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Photography by David Michael Howarth

Press Taylor is on the fast track in the NFL. But to understand where he is – as an ascending coach at 30 years old – you have to look at all the snapshots of his life.

Snapshot 1: It’s a Tuesday morning during the football season and Taylor, the first-year quarterbacks coach for the Philadelphia Eagles, is in his NovaCare Complex office as the sun rises. He’s got Carson Wentz and Nick Foles and Nate Sudfeld together looking at game film, studying the performance of the Eagles’ quarterbacks and looking ahead to the next opponent. It is a necessary process, but not entirely an enjoyable one.  

“Watching film, really, is what we probably do most if you count the hours,” says Taylor. “It’s intense. You get in there with those guys, and they’re going to challenge you and you have to challenge them. We are looking for specifics. We are looking for weaknesses. We want to get better.” 

Snapshot 2: Taylor is on the practice field as his quarterbacks go through their paces. The footwork must be exact, the timing perfect. Take the snap, drop back three steps, plant and throw. And do it again. And again. And again. 

“It’s a game of repetition and perfecting your craft,” Taylor says. “The guys are putting a lot of long hours into playing what people think is the toughest position in sports. It’s my job to help prepare them as thoroughly as possible for everything that is going to be thrown at them. It’s a chaotic job environment on the playing field.” 

Snapshot 3: Taylor is in his new home in Haddonfield with his wife (Brooklyn) and their daughter (Teale Marie, born in March, 2017). He loves the quaintness of the small town, and the family often takes walks along Kings Highway or spends time playing together in the backyard. 

“We like that chatter,” Taylor says. “It’s a walking community. We love that. The small-town aspect of it is very appealing to us.” 

Taylor and Brooklyn met when Taylor was a graduate assistant coach at the University of Tulsa and Brooklyn was the cheerleading coach there. Mutual friends connected them and they’ve been together since. He is, incredibly, in his sixth year with the Eagles, joining the staff when Chip Kelly was the head coach. He was on the first rung of the coaching ladder as an offensive quality control coach, and then became the assistant quarterbacks coach in 2016 when Doug Pederson became the head coach. But now, Taylor is the guy.  

As quarterbacks coach, Taylor spends 80 to 100 hours a week with Wentz, Foles, and Sudfeld, who many expect will someday be a starting quarterback somewhere in the league. Taylor’s job is to discuss and replicate every possible scenario for the quarterbacks, to dissect the opposing team’s defense and look for vulnerabilities and to be a counselor of sorts for players who are on the weirdest, most pressure-packed pedestal in sports. 

A quarterback who wins gets all the credit and a quarterback who loses, well, a quarterback who loses goes through the worst kind of scrutiny. 

“Press has the right personality. He’s going to push you and be demanding and bring out the best in you,” Wentz says of his relationship with Taylor. “We spend a lot of time together exchanging thoughts and ideas. He’s open to everything that we bring to the meetings. He wants to hear from us. He wants our input. It’s a great dynamic. I think we all see it as a healthy, competitive situation.” 

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You probably never heard of Taylor – unless you spent time in his previous Cherry Hill neighborhood. There the couple would attend cookouts and, after much prodding, Taylor would admit he was an Eagles coach. As more and more fans and analysts talked about the famous “Philly Special,” Taylor gained credit for introducing it to the coaching staff. 

Part of Taylor’s job in 2017 was to research gadget plays and submit them in a folder to then-offensive coordinator Frank Reich and Pederson. Taylor saw a play from the 2016 season in a game between Chicago and Minnesota and loved it. The Bears had seen it years before in a college football game (copying plays is the most sincere form of flattery in the game of football). The Eagles practiced it for a couple of weeks before the Super Bowl, and Pederson called it on fourth and goal late in the first half against the Patriots. 

It worked beautifully, and the Philly Special became the signature play of the Eagles’ improbable Super Bowl victory. And it all came around to Taylor. 

“I get too much credit for that,” he says. “Teams had run the play before. We designed it, and then practiced it. It worked ok in practice. For Doug to make that call in that situation, it really showed the kind of confidence he had in our team. I was up in the coaching box when I heard the call, and it was exciting. It was just the right time and it worked perfectly.” 

It seems to have all worked out perfectly for Taylor, too. He’s loved the game of football his entire life – Taylor’s father, Sherwood, played and coached at the University of Oklahoma and his brother, Zac, is the quarterbacks coach for the Los Angeles Rams. Taylor won two National Championships playing quarterback for Butler Community College before transferring to Marshall for his final two seasons of playing. 

Since then, Taylor hasn’t looked back. He’s on an NFL fast track and could very well end up as a head coach in the league. For now, he’s an Eagle. He’s got some of the game’s hottest talents in the same room. Life is grand. 

“Press Taylor is a rising star in this game,” Pederson says. “Smart guy, likes to think outside the box, great teacher, communicates well, listens. He’s someone we all respect.” 

And when he leaves the office, Taylor goes home to his dream come true. 

“I couldn’t ask for anything more. My wife understands my commitment to the job, and she is fully supportive,” Taylor says.  

“We love South Jersey and Haddonfield. The people are great. It’s safe. They help us out and look after us because they know my situation with work. It’s a wonderful community feeling. We feel like we’re part of it, and that’s very important to us.” 

There are snapshots of Taylor from every part of his unique life – a young ambitious coach and a young father and husband who cherishes life at home – and the picture continues to fill in and expand.

Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro has covered every Eagles game since 1987 and is seen and heard throughout the year on television, radio and Eagles coverage everywhere. You can hear his Eagles Live Podcast on iTunes.  

December 2018
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