The most qualified Eagles head coach candidate is right outside Jeff Lurie's door

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Reuben Frank
·4 min read
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The most qualified candidate is right outside Lurie's door originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Eagles are a franchise in disarray.

They just stumbled through a miserable 4-11-1 season, one of the worst in franchise history. Head coach Doug Pederson is gone just three years after winning the Super Bowl. General manager Howie Roseman remains despite an unacceptable draft record. And owner Jeff Lurie came across as muddled and confused Monday trying to explain it all.

The Eagles have lost their way.

A franchise in desperate need of guidance and leadership. A franchise that needs a strong personality in charge. Someone who’s deeply invested in this city and the team, someone who has a deep understanding of offensive and defensive football, someone who can articulate his message clearly and powerfully, someone who commands the respect of his players.

Duce.

We’ve been down this road before, and Staley keeps getting passed over,

Duce Staley was a candidate for the head coaching opening when Chip Kelly was fired after the 2015 season, but it was largely seen as just a token interview to comply with the Rooney Rule.

Staley was a candidate for the Eagles’ offensive coordinator opening after the 2017 season, when Mike Groh ended up replacing Frank Reich, and again last year, when the Eagles wound up not hiring an offensive coordinator.

He’s proven himself year after year in whatever role he’s been in. And he’s held his head high every time he’s been bypassed for promotions he deserved.

“Don’t feel overlooked,” Staley said in August. “We all want to advance. You guys want to advance. That’s life. But right now, I’m super happy in my role, proud of my role, being assistant head coach, running backs coach, proud of that.”

Staley has been an incredibly loyal Eagle. He was a three-time 1,000-yard rusher during his seven years here as a player and is so highly respected that he’s coached under three regimes - Andy Reid, Kelly and Pederson.

The man can coach. The man can lead. And he’s already deeply respected by everybody in that locker room. As head coach, he would instantly take a team that’s been battered this past year by all the losing, fractured by the Carson Wentz situation, shocked by Pederson’s firing and bring it all together.

Malcolm Jenkins, as respected a player as there is in the NFL, doesn’t even play on the same side of the ball that Staley coaches on but listen to what he said Monday: “Every time he stood in front of the team he had the attention and respect of everyone in the room. The embodiment of what it means to be an Eagle in a coach. I’m good where I’m at, but in another lifetime I’d love to play for him.”

There’s no better candidate to replace Pederson. Especially with Lurie talking about the Eagles being in “a real transition period,” from the Super Bowl team of a few years ago into a rebuilding era and hopefully into a renewed period of success.

Who better to guide a young team through the inevitable challenges of a rebuild than one of the most positive people a lot of us have ever been around?

You want a coach the players already connect with? Every one of these guys deeply respects Staley.

You want a coach that has tons of connections throughout the league? Staley has spent 20 years in the league as a player and a coach and would know how to build a staff with vision.

You want a coach who understands NFL offenses? Staley played under an offensive staff that included Sean Payton and Jon Gruden and coached under Reid, Kelly and Pederson.

You want a coach who’s fantastic at his job? What’s the one position group that always comes up huge around here? Think LeSean McCoy, LeGarrette Blount, Jay Ajayi and Miles Sanders.

You want a coach that gets this city? Try to find one Eagles fan that’s got anything bad to say about Duce.

You want a coach who’s a winner? Staley has won a Super Bowl as a player and a coach.

There’s a lot of fixing to do around here and nobody is more qualified to do it than Staley.

There are a lot of fancy, big-name coaches available from around the NFL, but all Lurie has to do to find the most qualified candidate is open his office door and look down the hallway.

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