McMullen: A ‘New Idea’ for Jeffrey Lurie
(973espn.com) - Corporate speak is filled with buzzwords and phrases that are really designed to stress the importance of those opening their mouths not accomplish any goals, perceived or otherwise.
Occasionally the purveyors of such "wisdom" are validated when the re-branding of time-tested ideas hit home.
Take Jeffery Lurie's "emotional intelligence" tagline designed to point out the inadequacies of Chip Kelly before ultimately highlighting the common-sense approach Doug Pederson has when dealing with people.
There was really nothing new or particularly perceptive about Lurie trying to jazz up the thought that leaders need to connect with people, something the species actually figured out centuries ago.
Which brings us to the Eagles' current mind-numbing hunt for an offensive coordinator to replace the guy the head coach with that "emotional intelligence" never wanted to get rid of in the first place.
One of the many narratives surrounding the search is that Lurie wants an outside voice to bring "new ideas" to a stagnated offense.
Even if you want to ignore the context of the Eagles' 2019-20 season and note that personnel mistakes, coupled with injuries, should have recalibrated unrealistic expectations to begin with, the idea that Pederson and the staff he feels comfortable with can't look at any "new idea" you believe exists on film and integrate it into the offense is specious.
For heaven's sake the most famous play in franchise history, The Philly Special, was taken from a meaningless Week 17 game between Chicago and Minnesota back in 2016 by Press Taylor, then an assistant QB and quality-control coach, before sending up the ladder where Pederson and Frank Reich ultimately put it into the offense. The Bears, of course, got the play from college, where it's not exactly a Unicorn, and that level culled it from high-school football in the rare industry where so-called "innovation" trickles up instead of the other way around.
The name floated as the potential fresh new voice during the current OC search before he bailed out was Southern Cal offensive coordinator Graham Harrell, an Air-Raid QB as a college player at Texas Tech who brought that high-octane approach to the Trojans with some success last season.
Forget that Harrell is on the record with his beliefs that the Air-Raid's success is tied to its simplicity, the narrative that Pederson is a West-Coast guy only ignores not only what he's already put on film but also the fact that he matriculated under Andy Reid, whose career essentially started with BYU's LaVell Edwards, regarded as the Godfather of every spread concept there is.
It's not a coincidence that no coach has married West Coast and spread concepts better than Reid, a brilliant offensive mind who has the type of filter to take the best from certain schemes while eliminating the worst.
If you go full circle back to Kelly no one in the NFL embraced the former Eagles coach faster than Bill Belichick. In fact, the perceived stamp-of-approval from the best coach in history is what set off the firestorm that fooled the entire league as Kelly became the hottest commodity with Lurie being the one to take the bait and buy the snake-oil.
What the Eagles and many others didn't understand is that Belichick took the benefits of Kelly's tempo approach by factoring in situational football and had a firm understanding when the foot needed to be on the gas and when it had to be eased up or taken off completely. A one-trick pony became just another trick in a toolbox that was overflowing.
Pederson has the training to integrate anything he wants into his offense. He doesn't need a re-branding of decades-old concepts sold as new ideas to improve things. He needs better players.
Lurie can jazz that up any way he likes to satiate the ego and if Howie Roseman succeeds in providing that for Pederson the "idea" of executing plays in a stale offense will have a new-car smell to it.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen