Three-time Super Bowl Champion running back LeGarrette Blount admitted Wednesday that he was surprised by the firing of his former head coach Doug Pederson.
However, he's probably as qualified as anyone to discuss who should be the next head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, given the direction that the search has taken.
Prior to joining the Eagles, Blount spent parts of four seasons over two different stints with the New England Patriots, helping the team to win two Super Bowl titles. During that period, his offensive coordinator was Josh McDaniels, who currently has the best odds to become the next head coach of the Eagles, after interviewing with team brass last weekend.
McDaniels, 44, burned out in his first stint as a head coach, going just 11-17 in two seasons with the Denver Broncos. However, he's since returned the Patriots and helped lead the franchise to three more Super Bowl victories. Does Blount think that more than a decade after his first stint as a head coach McDaniels would thrive if given a second shot?
"I liked playing for Josh - I loved playing for Josh." Blount said Wednesday to Jon Marks and Ike Reese on SportsRadio 94 WIP. "Josh is an amazing offensive coordinator and gameplanner 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.
"I think the question is the approach. 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."
This wasn't Blount saying that the Eagles shouldn't hire McDaniels, but he does appear to recognize that those who have attempted to recreate the dynamics in New England - McDaniels in Denver, Bill O'Brien in New England, Matt Patricia in Detroit - haven't been very successful. Frankly, it remains to be seen whether "the New England way" can succeed for an extended period of time without Tom Brady at quarterback.
Blount spent just one season in Philadelphia, but the Eagles won their lone Super Bowl title in 2017 (over the Patriots), when Duce Staley was Blount's position coach. Blount didn't seem to have any hesitancy when talking about Staley, the team's assistant head coach and running backs coach.
"I think Duce is an amazing candidate, and I think Duce would be a great leader for that team," Blount said, well, bluntly.
"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...he's a former player...he can relate to every single person and any kind of person in that locker room and in that building. This is just me, from being there for a year—I can't imagine what people think about him that have been there a lot longer."
This doesn't seem to be a case of a running back just supporting his old position coach. Rodney McLeod, Brandon Graham and Malcolm Jenkins have been among the current or former Eagles defensive leaders who have vouched for Staley. Another former running back, Darren Sproles, has as well. In fact, SportsRadio 94 WIP's Howard Eskins reported Tuesday that some players have texted owner Jeffrey Lurie to endorse Staley, now 45, to be the team's next head coach.
Having the support of current and former players doesn't necessarily mean that you'll be a great head coach. Certainly, though, there does appear to be a fairly universal belief from those who have been coached by the former Eagles running back that he deserves the chance to lead the team.