The importance of Nick Sirianni keeping coaching staff together originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia:
Change is inevitable, as the saying goes. But not every year.
Sometimes it makes sense just to keep things the way they are, and for Nick Sirianni it made sense to keep his coaching staff together for a second straight season.
And that’s rare.
This is the first time in 17 years the Eagles have had no significant changes on their coaching staff from one year to the next.
Andy Reid had the same staff in 2004 and 2005, and every offseason since, at least one position coach or coordinator has changed.
It’s not uncommon for a Super Bowl team to keep the same staff simply because by the time its season is over in early February most openings around the league have been filled.
And in 2005, Brad Childress, Jim Johnson and John Harbaugh remained coordinators, Marty Mornhinweg, Pat Shurmur, Ted Williams, David Culley and Juan Castillo remained in place on the offensive side with Tommy Brasher, Steve Spagnuolo, Trent Walters and Sean McDermott on the defensive side.
This past offseason, three of Sirianni’s assistants were linked to possible promotions. Defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon was up for head coaching jobs with the Texans, Broncos and Vikings; quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson interviewed for the Packers’ offensive coordinator position; and passing game coordinator Kevin Patullo was reportedly on the Bears’ radar for their offensive coordinator position, although he never actually interviewed as far as we know.
There’s a lot to be said for continuity, and a head coach bringing back his entire coaching staff for a second season is unusual but huge for returning players who do not have to start over with a new position coach or coordinator. They do not have to start from scratch figuring out what their coach is looking for in meetings and at practice, they do not have to learn new ways of communicating on gameday, they do not have to adjust to whatever methods of teaching every new coach is going to have.
The entire group can just pick up where they left off at the end of last year.
And it’s big for the coaches, too. As much time as they spend together studying film, crafting gameplans and teaching players, a second year together will only make that process smoother and more advanced.
It was clear by the end of last year that Sirianni had assembled a solid teaching staff and a group whose positivity and energy matched his.
To go from 2-5 in late October to the postseason speaks volumes not just about Sirianni but about his assistants. The Eagles became only the ninth team in NFL history to reach the playoffs after a 2-5 start and only the sixth to reach the playoffs with a winning record. That’s a direct reflection of what the coaching staff was able to build.
Now, it is fair to question the work of some of the assistants.
Aaron Moorehead has actually been here since Doug Pederson’s last season, and the performance of the wide receivers hasn’t been great, DeVonta Smith’s rookie year notwithstanding. But that could be more of a talent issue than a coaching issue. We’ll get a better feel for him this year now that he seemingly has a deep and talented cast to work with.
Defensive line coach Tracy Rocker’s unit seemed to underachieve much of the year, although Javon Hargrave and Josh Sweat did ultimately make the Pro Bowl as alternates.
And Michael Clay’s special teams group struggled in just about every area last year – in the return game, covering kicks and punts and obviously punting. He’s back for a second season as well.
But for the most part, this appears to be a good staff, and if the Eagles have another successful year, it’s going to be very hard for Sirianni to continue keeping them together.
Gannon is a lock for a head coaching job in the next year or two if the defense plays well, Johnson and Patullo are highly regarded offensive coaches who will likely have coordinator opportunities in the future, linebackers coach Nick Rallis, who’s just 27, will be in the conversation for defensive coordinator jobs in the next few years if his group plays up to expectations.
But for now, Sirianni is running it back with the same group, and considering the success the Eagles had last year, that looks like a pretty good idea.
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