A league source confirmed reports Monday that Shane Steichen will be the Eagles’ offensive coordinator under new head coach Nick Sirianni.
Steichen, 35, was the Los Angeles Chargers’ offensive coordinator under former head coach Anthony Lynn, who was fired at the end of the 2020 season. Steichen spent nine years with the Chargers in two stints, separated by a 2013 interlude with the Cleveland Browns. He worked alongside Sirianni from 2014-17, when Steichen was an offensive quality control coach and then quarterbacks coach, and Sirianni was quarterbacks coach, then wide receivers coach.
Steichen is a former UNLV quarterback who took over the Chargers’ offense in the middle of the 2019 season when coordinator Ken Whisenhunt was fired. The offense improved in the second half of that season.
In 2020, Steichen and the Chargers transitioned to rookie quarterback Justin Herbert, who showed excellent promise, completing 66.6% of his passes for 4,336 yards, 31 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, and a 98.3 passer rating. No Eagles quarterback has ever thrown for that many yards. The yardage and touchdown totals were NFL rookie records.
Former Colts offensive coordinator Sirianni, Steichen, and passing-game specialist Kevin Patullo, who reportedly is leaving that position in Indianapolis to join Sirianni with the Eagles, would seem to be the major figures charged with sorting out the Eagles’ quarterbacking situation. Carson Wentz nosedived to the bottom of the league in 2020, his fifth NFL season. Wentz was benched in favor of rookie Jalen Hurts for the final four games. Hurts provided energy and something of a different look to the offense, but the results didn’t change.
Patullo and Steichen’s arrivals apparently will lead to Press Taylor’s departure. The Eagles’ pass-game coordinator and quarterbacks coach is not expected to be retained on Sirianni’s staff, a league source said, confirming an NJ.com report. The move isn’t all that surprising, considering the offensive coaching hires Sirianni has already made. Still, it leaves the Eagles in the market for a quarterbacks coach, unless Patullo assumes that role.
Just last offseason, Taylor was considered one of the promising assistants on Doug Pederson’s staff, getting a promotion that added pass-game coordinator to his title after two seasons as the team’s QBs coach. Pederson considered Taylor a protege. But Taylor couldn’t stop Wentz’s regression, amid reports that he was more of a friend than a coach to Wentz. When Pederson suggested in his first postseason meeting with team owner Jeffrey Lurie that Taylor should become the offensive coordinator, Pederson might have set in motion his dismissal.
Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman want to see a reinvigorated Wentz, after having invested $128 million in a four-year, contract extension in 2019. Trading Wentz this offseason would put a cap-pressed team in even more of a bind, incurring what would be a league-record $34 million dead cap charge. Wentz was said to be disaffected from Pederson, wanting a trade. Sirianni reportedly has spoken with Wentz, but there has been no word from the quarterback about his view of the situation.
Two weeks ago, when Lurie explained his decision to move on from Pederson, Lurie called Wentz “very fixable.”
Steichen’s first full year running the Chargers’ attack ended with the offense ranked seventh in passing DVOA, 13th in weighted DVOA. (The Eagles ranked 29th and 27th, respectively, in those categories.)
There were hiccups, such as when Steichen and Lynn exchanged words on the sideline after Steichen called a running play on third-and-1 from Atlanta’s 8-yard line, with no timeouts and 22 seconds remaining in the first half of what eventually became a Chargers victory.
After the run failed to produce a first down, the field goal team hurried onto the field but was flagged for an illegal shift, triggering a 10-second runoff that ended the half.
“Should not have dialed up a run right there,” Lynn said afterward. “That was a mistake. I don’t really want to go into the details of mine and Shane’s conversation after the game, but I’ve put that one behind us. I think it’s an easy fix. We’re gonna move on and our focus is going to be on [the] Las Vegas Raiders.”
When Steichen was asked about the sequence -- similar to another that had occurred a few weeks earlier -- he referred reporters to Lynn’s remarks and reiterated that he was moving on to preparing to play the Raiders.
It might be relevant to the Eagles’ situation that in Los Angeles, Steichen worked first with veteran Philip Rivers, then with rookie Herbert. Though Lurie and Roseman want to see their investment in Wentz redeemed, there is no guarantee that Wentz still wants to play here, or that he will emerge as the starter if there is a competition with Hurts. With the sixth overall draft pick, the Eagles could draft a quarterback, if, say, the new coach becomes enamored of a prospect who ends up being available there.
Steichen was asked near the end of the 2020 season about developing QBs.
“A lot of it is obviously getting to know him as a person, and how he learns. And then once you find out how players learn -- because everyone learns differently -- once you learn how they learn, it helps the process moving forward,” Steichen said. “[Herbert is] a very smart guy, but to understand how he sees the game and how he processes information is big, and it helps you as a coach. Ultimately, we’re teachers.”
“Some guys are visual learners. Some guys are audio learners. ... [Early on] it’s more like, ‘Do you like the information that we’re giving you? Do you like the visual learning?’ Because Philip was a big audio guy -- any time you said something, he could just picture it in his mind. ... [Herbert] has done a nice job with the information we’ve given him over the season.”
Staff writer EJ Smith contributed to this report.