Aside from Sean Payton, Shane Steichen will be the hottest offensive-minded name in the offseason head coaching cycle. And considering how much it will cost to acquire Payton from the Saints, it’s probably not worth the investment for most ownership groups. And while Steichen has no head coaching experience, he might be the better offensive mind in 2023.
Shane Steichen Might Be the QB Whisperer
Steichen is arguably the best offensive coordinator in the NFL. Jalen Hurts is a talented quarterback with outstanding athleticism and a good arm, but he isn’t Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen.
Hurts has improved dramatically over the past two seasons as a passer. Howie Roseman certainly helped by trading for A.J. Brown, but Hurts has become comfortable over the middle for the first time in his young career, and he’s a much more confident processor at this point.
A season ago, the Eagles’ passing attack lived more as a touchdown or checkdown attack to best maximize Hurts’ passing ability, with the middle of the field locked. The passing attack has added versatility in 2022, and Steichen’s week-to-week adaptability is evident.
Justin Herbert’s best statistical season was in 2021 with Joe Lombardi calling plays, but we shouldn’t ignore how impressive Herbert’s rookie season with Steichen was. As a rookie, Herbert ranked 13th in EPA and threw for 4,336 yards and 31 touchdowns.
Innovating the QB Sneak
The Eagles’ 26 QB sneaks are nine more than any other team in the NFL. They’ve been successful on 24 of 26 attempts, but it’s the way they’ve gone about sneaking that garners so much attention.
Everyone in the stadium knows it’s happening, and it doesn’t matter. While it’s true that having arguably the best offensive line in the NFL helps in this situation, it’s the rugby-like scrum formation that really does the job.
Even when the initial push is unsuccessful, the two-handed shove, and sometimes carry, from the tight end and running back behind the QB is the difference-maker. It’s the most unfair play in the sport right now, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Competition Committee outlaw it in the future.
What Could Shane Steichen Make as a Head Coach
The top 10 head coaches in the NFL all make over $6 million annually. Even Philadelphia’s Nick Sirianni, a first-time head coach, makes that much. Head coaching contracts are skyrocketing, so it’s difficult to look at precedent for what Steichen could make as a first-time head coach.
However, not all coaches and organizations make their coaching salaries known, so there is some secrecy surrounding that aspect of the game.
Realistically, Steichen will make somewhere between $4-6 million per season.
What Teams Should Consider Targeting Shane Steichen?
The Denver Broncos are in a difficult position at quarterback. They are locked into Russell Wilson for the foreseeable future without much draft capital to replace him, should they want to. His play in 2022 inspired the opposite of confidence. However, Steichen’s perceived adaptability could be exactly what the doctor ordered.
However, the Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts should both take serious looks at Steichen. The Panthers are a young team with an aggressive owner who could use an offensive-minded head coach to groom their next QB. As long as he’s able to coerce a good defensive coordinator to join him, it would be a good pairing.
Jim Irsay’s offense was putrid in 2022, and Steichen could be the remedy for 2023 if Chris Ballard can find a quarterback.