The Lions are going to do for Duce Staley what the Eagles seemingly never did. They are going to actually prepare him to be a head coach.
Staley was the assistant head coach for deposed head coach Doug Pederson for the last three seasons, but it appears now as if that was just some gussied-up job title, with very few benefits.
Yeah, Staley took over when Pederson battled COVID-19 last summer, but Pederson never fell out of touch with the team, doing everything virtually, so how much of a role Staley actually had “running” the team was likely very little.
That won’t be the case in Detroit, according to new head coach Dan Campbell.
"I said, 'Look, you're not going to be a token assistant head coach,'" Campbell said Tuesday morning in a Zoom interview with the Detroit media in an interview that was posted on the team’s website.
"I'm going to use him. I plan on using him for some media obligations. We had him in our player evaluations - the whole offense and defense.”
Campbell and other coaches around the NFL are speaking to the media via zoom since the NFL Scouting Combine is not being held this year. The Combine is where coaches and general managers have been available around this time of year when the Combine is held.
The Eagles have not yet scheduled any availability with new coach Nick Sirianni, except to make him available in-house with their website’s team reporter. A media session with Sirianni and perhaps general manager Howie Roseman could possibly happen after the new league year begins on March 17 and the trade of Carson Wentz will become official, allowing both coach and GM to talk about it more freely.
Ad for Staley, Campbell said he is going to immerse Staley in everything that will help him become a head coach at some point.
"I'm going to keep him abreast of the cap, things of that nature - what we're trying to do," Campbell said. "What we're trying to do with free agent guys I know, even if they're on defense. I want him to have a hand in it. I already told him I want him to look over the fine schedule - we sit down together."
Campbell was groomed to become a head coach by Sean Payton in New Orleans after Payton hired him in 2016 to be the assistant head coach in addition to being the tight end coach.
It was more than just a title.
Staley spent 10 years with the Eagles as the running backs coach before having assistant head coach added to his job description.
He was passed over twice in interviews to be the head coach and was overlooked in a bid to land the offensive coordinator’s job after Frank Reich left following the 2017 Super Bowl, with the Eagles promoting Mike Groh from receiver coach to OC.
Staley left last month after the Eagles hired Sirianni.
"I'm going to use this guy," Campbell said. "He's going to be primed and ready to be a head coach when it's all said and done.
"All of his bases will be covered. He's going to be able to check off every box. I've been there. I've done that. I know I've been training for this.'
"Just like Sean did for me. He's going to be a true assistant head coach. If something goes down and he needs to step into my seat, he's ready to roll. I've got a lot of respect for Duce. He's a hell of a man. I think he's a hell of a coach. I really do. I think he's going to be a head coach in this league sooner rather than later.
"Now, hopefully, later than sooner, but I know it's going to happen."
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s EagleMaven. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.