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Weapon X Mailbag: Who’s the Eagles’ Week 1 head coach in 2021?

Plus: Who is Wentz’ historical comp?

TCU v Oklahoma Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Well, Sunday sucked. Let’s get to the questions.

@DingusFrisky: Who’s the Eagles’ head coach Week 1 next season?

I’ve been thinking this since the wheels slowly began to fall off in September: Lincoln Riley, head coach at the University of Oklahoma, is their guy.

Why him?

Take a look at some excerpts from this Inquirer piece from writer Paul Domowitch that was published in August:

The Eagles did a thorough job of scouting Hurts prior to the draft. They watched every snap he played at Alabama and Oklahoma. They talked to his coaches at both schools, including Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley.

Roseman and the Eagles have cultivated a good relationship with Riley, who is one of the nation’s top college coaches.

In an interview with the Inquirer in late May, Riley said the Eagles, “were very detailed in the discussions and the homework that they did’’ on Hurts. “They’ve got a plan for him,’’ he said. “I think it’s a great situation for him.”

Riley even had some influence in the Eagles’ decision to take TCU wide receiver Jalen Reagor in the first round. Riley had recruited Reagor when he was a high school star at Waxahachie (Texas) High School. His team also played against him for three years in the Big 12. He spoke glowingly of him to Eagles scouts when they talked to him about Hurts. He indicated that Reagor would’ve been a 100-catch-a-year receiver. in Oklahoma’s offense.

That feels like a whole lot of influence on the Eagles’ roster from a guy not affiliated with the team at all, right? I never got the sense that Howie Roseman was Doug Pederson’s biggest fan. Jeffrey Lurie hired Pederson with the goal of going back to basics with an Andy Reid-type coach and that proved to be a Super success.

As things have worsened for the Eagles over the last three seasons, ownership and front office have seemingly been the ones building the coaching staff around Pederson, ultimately resulting in this lackluster cluster of offensive assistants who haven’t done anything of note this season.

I love Doug. Out of Howie Roseman-Carson Wentz-Doug Pederson, triumvirate, I believe Pederson has been the most important aspect of the organization during this era and is the figure I’d expect to have the greatest level of success elsewhere.

Even with all that said, I think he’s the first one to go when it comes to breaking up this power structure. It isn’t feasible to move off Wentz’s contract in 2021. Roseman will forever be Lurie’s golden boy and it’s still unclear what type of disaster it would take for Lurie to move on from him as general manager.

It pains me to say this, but, yes, I think we’re reaching the last days of Doug’s time in Philly. A split may be best for both sides at this point, not unlike Reid’s departure after the 2012 season.

Roseman already has a big time college coach who’s itching to hit the pro level in his ear. He has a quarterback on the roster he invested major draft capital in with Jalen Hurts, who had a Heisman-worthy campaign in Riley’s offense in 2019. The writing is on the wall.

Poll

Who is the Eagles’ head coach for Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season?

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    Doug Pederson
    (1397 votes)
  • 26%
    Lincoln Riley
    (656 votes)
  • 18%
    Someone else
    (456 votes)
2509 votes total Vote Now

@tom_e_boy19: Does Doug hand over the play calling duties at some point? And does Carson deserve some/more of the blame by allegedly being allowed to change the calls at the line of scrimmage?

I get the impression that Pederson is going down with the ship. Maybe he feels the heat and knows the end is nigh and he’s going to do it his way, calling his own shots to the very last play, but in a vacuum, it could be the exact type of shakeup the Birds’ offsense needs.

Reid once did it with Marty Mornhinweg, who is now back as an assistant with the Eagles. He has a ton of play-calling experience. Why not him give him the reins for a game? Why not see if Press Taylor is this rising coaching mind the Eagles questionably believe him to be? Why not let Rich Scangarello recreate the Kyle Shanahan playbook the team was so desperate to replicate?

I can’t see it happening, but it certainly should.

@SRobby2: Is the Eagles 2020 linebacker corps the worst in NFL history?

I know this, Sean: none of them could beat you out for a starting job for the Prep in the late 2000s.

I mean, they can’t really be the worst of all time, right? It sure does feel like it though.

The issue here, as it does with a majority of the Eagles’ problems, lies with Roseman. There’s a difference between not pouring major resources into the linebacker position, which I agree with, and then not having NFL-caliber players on the roster, which is, surprisingly, very bad news for your team. The Eagles are in the latter situation.

Whenever the next front office regime comes into power, not that I think that’s happening soon, I bet there’s an overcorrection to a degree. Watch the Eagles take the an off-ball linebacker in the first round once Roseman is removed from power.

@alex252: Whose quarterback career does Wentz compare to? Closest I can think of is another ginger, Carson Palmer. Yikes.

Carson Palmer is pretty spot on. Palmer had a near MVP-level season in 2005 for the Bengals just as Wentz did in 2017. Both were in their second seasons as starters (Palmer sat out the entirety of the 2003 season as a rookie). Palmer led the league in touchdown percentage, as did Wentz. Both appeared to inject their respective franchises with new blood that would carry them for the next decade-plus.

Well, then the injuries happened. On the Bengals’ first pass play in their Wild Card Weekend playoff game, Palmer was hit in the leg after the throw, tearing both his ACL and MCL. He was never the same for Cincinnati. That injury situation sound familiar?

Palmer went on to have some success in his mid-30s with Bruce Arians in Arizona, but he never truly became the Prince Who Was Promised for Bengals fans.

Maybe Wentz has a rebirth with a second (or third, like Palmer) team down the line, but it just doesn’t like look we’re ever getting 2017 Wentz in Philly again.

Another guy I considered was Cam Newton for fairly similar reasons. Newton won the MVP award in 2015, leading the Panthers to the Super Bowl. He was good in the next couple years as Carolina’s starter, but didn’t get back to his 2015 peak and then the injuries ensued. Newton is now on his second team at age 31 in New England.

@_dankelly_: Should James Harden start at quarterback this week?

Hey, the dude’s 6’5” and 220 lbs. with killer acceleration and he’s one of the best passers in the NBA. Move aside, Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders! The Sixers need to trade for James Harden for my mental well-being so I can survive this craptastic Eagles season.

[BLG Note: Co-sign. The Sixers need to get Harden, even if it means trading Ben Simmons.]