Maybe the Eagles should have taken advice from Don Corleone and made James Urban an offer he couldn’t refuse.
They didn’t and the Ravens quarterbacks coach won’t be returning home to Philadelphia to serve as Eagles offensive coordinator.
In fact, a pair of Ravens assistants — Urban and tight-ends coach Bobby Engram — both turned down offers from the Eagles to join Doug Pederson’s coaching staff. Urban was reportedly their leading candidate for offensive coordinator while Engram was in the mix to be their new wide receivers coach. Instead, the Eagles have moved their focus over to the college ranks.
According to The Inquirer’s Jeff McLane, the Eagles will interview University of Southern California offensive coordinator Graham Harrell for the same job in Philadelphia. The 34-year-old would fill the vacancy left behind when the team fired Mike Groh.
Harrell, who played quarterback at Texas Tech, helped popularize the so-called “Air Raid” offense while working with head coach Mike Leach at Washington State. It’s more of a philosophy than a playbook.
“I’ve told a lot of people that I think the air-raid is much more of a philosophy than true Xs and Os,” Harrell told Michael Loy last April. “It gives you an identity. It’s basically, limit what you do, get really good at what you do and execute at a high level.”
You Thought Andy Reid Didn’t Like to Run the Football?
Buckle up, Eagles fans. Graham Harrell likes to throw more than Andy Reid.
The “Air Raid” offense is fun to watch and, per Daniel Chaderjian, relies on the following principles: keep the plays simple, spread defenses out, pass often and efficiently move the ball downfield. USC ranked No. 20 in total offense in college football in 2019, including No. 6 in passing offense at 335.8 yards per game.
In addition, USC passed the ball on 56-percent of their plays in 2019 and gained 73-percent of their yards on passing plays. The school spread the ball around, too, with four different receivers accounting for 86-percent of the receptions.
The biggest threat was Michael Pittman Jr., a talented wide receiver who should be on the board for the Eagles in either the first or second round. He racked up 101 catches for 1,275 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Trojans this season.
Graham Harrell Brings No NFL Coaching Experience
While there is a lot to like about Graham Harrell as an offensive mind, he has never coached in the NFL. His only experience is in the college ranks.
Harrell starred at quarterback for Texas Tech where he set a slew of passing records, including setting an NCAA all-time record of 134 passing touchdowns. Case Keenum has since topped that record (154). He posted back-to-back 5,000-yard seasons at Texas Tech and threw for 15,793 yards in four years.
Unfortunately, Harrell went undrafted in 2009 and went up to Canada to play for the Saskatchewan Roughriders for a lone season before once again pursuing his NFL dreams.
The Green Bay Packers signed him in 2010 and he bounced around from the practice squad to the active roster. He appeared in four games over three years and went 2-of-4 for 20 yards, with a lost fumble.
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