For as long as most of us have known what the NFL is, there have been those unwritten rules, those of the unofficial variety. Some say that the ‘defense wins championships’ theory isn’t totally true anymore. They’d argue that defense will allow you an opportunity for victory and that the offense, then, has to go and win the game for you. We’ve never asked Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen his theory on the topic, but we imagine he’d state the former. Still, that latter statement is true to some degree.
Steichen enters his second season as Philly’s OC, his first full run as the team’s full-time play-caller, and it feels like we aren’t as familiar with him as we are with the Birds’ other assistants, including defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon.
At the close of last year’s NFL season, it was J.G. that had earned the postseason interviews for a couple of head-coaching vacancies, and if Philadelphia’s defense is up to snuff in 2022, he’ll again be a hot commodity that, this time, lands one of those openings that come annually on Black Monday.
Don’t count Shane Steichen out though. There’s a mini-buzz that has attached itself to his name as well, and in a league geared towards making life easier for NFL offenses, a league where teams in need of head coaches often look for the next offensive genius, no one should be shocked if Steichen lands a job before Gannon.
Expect Shane Steichen to catapult himself onto the list of attractive future head coaches.
With all due respect, Jalen Hurts‘ statistics after his first four starts to close his rookie season, left much to be desired. He had tallied a very pedestrian 52-percent completion percentage while tossing six touchdowns and four interceptions en route to a 1-3 record. Sure, he probably would have wound up with a .500 record had he been able to complete the final game, but that’s another story.
The point is this. After taking a few steps forward during the 2021-2022 NFL season, Jalen continued a trend in which he’s improved every year since many of us were first introduced to him during his days at Alabama with the Crimson Tide. Expectation has risen in year three, and though he’s been criticized (as always), he didn’t look too bad during the Eagles’ regular-season opener in Detroit versus the Lions.
In 15 games a year ago, Hurts helped lead the Birds to an 8-7 mark. He missed Week 13’s game versus the New York Jets because of injury and sat out of the regular-season finale, but he turned quite a few heads when he was available.
The completion percentage rose from 52% to 61.3%. He tossed 16 scores versus nine interceptions. He also found his way into the end zone ten times as a runner. Hurts had no shot of winning the NFL’s MVP trophy, but we did hear his name mentioned. That has to count for something.
Jalen Hurts deserves more credit than he’s received, but Shane Steichen had his fingerprints all over the transformation as well. Heading into year three, Philly’s OC has been given the keys to a Ferrari and has been asked not to crash. Frankly, he deserves more than that.
This is one of the game’s brilliant offensive minds and with the NFL’s best offensive line, established stars like Dallas Goedert and DeVonta Smith, and an infusion of energy that has come in the addition of A.J. Brown, big things could be in store for the Eagles on offense which means big things could be in store for Shane Steichen professionally as well down the line.
He has everything he needs to be successful, including what’s long been known as a quarterback’s best friend, a strong running game. Boston Scott, Miles Sanders, Kenneth Gainwell, and Trey Sermon make up the quartet.
If Jalen Hurts takes another step forward as a passer, which is a reasonable request, and the Birds create the proper mixture to become an explosive offense, the Eagles won’t just be replacing one coordinator this offseason, they’ll be replacing two. Something tells us that Jonathan Gannon AND Shane Steichen will both be leading another team and crafting their own head-coaching records when the 2023 NFL season opens a year from now.