Duce Staley has been a member of the Philadelphia Eagles’ coaching staff since 2010. 11 years later, he might finally be in serious position to become the team’s head coach.
On Monday, Jeffrey Lurie said that he expects the Eagles’ assistant head coach/running backs coach to be in the running to replace Doug Pederson.
Q. It’s been awhile since you’ve had a minority in the head coaching position or a coordinator position. How will that factor into your search, and also, will you consider anybody currently on the staff for the position?
JEFFREY LURIE: Really good questions. So yes, I think that we are very open and it’s top of mind to make sure we have some of the best minority candidates in on the search. It’s very important I think for us, for the league and it’s top of mind. I would expect Duce Staley to be a candidate. He’s a great representative of the Eagles and knows our values. I would expect him to be part of the search, as well. But great question, because I’ve never hesitated in this area. Obviously, I’ve hired an African American as a head coach [Ray Rhodes] and proud of it, because he was the right man for the job at the time. There’s plenty of possible candidates in this area.
The Eagles previously interviewed Staley for their head coach job in 2016 and opted to go with Pederson instead.
But Duce might have a much better chance this time around.
For starters, Staley’s a more experienced candidate than he used to be. He’s served as the Eagles’ running backs coach for eight seasons now. He also had the assistant head coach title added in 2018. The Eagles had the unique experience of seeing how Staley ran the team when Pederson had to quarantine for over a week due a positive COVID-19 test during training camp last year.
Lurie mentioned “leadership” as a key attribute they want to see in their next head coach and Staley seems to fit the bill. He comes off very well in media interviews, for what it’s worth. Further, enthusiastic endorsements from current and former players alike could work in his favor:
Hope they give my man Duce an opportunity. He was a hell of a player in the league, and now a hell of a coach! ✊ https://t.co/CHu8HnRY7B— Rodney McLeod (@Rodney_McLeod4) January 12, 2021
Duce Staley #NextManUp !!! Every time he stood in front of the team he had the attention and respect of everyone in the room. The embodiment of what it means to be an @Eagles , in a coach. I’m good where I’m at lol BUT, In another lifetime I’d love to play for him!— Malcolm Jenkins (@MalcolmJenkins) January 11, 2021
Eh, But what do I know? ♂️ pic.twitter.com/Ubp0Ir52mq— Malcolm Jenkins (@MalcolmJenkins) January 11, 2021
Staley might also be the perfect fit for the Eagles’ current situation. Let’s face it: the Eagles have one of the least attractive coaching jobs on the market. My pal Jimmy Kempski outlined it well:
The Eagles' open HC job won't be appealing. QB spot unsettled, the roster stinks otherwise (and has little chance of getting better anytime soon because of an awful cap situation), and there will be rightful concerns about a history of HC friction with team brass.— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) January 11, 2021
The Eagles’ might not be able to hire the perceived “top” candidates. Going in-house might be the best option available to them.
On that note, I think it’s important to contextualize how Pederson was fired. It wasn’t like Lurie was automatically getting rid of him no matter. Had Pederson been more willing to bend to Lurie’s demands and bring in external candidates as opposed to a bunch of internal promotions, he might’ve been able to keep his job. Perhaps Staley will be willing to do what Pederson wasn’t since the former would be getting a big promotion in the process.
Plus, if the Eagles make Staley their next head coach, they have the option of keeping some of the things they like about the team (offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, for example) in tact. An external hire, meanwhile, would likely push to make more sweeping changes.
I previously wrote that I felt like Staley is one of the Eagles’ top two most realistic options to replace Pederson. I can envision the team promoting him to be an overseer while still aiming to bring in a play-caller as their offensive coordinator (Mike Kafka? Graham Harrell?). Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll is the other key name to watch due to the fact he shares an agent with Howie Roseman. Connections could be key in this Eagles coaching search that’s said to have the team “scrambling” for Pederson’s replacement.
Should the Eagles promote Duce Staley to head coach?
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