In 2016, the Philadelphia Eagles hired Doug Pederson to replace a head coach they hired out of college.
In 2021, the Philadelphia Eagles could hire a college head coach to replace Doug Pederson.
There’s already a buzz that the Eagles are going to race the University of Oklahoma Lincoln Riley.
Ed Kracz reports that the Eagles contacted Riley “shortly after” the team split from Pederson on Monday. He also notes that “this is not the first time that the Eagles have spoken to Riley about his potential interest in the Eagles. “
We previously knew that Riley had a relationship with Eagles general manager Howie Roseman. Paul Domowitch of The Inquirer spoke about it in early August:
Roseman and the Eagles have cultivated a good relationship with Riley, who is one of the best college coaches in the country. Two years ago, the Eagles were considering drafting Oklahoma’s offensive tackle Orlando Brown in the second round, but saw it more as a right tackle than a left tackle, and they weren’t really interested in bringing back Lane Johnson. on the left side at this stage of his career. Riley agreed with their assessment of Brown and the Eagles ended up drafting tight end Dallas Goedert, who quickly became one of the best tight ends in the league. […] Riley even had some influence on the Eagles’ decision to take TCU wide receiver Jalen Reagor in the first round. Riley had recruited Reagor when he was a high school star at Waxahachie (Texas) High School. His team also played against him for three years in the Big 12. He spoke highly of him to the Eagles scouts when they told him about [Jalen] It hurts. He said Reagor would have been a catcher of 100 catches per year in the Oklahoma attack.
These aren’t the only signs the Eagles are interested in Riley.
Tim McManus wrote the following earlier Monday:
Some believe the Eagles will race Oklahoma Sooners coach Lincoln Riley. He coached Hurts at the college level, specialized in the QB position and is said to have a strong relationship with Eagles general manager Howie Roseman. It would probably take a lot of money to lure Riley out of Norman, but they might see it as a wise investment.
Even more buzz emerged:
I suspect you’ll be hearing a lot of buzz about the Eagles and Lincoln Riley in the days and weeks to come.
– Geoff Mosher (@GeoffMosherNFL) January 11, 2021
Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson, who played college football in Oklahoma before Riley’s arrival, potentially added more fuel to the fire:
Riley, who is just 38 in September, certainly has an intriguing profile.
He’s 45-8 overall as the Sooners head coach since he was hired to replace Bob Stoops in 2017. Riley has coached the 2018 overall No. 1 pick at Baker Mayfield and the No. 1 2019 Kyler Murray. Oh, and 2020 second-round pick Jalen Hurts, who was a Heisman finalist.
Oklahoma has enjoyed offensive preeminence since Riley was initially hired as offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach six years ago. From his bio:
Since the start of the 2015 campaign, the UO has been ranked first nationally in scores (44.6 points per game; the second highest is 41.6), total offense (554.9; the second highest is 516.4), scrum touchdowns (382), passing efficiency rating (189.0; second best is 168.1) and yards per attempted pass (10.7), second in completion percentage (69.1), third in passing attack (321.9) and ninth in running attack (233.0). With that kind of offensive production, it’s no surprise that the Sooners have posted a record 58-10 (.853) since joining (41-5 in the Big 12 game). OU’s overall score since 2015 is the fourth best nationally, with only Clemson (69-5), Alabama (66-6) and Ohio State (61-7) having better records.
If you’re looking for a lightweight against Riley, he’s only 1-3 in bowling games and 0-3 in college football playoffs. And there are obviously questions as to whether his college success will translate into the NFL, just as there were when the Eagles lured Chip Kelly away from Oregon in 2013.
Whether the Eagles can land Riley remains to be seen. The Lubbock, Texas native signed a six-year, $ 45.2 million contract extension through 2025 with Oklahoma last year. Jeffrey Lurie will likely have to make a lucrative offer to Riley to get him out of Norman.
It is also necessary to wonder about the type of responsibility which it seeks in matters of control of the workforce. We all know the last college coach the Eagles hired staged a power play. Perhaps Roseman’s pre-existing relationship with Riley could put the two of better on the same page and avoid such a conflict.
It was thought the Eagles wouldn’t have fired Pederson a week into the end of the season if they didn’t already have a replacement lined up. If so, Riley might just be that guy.