Super Bowl teams often lose coordinators. It’s part of the overhead.
The NFL is a copycat league. When a team has success, unsuccessful teams want a piece. They want fresh ideas, a new voice, new schemes.
They want the fragrance of success.
Losing one coordinator can be unsettling to a successful football team. The tone of the unit changes. Schemes and philosophy change.
Sometimes, the players change. The level of certainty is unknown and unsettling. What worked well one season might not be as effective under new management.
Losing two coordinators at once is almost unprecedented. It’s the first time since 1994 that a Super Bowl team lost two coordinators to head-coaching jobs. Defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes left the Niners for the Eagles. Mike Shanahan went to the Broncos — and won two Super Bowls.
This is what the Eagles are dealing with a week after losing Super Bowl 57. They lost two coordinators last Tuesday.
Offensive coordinator Shane Steichen left to become the head coach of the Colts. Defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon didn’t fly home from Arizona after the Super Bowl. Instead he remained behind to interview with the Cardinals. He was hired two days after the Super Bowl.
CHALLENGE FOR SIRIANNI, ROSEMAN
Nick Sirianni and general manager Howie Roseman go into a crucial offseason. They have to replace two guys they brought to the Eagles when Sirianni was hired. For a guy who was hired in 2021, 9.3 percent of NFL head coaches are part of his coaching tree.
Sirianni said at a recent news conference the Eagles have “great options in-house,” to replace Steichen and Gannon. He singled out quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson and previously mentioned the leadership of defensive passing game coordinator/defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson.
- “I’m obsessed personally because of the stock that people have put in me of how we develop our football coaches as well [as our players],” Sirianni said.
- “So constantly want, from our position coaches to our coordinators, all the way to our quality control coaches and assistant position coaches, I want them involved in everything.
- “And I try to give them things that helped me throughout my career. That’s my job as the head coach.
- “Two years ago, I remember Shane and I, we interviewed about nine running back coaches, and Coach [Jemal] Singleton was the ninth. I was, like, this is the guy right here.
- “There was a lot of work that went into that. So, again feel really good about in-house but we will also do what’s best for the Philadelphia Eagles of replacing these guys.”
The Eagles’ offseason challenges are hiring new coordinators, re-signing their own free agents and new ones and the draft.
Player turnover is obvious. They have 20 free agents. They can’t bring back all of them.
The Eagles aren’t in any kind of step-back or rebuilding mode. Their focus is full speed ahead. Every player move they make will be in the context of helping the team get back to the Super Bowl.
Coming so close to winning the Super Bowl means expectations are ridiculously high. No drop-off will be tolerated. The Eagles are one of the model franchises in the NFL. Keeping that high standard is a necessity.
Hiring coordinators might be the Eagles’ biggest challenge. You need leaders with vision to move the team forward and a voice to articulate that vision.
The new offensive coordinator steps into a solid situation. Depending on what center Jason Kelce decides about retiring, the outstanding offensive line likely remains intact — the engine driving the car.
Jalen Hurts, who will turn 25 in August, is one of the best quarterbacks in the league. A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert might be the league’s best receiving group. The Eagles will look to upgrade the slot position, moving on from Quez Watkins.
There is uncertainty in the backfield with 1,269-yard rusher Miles Sanders not under contract. Do the Eagles move on? Draft a replacement? Many mock drafts think so.
CHALLENGES ON DEFENSE
The new defensive coordinator will face a more uncertain future, including hiring a new linebackers coach. Nick Rallis, 29, is the Cardinals’ new defensive coordinator, according to the NFL Network.
Other challenges: Eight of the 11 starters are free agents. Even if the Eagles re-sign four of the eight, that means they need four starter-quality replacements. That’s a lot of turnover.
THE DEFENSIVE FREE AGENTS:
- End Brandon Graham
- Tackle Fletcher Cox
- Tackle Javon Hargrave
- Cornerback James Bradberry
- Linebacker T.J. Edwards
- Linebacker Kyzir White
- Safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson
- Safety Marcus Epps
Three of the eight joined the Eagles last season (Bradberry, White and Gardner-Johnson). Back-up defensive linemen Robert Quinn, Ndamukong Suh and Linval Joseph are free agents.
How many of the eight starters will the Eagles retain? How many do they want? How many can they afford?
The memory of Chiefs wide receivers wide open in the Super Bowl won’t fade anytime soon. Nor will the tape of Patrick Mahomes, alone in the pocket, picking apart the secondary.