As the Eagles’ coaching search enters Day 11, it appears that two of the top candidates for the job are Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Eagles running backs/assistant head coach Duce Staley.
It’s a decision Jeff Lurie won’t make lightly and if it comes down to Staley or McDaniels, it will come down to very different candidates.
Former NFL running back LeGarrette Blount, having played under both coaches, is uniquely qualified to give his opinion and he had his chance Tuesday afternoon on 94WIP.
Blount, 34, played under McDaniels from 2014-16 and won two Super Bowls with McDaniels as his offensive coordinator.
“I loved playing for Josh,” Blount said. “Josh is an amazing offensive coordinator and game planner on the offensive side.”
Of course, there are major questions and concerns about McDaniels, who failed as a head coach of the Broncos a decade ago. Back then, he was a very young coach and was also given personnel control. He did something several other New England assistants have tried to do when they take head coaching jobs elsewhere: He tried to be Bill Belichick.
So Blount has some of the same questions and concerns with McDaniels that a lot of fans do.
“I think the question is the approach,” Blount said to WIP. “You get a lot of guys that come from New England that try to bring the New England way to a different team and then you don’t have the same kind of players. Bill knows how to go get players who will fit into that and mold into that if he wants them to or if he needs them too. And I think sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
“And I don’t know how Josh would approach the head coaching situation, whether he’d want to bring that or he’d put his own spin on it like (Brian) Flores with Miami. You never know the ideas and what they’re going to bring.”
For what it’s worth, McDaniels has said plenty of times publicly that he learned from his first experience as a head coach. But in 2018, he also spurned the Colts, who hired him as their head coach before he backed out.
Meanwhile, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who says bad things about Staley, who has been the Eagles’ running backs coach since 2013. Blount spent just one season in Philly but it was a magical one that ended with a parade.
“Duce is amazing,” Blount said. “It think Duce is an amazing candidate. I think Duce will be a great leader for that team.”
One of the masterstrokes of Staley’s time as the Eagles’ running backs coach came in 2017 when he was able to keep the running back room egoless with two legitimate starters in Blount and Jay Ajayi, who arrived halfway through the season.
It’s Duce’s ability to relate to players that has Blount thinking his former position coach would be a good head coach.
“I would like that hire,” Blount said. “I think everybody on that team and in that organization respects Duce to the utmost. They respect his opinion, they love him around there. He’s a former player, he can relate to every single person and any kind of person in that locker room and in that building.
“I just think Duce, and this is just me being there for a year, I can imagine what people think of him that’s been around him for a lot longer. That’s just the impact he’s had on me in that year. I obviously feel like I respect him a lot and I think he’s an awesome person.”
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