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NFL Coaching Rumors: Will the Eagles Lose Any Coaches?

Winning means other teams are going to be interested in Eagles assistants.

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

One of the downsides to winning is that other teams suddenly want your coaches. The biggest downfall of the Andy Reid era was Reid's inability to replace all the great coaches he lost. Just thinking back to his early staff, it was an amazing collection of coaching talent. The Eagles had Brad Childress, Ron Rivera, Steve Spagnuolo, Leslie Frazier, Pat Shurmur and John Harbaugh. All went on to become head coaches. Several went to the playoffs. Harbaugh even won a Super Bowl.

Chip Kelly might be the hottest coach in all of football. That doesn't mean he's the best, but he won a BCS game last year and just led the Eagles to the NFC East title. His ideas worked in college and the NFL. Plus, he's got some very original ideas. You can bet that college and NFL teams will have some interest in what he's doing.

Since other teams can't hire Kelly, they might want to poach the coaching staff. The problem is that there aren't great choices. You normally start with the coordinators. No one is going to covet Bill Davis. His resume still needs a lot of work. Pat Shurmur has already been the head coach in Cleveland and that didn't go great. Also, Shurmur is a West Coast Offense guru. Teams would be more fascinated in Kelly's offensive ideas. Shurmur would likely need another year in the system to be a target.

Most of the positional assistants hired by Kelly are grinders. Guys like Bob Bicknell, Bill McGovern and John Lovett just don't seem like head coach or even coordinator material. Never say never, but they don't give off that vibe.

There are two assistants that could be of interest. Bill Lazor is the quarterbacks coach. He has coached in the NFL and in college. He has been a coordinator and positional assistant. He's only 41 years old, but already has 20 seasons of experience as an assistant coach. That means he knows what he's doing, but is still young enough to have an open mind and be considered a coach on the rise. The older a coach gets, the more he is considered set in his ways, which isn't always an attractive thing.

Lazor could be an offensive coordinator candidate at the NFL level. I'm sure some colleges would love to hire him for that role, but I doubt he'd have interest. The only way he's going back to college is to be a head coach. I don't think it is likely another NFL team comes after him to be the offensive coordinator this year, but that could happen in the future.

The most interesting coach on the staff is defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro. The problem with Azzinaro is that he is in his mid-50's and hasn't been a defensive coordinator for a big time program. What position do you hire him for? He is best suited to be a defensive line coach.

I'm sure NFL teams would love to hire Azzinaro as a positional assistant to find out everything he knows about Kelly's practice methods and the sports science training. I get the feeling Azzinaro is very loyal to Kelly and isn't going anywhere.

The one thing I could see Azzinaro being tempted by is if a small college came after him. Azzinaro might not even have interest in that. Would he really want to go to Albany or Central Connecticut State or Stony Brook? Azzinaro spent a lot ot time at small schools early in his career. Would he prefer to be a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond?

I'm guessing Azzinaro is happy where he is. He doesn't have to worry about recruiting or academics. He can just focus on developing players.

Kelly put together a great staff, in part because he seemed to find guys who are likely to stick around. Kelly did hire some young coaches to develop. Greg Austin is working with Jeff Stoutland on the offensive line. Austin coached at Oregon so he knows Kellyball. He's learning the NFL and how to be a top shelf offensive line coach. Erik Chinander is working with Azzinaro on the defensive line. Justin Peelle is a developmental coach with the tight ends. Todd Lyght, the former NFL star, is working with defensive backs and developing as a coach.

Kelly will have to wait and see how these coaches develop, but he's got a plan in place in case he does lose some of his other assistants. Kelly also knows that he's got some older assistants and needed some young guys on the staff to complement them. You need a mixture of ages and backgrounds to build a good coaching staff.

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