Kelly’s coaching tree beginning to sprout

Posted on January 6, 2014

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Via Jason La Canfora:

[L]eague sources said they expect [Washington General Manager Bruce Allen] to interview at least one member of Chip Kelly’s staff in Philadelphia. It will be likely either offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur or quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor, or perhaps even both.

Prediction: Neither will be hired as a head coach anywhere this offseason.

You probably agree with me, but let me make you more confident. Per the N.Y.T.:

The coaching job interview is also a preferred time for a team to glean information about what strategies the candidate’s former team used, or even how it ran practice. It would be impossible to gauge the worthiness of the candidate for the job without hearing what he did in his earlier position. But if a team interviews six candidates for a coordinator position, it also gathers fresh intelligence on six potential foes. Occasionally, coaches say, it seems that is the only reason for the job interview — something that Al Davis, the owner of the Oakland Raiders, has been accused of.

Given how Washington appears content to interview either of them, it sure seems like they just want information on what the Eagles do.

Edit: I originally wrote some thoughts on whether Kelly would grant permission. All moot and removed for two reasons.

  1. Teams cannot block requests for assistants to interview for head coaching vacancies prior to March 1st.
  2. Per Reuben Frank (live-tweeting a Kelly press conference, I believe), Kelly has not received any requests to interview any of his assistants and wouldn’t block them.)

Shurmur is such a recently and spectacularly failed head coach that he doesn’t seem likely to get an offer from anywhere. Then again, Belichick was also a largely unsuccessful coach in his first location (also in Cleveland!), and things turned out well for him. And as Chase Stuart demonstrated, retreads and ex- offensive coordinators are the most common coaching hires.

With Lazor, while quarterbacks-coach-to-successful-head-coach is not an unheard transition (c.f. Andy Reid), long-term, Lazor probably benefits by spending more time under Kelly. They’ve only been working together and learning from one another for a year. It’s also worth noting Lazor was with Washington as an offensive assistant from 2004–2005, and became QB coach for 2006–2007 (Mark Brunell/Jason Campbell/Todd Collins era).

For what it’s worth, Reuben Frank wrote back in July, before Lazor had coached a game with the Eagles:

Once in a while, an assistant coach comes along who you just know is going to one day be an NFL head coach. They just have that aura about them. Jon Gruden had it when he was in Philly. Jeff Fisher had it. John Harbaugh definitely had it. Bill Lazor has it, too. Sharp guy. Will be interesting to watch his career unfold.

Ultimately, it’s a great sign that there is interest in Eagles assistant coaches. I’m very curious to see if as Kelly’s coaching tree sprouts, his former assistants carry his innovations (sports science, music at practice, Monday off days, etc.) with them. Oregon still plays music at practice even with Kelly gone. Gus Bradley brought music to Jacksonville after leaving Pete Carroll, who plays music at Seahawks practices. It’ll be a great endorsement that Kelly’s stuff works if Kelly’s disciples take those practices to their new teams.

Follow Allen Rodriguez on Twitter at @ByAJRodriguez.

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Posted in: Eagles