Why John DeFilippo Was The Perfect Choice

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The Vikings landed a white whale with the hire of Eagles QB coach John DeFilippo at offensive coordinator. The OC hunt was a high-consequence decision – no matter the duration of DeFilippo’s stay, he’ll have a say in the Vikings’ long term QB plans as well as a pivotal year of their “Super Bowl window.” DeFilippo is a highly regarded offensive mind with positive prior results. The only reason he isn’t still calling plays in Cleveland is because Hue Jackson wanted to call his own plays as the head coach replacing Mike Pettine. After a brief detour through Philadelphia (and under the wing of the new face of football analytics), he’ll be once again calling an offense for a defensive-minded head coach.

So who is this guy, and what makes him qualified? You may hear “QB Guru,” and that’s because most of DeFilippo’s coaching career has been focused around quarterbacks. He has 13 years of quarterback coaching experience, working with Carson Palmer, Daunte Culpepper, Derek Carr and most recently, Carson Wentz. He also worked with Jamarcus Russell and Johnny Manziel, and while they didn’t work out, those quarterbacks had their best years under DeFilippo’s tutelage.

Mike Zimmer is a bona fide leader of the defense, and his unit has soared to elite heights. John DeFilippo is seen as someone with many of the same qualities. This piece by NFL.com’s Marc Sessler emphasizes DeFilippo’s passion for constant innovation and improvement. He gives off vibes of Sean McVay, rookie head coach, NFC West winner, young, energetic mind and Coach of the Year.

Benjamin Solak of Bleeding Green Nation writes about DeFilippo’s youthful energy and constant drive:

Every Friday, DeFilippo hands his quarterbacks a test that also serves as a tip sheet. … If the defense is showing a certain look pre-snap, how should they adjust the protection? If Wentz reads zone coverage on a specific passing concept, where should he go with the ball? If a cornerback is playing a specific leverage, how is the receiver supposed to adjust his route?

 

John DeFilippo talked a lot in Philadelphia about “changing launch points” in an NFL offense. That is, changing not only the locations on the field you target, but also where you throw from. Moving quarterbacks around and teaching them to throw from different angles is pivotal to success in a modern offense, and especially one where the offensive line remains in question.

Here, DeFilippo explains Carson Wentz’s ability to read defenders mid-play and choose between complex passing concepts. Philadelphia’s play calls change mid-play, depending on where safeties align, how they cover, and the live decisions they make. DeFilippo attacks defenses like Zimmer attacks offenses – let them choose their favorite strategies, then punish them for doing so.

The new craze sweeping the NFL, much to the chagrin of old-school #FootballGuys, is analytics. Doug Pederson used analytics to inform his decision making throughout an impressive sweep through the toughest defensive minds in football. The Eagles appeared unmatched by Bill Belichick, Mike Zimmer and Dan Quinn, and now John DeFilippo brings those concepts to Minnesota.

Analytics may seem scary to the denizens of old-school leatherhead footbaw, but it’s really just a way of gathering as much useful information as possible, and determining which information is actually useful. Analytics defined this past January, and John DeFilippo gives the Vikings the chance to be on the cutting edge.

John DeFilippo brings a modern, youthful energy to a Vikings offense in the throes of enigma. He has the diverse experience needed to handle the multitude of directions the Vikings offense could take as it shapes up over the next few months, and has shown smart tendencies in the past, as well as an ability to make something out of even the worst draft busts. John DeFilippo checks every box you could hope for in an offensive coordinator. Even if he leaves after the first year, the impact of this decision will be felt well into the next decade.

Before you go, here’s a twitter thread of a bunch of Eagles content where John DeFilippo talks football, some of which are also linked above:

Thanks for reading!

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