Duce Staley's Head Coaching Candidacy Gains Steam

As the Eagles coaching search marches on the buzz is growing for Doug Pederson's assistant head coach
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PHILADELPHIA - As speculation mounts, we do know at least one thing about Jeffrey Lurie's third coaching search since 2013, wherever it ends up the Eagles will claim they got their guy.

You should know better of course.

Doug Pederson was barely out of Palm Beach before Howie Roseman was on the phone to Lincoln Riley in Oklahoma but unless the Matt Rhule-setup, the one with some personnel power attached, was going to be offered, Riley wasn't about to listen, even to a close friend.

San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh and Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith weren't made offers because what would be the point? The flavors of the month had options and that meant Joe Douglas and the New York Jets for the former and a quick FedEx ground delivery from Nashville to Atlanta for Smith.

The Sean McVay male-model collection offered up Brandon Staley but he didn't even think the trip to Billionaire's Row in PBI was worth keeping Justin Herbert waiting while Buffalo offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, certainly a little taken aback by not getting the Chargers gig, said 'thanks, no thanks. I'll keep working with Josh Allen.'

So the search goes on with New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen the latest in a haphazard approach with no theme other than leftovers.

The leader in the clubhouse still appears to be New England OC Josh McDaniels but there is a late buzz building around the only in-house candidate Duce Staley.

Current team leaders like Brandon Graham and Rodney McLeod already went public with their support for Staley as did former high-profile players like Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Long.

In-house, those with access to Lurie's text line have been peppering the owner with similar snippets of support for the tough-minded Staley, Doug Pederson’s assistant head coach and the leader of the organization’s developmental program.

Then you have the Rooney Rule and the recent complaints by Fritz Pollard Alliance chairman Rod Graves as well as NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith after the first five hirings around the 2021 cycle produced a job for only one minority candidate who isn't an African-American in Saleh.

You're probably not going to see an Adam Silver-like situation here with the commissioner stepping in, but if Lurie decided to pick up the phone to say hello to Roger Goodell don't be surprised if there is some encouragement.

It's impossible for the Eagles to hit a HR in this search for a number of reasons: the meddling of Lurie, the power Roseman yields, the unsettled quarterback situation. and the significant salary-woes to start.

So why not Staley over McDaniels, who brings with him more baggage than a Kardashian prepping for a Vegas trip.

LeGarrette Blount has an interesting perspective as a 2017 Super Bowl hero who played under McDaniels in New England and had Staley as his position coach with the Eagles.

"I loved playing for Josh," Blount admitted Wednesday when talking with SportsRadio 94WIP. "Josh is an amazing offensive coordinator and game-planner on the offensive side. I've never been up under him as a head coach, but I know that he has been a head coach before and he obviously has some leadership skills and a lot of experience in the game."

Blount, however, did at least hint at some of the issues with McDaniels, who has rubbed people the wrong way more than once or twice over the years.

"I think the question is the approach," said Blount. "You get a lot of guys that come from New England that try to bring the New England way to a different team, and you don't have those same type of players. 

"Bill (Belichick) knows how to go get players that will fit into that and mold into that. I think sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. And I don't know how Josh would approach a head coaching situation, whether he'd want to bring that or whether he'd put his own spin on it like (Brian) Flores with Miami.

"You never know what the idea is, and what they are going to bring."

As for Staley, there were no conditions or contexts coming from Blount, just another endorsement.

"I think Duce is an amazing candidate, and I think Duce would be a great leader for that team," Blount said. "I would like that hire because I think everybody on that team and in that organization respects Duce to the utmost. They respect his opinions… they love him around there."

John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John every Tuesday and Thursday on "The Middle" with Eytan Shander, Harry Mayes, and Barrett Brooks on SportsMap Radio and PhillyVoice.com. He’s also the host of Extending the Play on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

Ed Kracz is the publisher of EagleMaven. Check out anything you may have missed pertaining to the Eagles by going to www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.