It’s usually the line coaches that are the loudest.
Jeff Stoutland can get loud, but his bark can’t be heard from across the NovaCare Complex fields like defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro. He can cuss, but not like former Eagles d-line coach Jim Washburn. And he can be mean, but nowhere near as nasty as former OL coach Howard Mudd could be.
The Eagles are two days into training camp and Stoutland has already stood out as the most animated of Chip Kelly’s coaches. There is great energy in what he says and how he acts, but the former Alabama offensive line coach is a stickler for teaching the details over and over …
Well, we’ll let the quotable Stoutland explain.
“I learned from really, really good coaches when I was young,” Stoutland said. “You know the one thing they all had in common – good coaches never get tired of coaching the same thing over and over and over and over and over.
“A lot of people are like, ‘You know what, I told you that like twice now, I’m done. I told you, now it’s your job to do whatever.’ I’m not satisfied. I’m a pig head. I’m like, ‘Until the guy gets it right and understands it, I haven’t done my job.’ I have to keep emphasizing it, too.”
Stoutland wasn’t talking about Mudd, but there were whispers from some Eagles linemen that the now-retired coach was known to spend significantly more time with the first team than the players further down on the depth chart. Mudd, it should be stated, coached in the NFL for over 35 years and had great success in that span.
But a change was in obvious order.
Stoutland had been around for some time, too, all of it at the college ranks. He spent his last two years coaching arguably the best line in college. Three starters from the 2012 national champion Crimson Tide were drafted in April, including guard Chance Warmack and tackle D.J. Fluker in the first round.
Before Alabama, Stoutland had stops at Miami (2007-10), Michigan State (2000-06), Syracuse (1999) and Cornell (1993-96) as an offensive line coach. Even though he’s never coached in the pros, Stoutland’s been watching the NFL up close for years.
“I’m going to be honest with you, when I first came here I was like, ‘Alright, I’m coaching NFL players,’” Stoutland said. “Jason Peters -- I’ve been studying his film since he entered the league with the Buffalo Bills in his rookie year.
“I coached my players in college off of his pro film. I got Buffalo Bills film in my office filled with Jason Peters set lines. Ask any of the players I coached at Alabama, Miami, Michigan State. I teach the left tackle off of what he was [doing]. So they would all joke with me when I was coming here. [Tackle] Cyrus Kouandjio at Alabama says, ‘Hey, what are you going to do, show Jason Peters the Jason Peters film?’”
Despite the jump, Stoutland said that he hasn’t encountered any significant obstacles. He’s lauded the professionalism of veteran linemen like Jason Kelce, Todd Herremans, Evan Mathis and Peters.
“I always wondered what is it going to be like, coaching these guys? It ain’t any different,” Stoutland said. “They have so much respect for their coaches and what they’re learning. I’m like, ‘Holy cow, this is not what -- I don’t know what I thought.’ But I know this much, it’s really fun and it’s really exciting.”
You can see it on the field with the way he interacts with the players. One moment he may be ripping into top draft pick Lane Johnson. Another he may be taking rookie tackle Michael Bamiro aside for a brief chat.
Stoutland has a hands-on approach.
“I do a lot of stuff where I’ll get up in front of a room and I’ll grab two guys and I’ll have them fit me up, get their hands on me, get their hips together and when we start to push, we slide,” Stoutland said. “I want them to feel it. To me, there’s no substitute for that.”