According to NBCSP’s Dave Zangaro, Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen confirmed that he will be the team’s play caller heading into the 2022 season. However, Steichen referred to the situation as a “group effort” with head coach Nick Sirianni.
Throughout Sirianni’s tenure with the Eagles, the question of just exactly who has been the play caller has been frequently ambiguous. At the start of the season, it was clear the first-year HC was in charge of calling plays.
Sirianni reaffirmed this belief by refusing to give up duties after the team stumbled out to a 2-4 start, relying too often on Jalen Hurts‘ passing rather than balancing out the offensive attack with a mix of rushing. At that time, Philadelphia had thrown the ball the second-most times in the league.
Eventually, the team was able to see their mistakes and rely much more frequently on running. They finished the year with 2,175 rushing yards — tops in the NFL — on 550 attempts (4.9 yards per carry) and 25 rushing touchdowns, also league-leading.
Thanks to those changes in the game plans, Philadelphia turned the ship around and produced a 7-3 run down the stretch.
Steichen May Have Been Play Calling Longer Than Let On
Even with the newfound success, things became more muddled when Sirianni credited Steichen late in the season, indicating the two had been co-calling plays the entire season despite not mentioning his work in the offensive execution prior.
“For whatever reason, I get credit — or the other way around when it doesn’t go well — for the play calling. But Shane and I have been calling it together the entire year. Shane has done a great job there.”
Sirianni later expanded on this process to NBCSP’s Reuben Frank. “We talk about the series of plays before each go around. It’s like, ‘Hey, we’re going to run this, this, this, this and this on this one,’ and we know the flow of what we’re going to do.”
Regardless Who’s Calling Plays, Pressure Will Be On
It remains to be seen if that “group effort” will resemble how Steichen and Sirianni operated last year, or if their coordinating will be completely different.
Regardless of the “how,” the pair — which are now entering their sixth season as coworkers — have shown they can work together and turn that into results.
Sirianni, Steichen, and a revamped coaching staff should be prepared for intense scrutiny, however. The Eagles have added a number of potential offensive players throughout the offseason (A.J. Brown, Zach Pascal) who could elevate the offense.
Additionally, several young Eagles (Hurts, DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins, Kenny Gainwell) are expected to take significant steps in their developments, which will also fall on the coaching staff. Suffice to say, the pressure will be on — and if it isn’t met, there could be some changes.