Eagles Thinking Dynasty, Will Reich Go to Colts, Vikings Hire DeFilippo

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Published on February 9 2018 6:03 am
Last Updated on February 9 2018 6:04 am

By ESPN

PHILADELPHIA -- The talk of building a dynasty started while the confetti was still falling in Minnesota.

"It's only the beginning," Philadelphia Eagles safety Rodney McLeod said. "We said it right after the game: This is the start of a dynasty, and that's what we're going to do."

The conversation was between McLeod and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, two veterans who came to the Eagles "to make history," per McLeod. They helped do it, as the Eagles captured their first Lombardi trophy with a 41-33 win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.

In his final meeting with the team prior to the locker room clean out on Wednesday, coach Doug Pederson established expectations now that the first goal has been accomplished.

"I told them, I said, 'You know, if you want -- get used to this. This is the new norm in Philadelphia, playing and hopefully playing into February every year. It's the new norm, so get used to it. Short offseasons and let's do that.'"

Pederson talked about the "not-so-glamorous side of success," which includes questions about potential holdouts and players gunning for big contracts and allowing things like endorsement deals to cut into their responsibilities.

"I hold myself accountable. I'm just like the players. I can't accept every deal that's out there," he said. "I can't agree to every speaking engagement out there because my goal is to win another one. If my time is spent doing other things, then that's not the focus, and that's where we're at right now as a team."

The Eagles are well-positioned for long-term success. Franchise quarterback Carson Wentz is 25 years old, and most of the core players are locked up for the foreseeable future. But, as Pederson already has started drilling home, it's going to take a long-term commitment to keep this run going.

"We have all the pieces. It's just going to be up to our mindset," McLeod said. "We're going to have the same focus, bring the same energy, have the same drive and determination that we did this year, even though this is our first one. If we want to be ever better, and great, then we've gotta win it again. So that's going to be our focus as soon as we get back here April 16th. We got the schedule, and our goal is going to be the same: We want to be holding that Lombardi again at the end of the year."

The players were still riding high on Wednesday as they gathered their belongings into trash bags. There were signed Super Bowl LII helmets and footballs awaiting them as they walked into the locker room. Veteran defensive end Chris Long placed a bottle of Crown Royal on each of their chairs, congratulating his teammates on becoming world champions. They spent plenty of time reveling in the win over the Patriots, and talking about what they're expecting out of Thursday's parade. But there was also a half-eye toward the future.

"We ain't done yet," defensive end Brandon Grah

 

Will Reich Go To Colts?

INDIANAPOLIS -- Will Frank Reich go from celebrating a Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles to returning to coach the Indianapolis Colts?

That could be the case.

Reich, the Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator, will be the second candidate to interview with the Colts in the second round of interviews to replace Chuck Pagano. New Orleans assistant head coach and tight ends coach Dan Campbell interviewed Thursday. The Colts added to their search when they received permission to interview Buffalo defensive coordinator Leslie Frazer. That interview will be held on Saturday.

Reich has spent the past two seasons in Philadelphia helping the Eagles' offense, which has been led by quarterbacks Carson Wentz and then Nick Foles, improve from 22nd to seventh in the NFL this season. And it didn't go unnoticed that the Eagles scored 41 points to beat New England in the Super Bowl. Reich doesn't call plays in Philadelphia. Head coach Doug Pederson calls the plays.

As a player, Reich was known for his ability to mount massive comebacks -- first at the University of Maryland and as primarily a backup quarterback with Buffalo Bills. He was also offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach with the San Diego Chargers and receivers coach in Arizona. But it was with the Colts that Reich got his coaching start.

He began his coaching career as an offensive staff assistant with former Colts coach Jim Caldwell in 2008 after having retired from playing 10 years earlier. Then Reich was Peyton Manning’s quarterback coach in 2009-10 before coaching Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne and the rest of the receivers in 2011.

