Pat Shurmur will help direct Eagles offense

Pat Shurmur
Pat Shurmur
Posted: January 21, 2013

The Eagles have hired former Cleveland Browns coach Pat Shurmur, an NFL source said Sunday.

Shurmur is expected to be named offensive coordinator, but an exact title had yet to be determined.

New Eagles coach Chip Kelly likely will handle the offensive play-calling next season. He became one of the NFL's highest-paid coaches by signing a five-year contract worth $32.5 million with the Birds last week, ESPN reported.

But he said that he was looking for a coordinator to help in the passing game. Shurmur has extensive experience in the pass-heavy West Coast offense.

Shurmur declined to confirm his hiring when contacted.

"I'll let Chip, Howie [Roseman], and Derek [Boyko] handle that," Shurmur said.

Roseman is the Eagles' general manager, and Boyko is the team's director of communications. The team said it would not comment on assistant coaching hires until Kelly finishes assembling his staff.

Shurmur has worked with a number of NFL quarterbacks, first with the Eagles as quarterbacks coach from 2002-08. He will be tasked with helping nurture Nick Foles as he enters his second season. Kelly has not named Foles his starter, but at the least he is expected to be back next season.

The Eagles have yet to make a decision on Michael Vick, who could be released before a provision in his contract kicks in Feb. 6 and guarantees him $3 million. If he is released, as some expect, the Eagles will add another quarterback.

Shurmur became the Rams offensive coordinator in 2009 and was instrumental in the development of quarterback Sam Bradford during his rookie season in 2010.

Kelly has spent much of his time reaching out to and interviewing candidates since his hiring on Wednesday.

He did not have to go far to fill two spots.

Ted Williams, who coached Eagles running backs for the last 16 years, will coach the tight ends.

Duce Staley, a special-teams assistant last season, will take Williams' place and coach running backs for Kelly, according to a team source.

Kelly has yet to hire a defensive coordinator. The Eagles interviewed New York Giants linebackers coach Jim Herremann on Saturday. They have been linked most prominently to Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, but an interview has not been reported.

Kelly is expected to bring a handful of staffers from Oregon, including defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro. Boston College linebackers coach Bill McGovern reportedly was set to join Kelly's staff in some capacity.

On the surface, Shurmur is a peculiar hire because his offensive philosophy is different from Kelly's. The 47-year-old Shurmur has a long history of working with the West Coast offense, while Kelly was a proponent of the spread offense at Oregon.

The great unknown with Kelly is how much of his scheme he intends to bring to the NFL. The spread increasingly has seeped into the pros. The Shurmur hire could be a sign that Kelly intends to meld some of his offense with a more traditional one.

Shurmur was fired Dec. 31 after two seasons in Cleveland. The Browns went 9-23 during his tenure. His offense often was criticized for being too conservative.

Shurmur was brought to the Eagles to be tight ends coach in 1999 after coaching at the collegiate level for nine years. He held that post for three seasons before switching to quarterbacks.

Donovan McNabb was already a Pro Bowler by that point, but Shurmur played a part in his development along with that of A.J. Feeley and Kevin Kolb.

Some thought Shurmur would follow Andy Reid, who was hired by the Chiefs on Jan. 4, to Kansas City. Reid named former Eagles quarterbacks coach Doug Pederson as his offensive coordinator instead.

Shurmur's offenses in St. Louis and Cleveland struggled to gain yards or score points, and his tenure in Cleveland was marred by game-day mistakes in play-calling and use of personnel. But Rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden did show improvement as the season progressed.


Contact Jeff McLane at jmclane@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @Jeff_McLane.

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