The Philadelphia Eagles (inadvisably) declined to hire a formal offensive coordinator in 2020 but they won’t be doing that again in 2021 with Nick Sirianni adding Shane Steichen to his coaching staff.
Some were excited to see the Eagles hire the Los Angeles Chargers offensive coordinator who oversaw Justin Herbert’s rookie success. Is the hype warranted, though?
1 - There was some talk about Steichen staying on as Brandon Staley’s OC. How do Chargers fans feel about him leaving for the Eagles instead?
In all honesty, Chargers fans were fairly relieved that he would not be returning. Fans wanted a new face and they felt Steichen was a bit underwhelming as an OC. The majority will tell you Justin Herbert’s development was 99 percent thanks to [former Chargers quarterbacks coach] Pep Hamilton, so very few saw any real value in Steichen as the potential OC of the future.
2 - To what extent does Steichen deserve credit for Justin Herbert’s development?
I mentioned it a little in the first answer, but most fans will only give Steichen a small portion of the credit. He was the one calling plays, after all. Anthony Lynn said the calls were 100 percent from Steichen, so you can’t take that away from him. However, many — myself included — felt that Justin Herbert succeeded in spite of Steichen, and not because of him.
3 - I’ve seen Steichen criticized for leaning too heavily on an ineffective running game on early downs. Can you speak to that being a problem with his play-calling?
I believe Shane Steichen may be a better offensive coordinator than he showed in L.A. due to Anthony Lynn’s pressure on him to run the ball at a higher rate. While Steichen made the final call, Lynn made it clear on more than one occasion that he wants to run the ball early and often. If given the chance Steichen might be able to really show who he is as a coordinator without an old-school coach hanging over him.
4 - How concerned should Eagles fans be about his involvement in two big Chargers gaffes last year where they ran the ball in obvious passing situations against Buffalo and Atlanta?
The concern in that area is very real. Those were Steichen’s calls all the way. He acknowledged they were wrong and he needs to do better in those postgame pressers, but it only paints a picture of a young coach who still has some of the finer details to iron out going forward.
5 - Schematically, is there anything that stood out and you could see him implementing in Philly?
He did a good job of allowing Herbert to do what he does best, which is ripping the deep ball and allowing him to take shots downfield. Despite an inefficient run game, they still used play-action quite a bit to great success. Even on two-man routes, he found a way to exploit certain matchups. With that in mind, he might find a way to get Jalen Reagor involved more often than he was during his rookie season in 2020.
6 - Anything to know about him off the field? Personality-wise and such?
I personally love asking X’s-and-O’s questions to coordinators. Unfortunately, Steichen is rather generic at the podium. It’s a lot of coach-speak and when things go bad, don’t expect him to elaborate any further than “I have to be better.” It was rather frustrating because his moments at the podium became dull when you realize he’s not going to put extra effort into his answers.