The Philadelphia Eagles are trying to start over from the Andy Reid regime. However, the Eagles can’t seem to completely cut the cord just yet. Although Pat Shurmur hasn’t coached for Reid since 2008, he would be a symbol of the old days if he does return as offensive coordinator, as the Associated Press alleged on Jan. 21.
Shurmur was there with Reid right from the beginning of his tenure in 1999, as the Eagles’ tight ends coach. He was then promoted to quarterbacks coach in 2002 and worked with Donovan McNabb and his various, valuable backups until 2008. But he spread his wings away from Philadelphia afterwards, although his stints as offensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams and head coach of the Cleveland Browns lasted just two years each.
Now with reports that Shurmur will return as offensive coordinator, he will be the sole familiar face on the Eagles coaching staff. In some ways, this is a relief, given the inexperience of Chip Kelly and how he may need at least one veteran coach to help him adjust to the NFL. In another way, having anyone around with close ties to Reid and the old Eagles’ administration is a bit uneasy.
Of course, Shurmur left before Reid’s regime collapsed over the last four years. He got out right after the Eagles lost the 2009 NFC title game, and both he and the team have struggled ever since. Although Shurmur’s performances in St. Louis and Cleveland made him less appealing, perhaps joining up with Kelly will give both him and Philadelphia new life.
The Eagles never won a playoff game after Shurmur left Reid’s staff, so it could be that he is a good luck charm of sorts. However, testing that by hiring him as Kelly’s first offensive coordinator is a big gamble. If Shurmur’s professional experience and Kelly’s collegiate innovations don’t blend together, Philadelphia will be far from lucky.
If there was any magic left from the good old days of Reid’s tenure, Reid couldn’t find it in the last four years. But since Shurmur left before those good old days were gone for good, maybe he can find some of that old, hidden magic and give it to Kelly -- or so the Eagles need to hope.