Eagles Have a Difficult Decision to Make on Duce
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The Eagles have a difficult decision to make on the popular Duce Staley.
An NFL source close to the New York Giants told 973espn.com that new Giants coach Pat Shurmur would like to make Philadelphia's running backs coach his new offensive coordinator up the Jersey Turnpike.
That would obviously be a rather large promotion for Staley, someone who the Eagles value very much, especially after Staley helped make the team's running-back-by-committee setup such a success during its Super Bowl season.
It's a very similar situation to last season when the New York Jets wanted to make quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo their OC but "Flip" was still under contract and the Eagles denied the interview request.
This year DeFilippo's contract was set to expire 10 days after the team's Super Bowl win so Philadelphia didn't bother dragging its heels when the Minnesota Vikings came calling to make him their new OC, ironically to replace Shurmur.
The story doesn't end there. Shurmur's first choice as OC with the Giants was Vikings QB coach Kevin Stefanski -- the son of former Sixers GM Ed Stefanski. However, Stefanski has one year left on his deal with Minnesota and the Vikings blocked him from moving.
Stefanski has interviewed for the promotion with the Vikings and the thought from sources there is that he's not quite ready but being groomed for the spot. Furthermore, DeFilippo is so highly-regarded there is a serious possibility he will be one-and-done with the Vikings and get a head-coaching job after the 2018 season. In that case, Stefanski would then take over.
As for Staley, this would be such a huge step forward in his career that the Eagles almost have to look in the mirror and ask what they really think of Duce.
If they see him only as a position coach then the best course of action is to allow him to leave. If they see him as OC material the block needs to be made especially with Frank Reich closing in on the big chair in Indianapolis.
On the 2017 staff, the reality is that Staley was No. 4 or possibly even No. 5 on the flow chart when it came to the Eagles' offense behind Pederson, Reich, DeFilippo, and possible receivers coach Mike Groh, who is expected to be promoted to QB coach now that DeFilippo is gone.
If Reich does get the Colts job the Eagles OC question comes down to Staley vs. Groh or someone outside the organization and Groh's history of being the son of the well-respected Al Groh, as well as playing the QB position in college at Virginia and also coaching it in college could swing things toward him.
Staley has the history in the organization as an excellent player who developed into a solid assistant after starting as a special teams quality control coach in 2011.
Position coaches in the NFL generally sign two-year contracts and can only leave for a head-coaching position unless given permission, DeFilippo came to the organization with Pederson in 2016 while Staley was already entrenched, getting his first deal in 2011, being promoted to RB coach in 2013 and having that deal rolled over in 2015 and again in 2017.
Staley served under Shurmur in Philly from 2013 through 2015 when the latter was the OC under Chip Kelly (and the interim coach for the final game in the 2015 campaign. Staley was also interviewed for the Eagles head-coaching position when Pederson got the job in 2016 but wasn't considered to be a serious contender.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen