Graham Harrell, who interviewed with the Eagles for their offensive-coordinator vacancy, is expected to stay at Southern Cal, per a report from The Athletic.
It’s unclear if the Eagles had offered Harrell the position. He met with coach Doug Pederson and team officials Friday at the NovaCare Complex, as first reported by The Inquirer.
The Eagles have kept their search private. Harrell has been just one of several names to surface. Former Colts and Lions coach Jim Caldwell had been mentioned as a candidate. The Eagles talked to Ravens quarterbacks coach James Urban, but he withdrew his name from consideration afterward. And Chiefs quarterbacks coach Mike Kafka is reportedly also on the team’s radar.
Kafka, whose Chiefs advanced to the Super Bowl, could meet with the Eagles this week if he agrees to interview. The former Eagles backup quarterback has been in Kansas City for the last three seasons and could be in line for a promotion in a year if offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy gets a head-coaching post.
Harrell has been at Southern Cal for only a year, but he had significant success running a version of the “Air Raid” offense. He ran the pass-heavy scheme first as a quarterback at Texas Tech under coach Mike Leach and then as an assistant under Leach at Washington State. Harrell then left to become the offensive coordinator at North Texas before leaving for the Trojans.
The Harrell interview suggested that Pederson is looking to bring in an outside voice with a different perspective. The former Packers quarterback also had some playing experience in a West Coast system.
Many NFL offenses have adapted ideas from the college game. Andy Reid’s Chiefs and John Harbaugh’s Ravens have been at the forefront of this movement. Baltimore offensive coordinator Greg Roman has received some credit for quarterback Lamar Jackson’s MVP-worthy season.
The Eagles’ pool of candidates isn’t as large as most because Pederson calls plays and is expected to retain those responsibilities next season. Most up-and-coming offensive-minded coaches aren’t willing to take what would be viewed by many on the outside as a cursory position.
Caldwell’s candidacy suggests that the Eagles have some interest in bringing in an experienced voice. The veteran coach is likely far enough along in his career that he isn’t worried about play-calling or moving up the coaching chain. Former Eagles assistant Marty Mornhinweg could also be willing to accept such a role.
Running backs coach Duce Staley and quarterbacks coach Press Taylor are likely to be internal candidates for the job.
Pederson fired Mike Groh two weeks ago after two years as offensive coordinator. The Eagles are also looking to fill three other coaching vacancies: wide receivers, cornerbacks and defensive linemen.