chargers to a 4-3 record, completing 63.7% of his passes for 1,994 yards with 16 touchdowns and 6 interceptions.
After coaching a veteran like Rivers for so many years, Steichen enjoyed the opportunity to coach a young quarterback. A guy like Rivers had seen everything, but you have to treat a younger quarterback differently.
This year, Steichen has been transferring those lessons to coaching Jalen Hurts.
“Absolutely. I think it was good,” Steichen said. “I was around, like you said, Philip Rivers for so many years, a veteran guy that has seen pretty much everything. Going from that to a rookie, seeing how those guys see the game. It has definitely helped me being with Justin last year and then being with Jalen this year. So, it's been really good.”
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