Eagles Top Assistant Hints at Future Head-Coaching Job in NFL

Doug Pederson

Getty Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, with his top assistant Duce Staley.

When Doug Pederson was forced into self-quarantine, one man stepped up to deliver his message. That man learned a lot in those 10 days.

Duce Staley wears a ton of hats in Philadelphia where he serves as assistant head coach and running backs coach while helping scheme the offense. He’s universally respected in both the Eagles’ locker room and across the NFL, so it was no surprise that Pederson put him in charge in the head coach’s absence. The former three-time 1,000-yard rusher told reporters the experience was “awesome” and his key takeaway was learning the three L’s: “listen, learn and lead.”

“First of all, it was awesome just being able to be in that role,” Staley said. “For the organization to look at me and trust me to be in that role to lead the team. When Doug was out of the building, he trusted me to step right in and take over and continue to deliver our message as a team and continue to deliver his message.”

Staley began his coaching career as an intern under then-Eagles coach Andy Reid in 2010 and survived two regime changes, including the volatile Chip Kelly experiment. He has almost two decades of Philly knowledge counting his playing days, plus a new “little notebook of secrets.”

“I learned a lot and I have a little notebook up there with some secrets in it, so it’s been cool,” Staley said of his 10 days guiding the Eagles. “It was exciting for me because of course, playing here in this great city and coming back coaching and being able to be the head coach for those 10 days was just awesome.”

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Staley Deserves Shot at Head-Coaching Job

Staley’s name has long been mentioned as a potential head-coaching candidate in the league. It’s pretty surprising the 45-year-old hasn’t had teams knocking down his door. Five franchises hired new head coaches in 2020, none of them interviewed Staley. In fact, he has only been interviewed once for a head-coaching job in his entire career — in 2016, when the Eagles interviewed him for the job that eventually went to Pederson.

It just doesn’t seem fair. Add to the equation that there are only three current black head coaches in the NFL: Mike Tomlin, Brian Flores, Anthony Lynn. Rooney Rule be damned, Staley deserves a shot and his players share that sentiment.

“Duce definitely got my vote for a future head coach,” Eagles running back Corey Clement said. “Duce Staley did a great job of making sure the team stayed together realizing that we still have the end (game) and that’s to win the Super Bowl regardless of whether Doug is in the building or not.”

“He’s a players’ coach,” added fellow back Boston Scott. “There wasn’t any difference. Things continue to go as scheduled.”

When will that schedule include the words “Duce Staley” and “NFL head coach” … that is anyone’s guess.

“We all want to advance. That’s life,” Staley told reporters earlier this month. “But right now, I’m super happy in my role. Proud of my role. Being assistant head coach, running backs coach. I’m proud of that.”

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