One thing that could favor Reich is that Colts general manager Chris Ballard holds defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus in high regard and his ability to lead the unit.

“I got to know Matt Eberflus a few years ago and was blown away by Matt,” Ballard said. “Matt was a coveted coach. He’s a very talented defensive coordinator. I feel very lucky to have Matt Eberflus in the building running a scheme that I think fits our team that we can scout for and that fits our building. We’re playing on an indoor surface. We’re going to be playing in ideal weather 8-12 games a year that’s going to be based on athletic ability and speed. That’s how this defense is built.”

Having a defensive mind like Eberflus will be one less thing Reich would have to worry about. That’ll allow him to focus more on the offense, especially if he plans to call plays depending on who his offensive coordinator is.


Vikings Hire Eagles' DeFilippo as Offensive Coordinator

PHILADELPHIA -- The parade celebrating the Philadelphia Eagles' first Super Bowl championship had been over for just a few hours when ESPN's Adam Schefter broke the news that the Minnesota Vikings were hiring John DeFilippo, Philly's quarterbacks coach, to be their offensive coordinator.

It comes with the territory: Other teams are going to pull from a championship composition in an attempt to create one of their own. Nothing new there. And it's even less surprising considering the high level of success multiple quarterbacks on the Eagles had this season under DeFilippo's tutelage.

Carson Wentz made the leap in his second season and was a favorite for MVP before tearing his ACL and LCL in Week 14 against the Los Angeles Rams. DeFilippo and Wentz worked hard to make mechanical adjustments heading into Year 2, which helped Wentz take flight.

When Wentz was injured, DeFilippo, head coach Doug Pederson and offensive coordinator Frank Reich were charged with getting Nick Foles, who hadn't played meaningful snaps in more than a year, to a level that would allow the Eagles to continue to chase their championship goal. After some ups and downs over the first handful of weeks, Foles flourished, completing 73 percent of his passes with six touchdowns to one interception in the playoffs. Only two quarterbacks with at least 75 attempts had a higher completion percentage in a single postseason: Joe Montana (1989) and Troy Aikman (1993).

"Coach Flip, he's a grinder," Foles said of DeFilippo the day after winning Super Bowl MVP. "Barely sleeps. Fundamentals, giving us the game plan, giving us all our checks, extremely detailed. I'm grateful for him. He's done an amazing job this year. It's not easy when your franchise quarterback goes down, but the great thing about our team and our coaching staff is they work so well together and they do it all together. ... We're very fortunate as players to have such a great coaching staff."

During the lead-up to Super Bowl LII, DeFilippo was asked what his greatest point of personal pride was this season. His answer was surprising.

"[Third-stringer] Nate Sudfeld, in his first game action ever, setting an NFL record for completion percentage for a guy who threw 20-plus attempts in a game," he responded. Sudfeld went 19-of-23 in his pro debut against the Cowboys in Week 17. "We take pride in our room, and I take pride as a position coach to have all three guys ready to go."

DeFilippo was reminded that Wentz was nearly MVP and Foles was about to play in the Super Bowl.

"That goes back to the teacher part of it. We take pride in our organization of developing quarterbacks, and that's what we want to be known as," he said.

It's hard to argue with the work the Eagles' coaching staff did to that end this year. Now the Vikings get a piece of that. Their quarterback group -- whatever it looks like next season -- will be better off for it. And you can believe that DeFilippo will take some of Pederson's creative, aggressive playcalling along with him as well. Same could be said for Reich if he lands the Colts' head-coaching job. The Eagles' QB-centric offensive staff suddenly could have some holes to fill.

There are worthy candidates on staff -- Mike Groh as QB coach makes some sense -- and the Eagles still have two of the biggest keys when it comes to continued success at the position: Wentz and Pederson.

But the quality of the coaching staff was a big reason why the Eagles achieved what they did this season, and DeFilippo was among the best of the bunch. The next man in has some pretty big shoes to fill.