PHILADELPHIA – When you talk about the Eagles' new coaching staff perhaps the biggest concern is the sounding board.
Who exactly is that going to be for Nick Sirianni?
What has been a successful theme in the NFL when it comes to rookie head coaches is marrying them with a veteran consigliere.
The Los Angeles Rams paired Sean McVay with then 70-year-old defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and ultimately reached the Super Bowl.
The Green Bay Packers teamed rookie head coach Matt LaFleur with defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, who had been a head coach in Cleveland.
Matt Nagy had Vic Fangio in Chicago and Joe Judge was able to procure former Cowboys coach Jason Garrett up the turnpike with the Giants.
Here in Philadelphia back in 2016, Doug Pederson was given Jim Schwartz, whose resume included a stint in the big chair with the Detroit Lions. To a lesser extent, even the micro-managing Chip Kelly was smart enough to have Pat Shurmur around.
This year, new Atlanta coach Arthur Smith was able to talk Dean Pees out of retirement and get him to join his staff while other first-timers like Robert Saleh with the Jets and Brandon Staley with the Chargers went a different route, preferring comfort and familiarity rather than been there, done that.
Sirianni, presumably with Jeffrey Lurie's blessing, also eschewed the McVay-Phillips route with an inner circle of thirtysomethings offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, and passing game coordinator Kevin Patullo.
There is also assistant head coach/running backs Jemal Singleton, an impressive Air Force grad who certainly commands respect.
Maybe the most interesting part of the Eagles' assistant coach availability this week came from Patullo when asked about his role on the staff, which has already spanned well beyond the passing game and into what sure sounded like a right-hand man.
"We were together going through a lot of the hiring process and things we want to get done and the culture we were thinking about setting and his ideas of what he wanted to do," Patullo said of Sirianni. "And just kind of being there for him, being a sounding board and let him take what he wanted to do, and then get in the right direction."
The one thing every first-time head coach has in common is the quick realization that their new job is going to pull them in 1,000 different directions, often away from actual X's and O's and into things like media responsibilities, logistics, charity work, and yes, office politics.
Sirianni and Patullo bonded in Indianapolis and have been charting their duel ambitions ever since.
"Anything that I could offer up to help him, I tried to do so that was big, obviously, for him," said Patullo. "And so I just wanted to support him in any way I could. And we had so many talks over the years, him and I about, 'Hey, you know, if one of us ever gets the chance, what are we going to do?'
"Obviously, he was in that position so it was cool to kind of see it go through with the knowledge and stuff he wanted to do."
The football side of Patullo's job is more straightforward.
"My role obviously with the pass game, I'll be heavily involved," he said. "I'm working with the receivers from time to time and in quarterback meetings, kind of being a little bit of everywhere, having my hands on everything, and, and making sure we're getting done what we want to do in the pass game and working with Shane," Patullo said.
"...the good thing is for all three of us, Shane, myself, and Nick. We've all worked together in some capacity with Nick. So it's very easy for us to come together. We know what Nick wants and, and the vision he has. So we can go work our angles and get things done that we need to get done."
It was, however, interesting to note that while Sirianni got thrown into the deep end it was Patullo he looked to when the chores started piling up, something the PCG let slip when asked about Sirianni's much-discussed introductory press conference.
"It's funny, I really didn't pay attention too much to it because he was so busy doing that stuff that I had all the other stuff he wanted me to do," said Patullo. "He's like, 'Hey, I got to do this, you got to do this, this and this for me.' So I was kind of like running around making phone calls, you know, 'hey, we're gonna interview this guy,' do this, do that. We're going to set up this, set up that, walking around the building. What are we going to change? You know, things like that."
Perhaps someone like Singleton, who came on later and may have been one of the interviews Patullo was tasked with setting up, emerges and becomes the most trusted advisor.
But it sure sounds like Sirianni already arrived with a plan named Patullo.
John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on both PhillyVoice.com and YouTube. John is also the host of his own show "Extending the Play" on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.