On Tuesday, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson hinted that he may be open to handing play calling duties to someone else. As we all know, this is the first time Pederson has even suggested that a change could happen in the play calling department.
If Pederson were to handoff of this task to someone else on his coaching staff, he has a handful of options.
Senior offensive assistant Rich Scangarello called plays for the Denver Broncos in 2019, senior offensive consultant Marty Mornhinweg used to call plays for Andy Reid when he was the head coach in Philly. But at the end of the day, there’s only one person on this staff who truly deserves the shot to call plays: Duce Staley.
Duce has been on the Eagles coaching staff since 2010, when he started as a coaching intern. He’s worked his way up from special teams quality control coach, to running backs coach, and he was even interviewed for the vacant head coaching position in January of 2016. Now, he also has the title of assistant head coach along with his position as the RBs coach.
When Pederson was diagnosed with COVID-19 during training camp this year, Duce ran the show in his absence. He seems like Doug’s most trusted offensive assistant, and he’s also a solid candidate to become an offensive coordinator around the league. So why would Pederson give this sacred job of play calling to anyone else?
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At the very least, allow Duce to call the plays to open every game — maybe even let him call plays for just the first half. The Eagles have been notoriously awful to open up ball games. On Monday against Seattle, the Eagles offense netted just four yards of offense on their first five drives.
Doug’s bread and butter as a play caller is in his mid-game adjustments. He always seems to find a better rhythm after he knows what the opposing defense is trying to do.
In 2015, when Doug was the Kansas City Chief’s offensive coordinator under Andy Reid, the team started 1-5. Reid — who’s always been a solid play caller to begin games, but not so much when the opposing defense adjusts — gave second half play calling duties to Doug. The Chiefs infamously won their next 10 games and a playoff game that season. You could argue that that decision by Reid eventually led to Pederson being a prime head coaching candidate and landing the job in Philly.
If Duce does a fine job in the final 4-5 games of the year as a play caller, the Eagles could just promote him to be the full-time offensive coordinator next season. We know he’ll rely more on the running game than Pederson does, which would also lead to more play action passes with Wentz rolling out of the pocket, where he’s at his best.
There’s really no downside to this. Because at the end of the day, can this offense really get any worse than what we’ve seen? Technically, they’re the 31st ranked offense in yards per play, so yeah they could be worse. But you get my point.
Give Duce his opportunity to shine, he deserves it.