The Eagles will roll without a traditional offensive coordinator this year, instead going with a committee approach to game planning while head ball coach Doug Pederson continues to call the plays.

Exiting the organization are Mike Groh and Carson Walch, who were fired at the season’s end. In comes Rich Scangarello, the former Broncos OC who will serve as a “Senior Offensive Assistant.” Quarterbacks coach Press Taylor has been additionally tasked with coordinating the passing game while Duce Staley and Jeff Stoutland will continue in their roles, overseeing the running game. Ex-Colt Aaron Moorehead was brought in to coach the receivers.

At the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Pederson explained that owner Jeffrey Lurie had no involvement in the decisions to fire Groh and Walch, nor did he influence the hirings made this winter.

“There was none,” Pederson said of Lurie’s control over filling out the staff. “This is one of the things that I appreciate about Jeffrey and Howie (Roseman), is they give me total control over the staff. Are they interested, and do they talk to me about certain guys and want to talk to candidates? Sure, they do. I think it just behooves them to have all the information with guys that I bring into the building. They give me that control to make those decisions, and I gotta make the tough ones, but at the same time felt like I made some really good hires.”

Doug was asked straight up if he had considered giving up play calling duties at any point during the process of searching for Groh and Walch’s replacements, saying this:

“No, not yet. That’s the part that keeps me attached. My own motivation is to be around the players and to stand up in front of the room and install the plays during the week and be connected to the team offensively that way with all the other things I have to do. Play-calling was never brought up.”

And that perhaps makes it difficult to add a higher profile name to the staff. Would, for instance, Eric Bieniemy come to Philly to take on a similar backseat role that he currently holds in Kansas City? How does an offensive coordinator take the next step if they aren’t calling plays? It’s an issue fans and media struggled with in Philadelphia as we tried to parse the contributions of Groh and Frank Reich over the years, since it was impossible to determine what they were responsible for behind the scenes.

“That’s always something that I think (about),” Pederson said. “A candidate who wants to be an offensive coordinator, if they’re going to a place where the head coach is calling plays or somebody else’s calling plays, that’s difficult. Some of the candidates I spoke with, and even brought into the building, that was brought up. I told them up front that this is a position where I’m still going to call the plays. I’m not going to give that up. They have to be comfortable with that. And listen; I would have a hard time, too, if I was interviewing for a coordinator’s job having called plays previously. That’d be tough to give up.”

What we have, then, is a slightly-different looking group that I think still checks all the boxes.

  1. Did Eagles fans clamor for an outside voice, somebody to offer a fresh perspective this season? They did, and that box is checked with Scangarello.
  2. Did Eagles fans want to see Groh get the axe? Yeah, I’d say most were looking for a change at offensive coordinator, so that box is also checked.
  3. Did Eagles fans want a similar change with Walch? I think so. There’s a third box checked.

What we have, then, is a hybrid system similar to what San Francisco uses, with a play-calling head coach surrounding himself with game planning voices who oversee specific personnel groups.

But what about a promotion from within? Does giving Taylor more responsibility move the needle for anybody? Or does the decision to go that internal route, considering the recent firings of Groh and Walch, raise a few questions in the optics department?

“For the last four years I have had an offensive coordinator by position and title, and yet when it comes to game days, game day decisions, I’m the one who’s calling the plays,” Pederson reiterated. “The offensive coordinator doesn’t do that. I thought long and hard about this, and this is why I took my time this offseason with these decisions, with Rich and putting him in a senior offensive position and promoting Press to a passing game coordinator. I really feel like in order for Press to grow, I’ve got to give him more as a coach. I’ve got to put more on his plate. I still want him in the quarterbacks room. I still want him to be around Carson (Wentz) and the guys and he’s done an outstanding job there. At the same time, I want him to have more of his fingerprints on game plans. And then Rich comes in, and he helps bridge the gap with coach Stoutland as the run game coordinator, and Press, and so bringing all those pieces together, along with myself, and having such a collaborative game plan approach allows us to have more, a better sense of our game plan that we go into each game with.”

Scangarello, according to Pederson, will be that glue guy – for lack of a better term – to pull things together offensively and provide the new voice that Eagles fans were looking for. The 47 year old worked alongside Kyle Shanahan in Atlanta and San Francisco and ran a similar system as Denver’s offensive coordinator in 2019.

“Just for me, it’s very intriguing to be able to bring in a guy that is gonna help Carson, number one, it’s  gonna help our offense,” Pederson said of Scangarello. “He’s gonna be a guy – not solely his responsibility – but allowing us to take our offense maybe to a different level. And it’s something we weren’t as good at last year and the last couple of seasons. Those are all things that I have to take a look at right? I’m excited to work with Aaron and Rich and the guys as we get ready for OTAs.”