Stoutland, Eagles use development to build premier offensive line

Lane Johnson speaks with media members about what coach Jeff Stoutland means to him and his fellow offensive lineman. (Max Olsan/MEDILL)

By Max Olsan
Medill Reports 

PHOENIX — Jeff Stoutland, the Philadelphia Eagles offensive line coach and run game coordinator, or Stout, as his players call him, picked up his empty coffee cup and flipped it onto the table of the bustling hotel conference room during the Philadelphia Eagles’ open media session. Then, with a wide grin and his glasses on the tip of his nose, he began to demonstrate how to execute a perfect block. 

“It’s all about angles,” Stoutland said. “If I’m run-blocking the cup, that’s an angle. If I’m pass-blocking the cup, that’s an angle. Everything revolves around angles.” 

Stoutland has coached the Philadelphia Eagles since 2013 and has survived two head-coaching changes, which is a testament to his coaching and the bond he has built with his offensive linemen. 

“He’s all about paying attention,” Eagles Pro-Bowl tackle Lane Johnson said. “He speaks very loud in the meeting rooms and treats the meeting rooms almost like a football field, controlled chaos.”

That controlled chaos has worked. Stoutland has coached a Pro Bowl offensive lineman for nine consecutive seasons. But what’s arguably more impressive is the ability of the Eagles to draft these offensive linemen and develop them into franchise cornerstones. 

Take Jordan Mailata, a man who uses the line “Jeff Stoutland University” in his Sunday Night Football introductions because he never played a down of college football and is now the 15th highest-paid tackle in all of football. But it’s not just one guy, it’s the whole group. 

Cam Jurgens was drafted in the second round of the 2022 draft and was presumably drafted to fill the center role after Jason Kelce moves on from the team. Jurgens has played 35 snaps this year and has served as the backup to Kelce the entire season. But even in his first year, and in limited game action, he can already see the value Stoutland puts into each one of his players no matter their position or place on the depth chart. 

“One thing that Stout does a good job at is coaching up everybody,” Jurgens said. “It’s not just the starters, it’s everyone below them too. It’s a great organization to be a part of if you’re an offensive lineman.” 

From the bench to the starters, the attention to detail shows on the field. Behind the dominant offensive line, the Eagles rushed for an NFL-record 39 rushing touchdowns this season. 

“The record is great for us guys up front, but there are a lot of pieces to the puzzle that make these things possible,” Johnson said. 

 The Eagles have had enough successful draft picks that 10 out of their 11 starters on offense have been drafted by the team, a rare feat in today’s trade-dominated NFL world. But drafting players is just half the battle. Developing them is a whole other challenge, one Stoutland and the Eagles staff take head-on. 

“That’s why this is the greatest sport in the world,” Stoutland said. “Because you can’t win with one man, and no man is an island. You must draw your strength from others.” 

Max Olsan is a sports media graduate student at Medill. You can connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.