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Alex Tanney talks new role as Eagles QB coach

The former NFL quarterback used his nine years in the league to develop relationships to prepare for a coaching job.

When Eagles’ OC Shane Steichen moved on to head coach the Colts, QB coach Brian Johnson was promoted to OC, and assistant Alex Tanney was promoted to QB coach. The former NFL quarterback spoke to reporters for the first time since stepping into his new role, and explained how his nearly 10 years of experience prepared him for a coaching opportunity.

Here’s what the QB coach had to say:

On his new role and background

“It’s been a great transition for me so far, it’s been pretty smooth.”

Tanney noted that he was in the QB room last year, so he already has a rapport with Jalen Hurts, and head coach Nick Sirianni would often give him assignments that, looking back, prepared him for his new role.

The new QB coach said he’s grateful to be surrounded by coaches with a similar background to him, but that’s also because of the relationship he built with guys like Sirianni and Steichen as a player. Tanney acknowledged that he was in the league for awhile, but didn’t play much, and he knew pretty early on that he wanted to be a coach.

He talked about playing for a lot of different teams — eight teams in nine years, for 12 head coaches and 12 different OCs — and using that as an opportunity to build relationships with a lot of different guys, and even made a point to tell people that he planned on getting into coaching one day as a way to build that bridge.

When asked about backup QBs going on to be pretty successful NFL coaches, Tanney couldn’t give an exact reason, but explained that quarterbacks have to know what’s going on everywhere on the field — where the point is in protection or in the run game, the route concepts and discipline. He said that there’s so much on the plate of a QB, it gives them a bit of a jump start when they get into coaching.

On Jalen Hurts

“I mean, all the really good ones are similar in a lot of ways, and a lot of that’s just their demeanor. And throughout the course of a season, throughout the course of a game, everything’s kind of going up and down, and those guys are just [steady hand gesture] like that. They don’t flinch. Whether they throw an interception or touchdown, we win or lose, their preparation, their routine, the details, all the same, every week, and he has that and it’s one of the reasons he’s such a special player.”

Other notables

  • Tanney was asked about the different styles of their backup QBs, but the coach said the main characteristic of a backup is to be able to go in an execute on Sunday with little to no reps during the week. Having a similar playing style might help a little, but the Eagles’ offense is so multiple, they just needs guys to be ready.
  • When Marcus Mariota signed with the Eagles this offseason he said it would be hard to call his former teammate “coach”, and Tanney joked that the new QB hasn’t used that moniker yet. Mariota stills calls Tanney “Sticks,” his nickname from Tennessee as No. 11.

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