The NFL is a copycat league. One team thrives and other teams want to know why. Other teams want a piece of that intellectual property.
The current Eagles coordinators are such hot properties. They should be, based on what the Eagles accomplished so far this season.
Five teams have head coaching openings and there might be more. Teams are lining up to talk to offensive coordinator Shane Steichen and defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon.
Coordinators landing interviews is a byproduct of success. Steichen and Gannon have enviable resumes, filled with accomplishment. The Eagles were the NFL’s third-ranked offense and second-ranked defense this season. No matter the circumstances, the coordinators are going to get the credit.
Coordinators from 14-3 teams are, by definition, the guys everyone with an opening wants to talk to.
Steichen has had requests for interviews with the Texans, Colts and Panthers. Other teams with known openings are the Broncos and Cardinals.
The Texans have requested permission to interview Gannon.
CONTINUITY AMONG COACHES
Continuity on the coaching staff affected the Eagles this season. Throughout the offseason, quarterback Jalen Hurts talked about how important it was to have the same offensive coaches in consecutive seasons. Hurts hasn’t never enjoyed that simple luxury since high school.
The Eagles also retained their coaching staff from the 2021 season, helpful to an improving team.
Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said he is prepared if he loses one or both of his coordinators, saying he has “a lot of good options.”
- “You hire guys like Shane and Jonathan that you know are committed to the team,” said Sirianni, whose team is in the middle of a self-scout before their first playoff game on either Jan. 21 or 22.
- “Obviously, they want to do what’s best for them and their families. But I know first and foremost this that these guys are committed to this team.
- “As far as anything with just helping them get ready for it, you know, I really made a conscious effort of doing that all during the offseason. Very similar to what Frank Reich did for me when he had nuggets to give me [at Indy].”
Hiring the right head coach might be a sports franchise owner’s most important task. Thirty-two men in the world are NFL head coaches. Hire the right guy and he can change the culture of your franchise and put it on a path to success.
Hire the wrong person and your franchise might be set back for years. Hire the wrong person and you’re potentially wasting your athletes’ prime years. And you’ll probably be back in hiring mode in a minute.
The NFL is a win-now enterprise. Teams can make quick turnarounds if they get lucky with the draft and free agency. NFL scheduling protocols help weaker teams, giving them an easier path to playoff viability.
Owners have seen evidence of rapid and successful turnarounds and they want in. Owners know if they execute the correct hire, everybody might be partying on the podium, passing around the Lombardi Trophy.
NFL teams have learned, the hard way, that the smoothest road to success is hiring within the league and leaving the college coaches alone. The conventional pathway to success is through coordinators or former NFL head coaches.
There are examples of college coaches successfully making the jump to the NFL — the Seahawks’ Pete Carroll, comes to mind — but the college failures are more glaring.
Ever hear of Nick Saban, NFL coach? He was 15-17 in two years with the Dolphins. Urban Meyer was a disaster in one season with the Jaguars. He was fired after 13 games with a 2-11 record.
HURTS ‘HURT LIKE HELL’
Sirianni said Hurts’ SC sprain in his right shoulder is painful.
“He came out of that [Giants] game sore because it’s still sore and we didn’t feel like we were putting him at any more risk of getting more injured,” Sirianni said.
“But we knew it was going to hurt him like hell and he knew it was going to hurt him like hell. But, that’s the kind of player he is, that’s the kind of teammate he is.”
Defensive end Josh Sweat was carted off during the Saints game on Jan. 1 and taken to a hospital with a neck injury.
The Pro Bowler is rehabbing and he might even play during the playoffs.
- “I don’t want to say yes that he’s going to play,” said Sirianni, who doesn’t really give injury updates or timetables for return.
- “We’re really hopeful and we really feel good that he will [be back], but anything can happen. But we know he’s trending in the right direction of getting healthy and that’s a good thing because he brings so much to this defense.
- “Are we hopeful he’ll play in two weeks? Yeah. I don’t want to say, ‘Yes, he’s going to play,’ but we’re really hopeful and we really feel good that he will.”