Shane Steichen makes it sound so easy.
It really isn’t.
“If something is working, stay with it,” Steichen explained on Tuesday. “Stay with it. And that's how it went against the Titans. We were throwing it good and we kept throwing it.”
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In the last two weeks, the Eagles have put up 450+ yards of offense in back-to-back wins over the Packers and Titans and did it in completely different ways. They ran for 363 yards against the Packers and followed that up with 384 passing yards against the Titans on Sunday.
That just doesn’t happen.
In fact, the Eagles are the first team since the 1987 Raiders to throw for 350+ yards a game after running for 350+ yards in the previous game.
“I heard that,” Steichen said of making history. “That's pretty cool to be a part of that. But it's a credit to the players and the work they've put in each and every week and the way they prepare. It was awesome to see. That was a good performance.”
Sure, the players deserve a ton of the credit. After all, you need to have a complete offensive roster to pull off something like that.
Having a quarterback like Jalen Hurts who has dual-threat ability is special. An offensive line that can run block and pass block certainly helps. And having skills players like A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith and Miles Sanders makes it all possible.
So give general manager Howie Roseman a tip of the cap; he put this roster together.
But you need to have the right play-caller in place too.
Because so many NFL offenses are so concerned about finding their own identity that they can get in their own way.
What kind of team are we? What kind of team do we want to be?
The Eagles under Nick Sirianni aren’t having those kinds of philosophical debates. What kind of team are they? They’re the kind of team that’s going to do whatever wins.
They’re the kind of offense that can look at a defense, pinpoint the weakness and step on it repeatedly with excessive force. If that means 50 rushing attempts, fine. If that means 40 passing attempts, so be it.
“I think within the flow of a game, you have an idea how you want it to play out, but each and every week it could be different,” Steichen said. “And if something is working, stay with it.”
Through 12 games, the Eagles have the No. 2 offense in the NFL. It’s important to remember that it’s still Sirianni’s offense, but it’s also important to remember that it’s Steichen calling the plays on game day. He’s shown such a flare all season for pushing all the right buttons and it might put a shelf life on his time here in Philadelphia.
On all those early head coaching candidate lists, you’ll see Steichen’s name. And for good reason. Not only has he been a tremendous play caller this season after finishing up with that role at the end of 2021, but he’s also had a hand in the success of two of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL.
Steichen was the offensive coordinator in Justin Herbert’s Rookie of the Year season in 2020 and now he’s the offensive coordinator for what might end up being an MVP season for Hurts in his second year as a starter. It’s hard to overlook that level of play from such young quarterbacks.
Sure, there have been times this season when the Eagles’ offense has sputtered some but it’s worth noting how consistent it has been. The Eagles have gone for over 400 yards of offense in seven games this season. That ties them with the Chiefs and Bills for the most in the NFL in 2022 and the Eagles have done it in a way more balanced way in their seven games:
Eagles: 61.2% passing, 38.8% running
Chiefs: 71.8% passing, 28.2% running
Bills: 71.3% passing, 28.7% running
In some ways, Steichen’s thought process the last couple games is the same thought process from Sirianni when asked before the season if he would continue to cede play-calling duties to Steichen. It’s working so why change it?
And that decision from Sirianni has really been paying off in 2022. Last year, the Eagles were concerned about losing defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, but he returned after a few head coaching interviews didn’t turn into offers. There’s still a pretty good chance Gannon could be leaving this offseason for a head job.
But Steichen might be gone too. Watching him work this year, that’s starting to seem like a likely outcome.
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