Doug Pederson understands the challenges of keeping his coaching staff the best it can be. In the days and weeks after the Eagles won Super Bowl LII, Pederson lost his offensive coordinator (Frank Reich) and quarterbacks coach (John DeFilippo) and promoted internally. After an adjustment period, the offense made the transition and the Eagles went two weekends deep in the postseason.
Now Pederson has in place the fourth iteration of his Eagles staff with the 2019 season ahead. The significant changes are not to the coordinators this time, but instead at the key positions of wide receiver and defensive line, where assistants Carson Walch (wide receivers) and Phillip Daniels (defensive line) move into leading roles.
Walch joined the Eagles in 2018 and gained the confidence of the players and coaching staff. He's a former receiver who starred at the Division II level, began his coaching career at the collegiate level, and coached with the Chicago Bears for two seasons and in the Canadian Football League with Edmonton for two seasons. Walch has a close relationship with offensive coordinator Mike Groh, knows the wide receiver room, and he's ready to be the head man. Walch works with Matthew Harper, a coach who has worked with the Eagles since 2013 in the defensive backfield and on special teams and has had success with his strong rapport with the locker room.
Daniels, a 15-year player in the league, should transition smoothly to the job leading the defensive line. The Eagles brought heat last season, leading the NFL with 36.5 quarterback sacks from the defensive line, and Daniels will have a chance to take a room that could have some significant changes depending on how things go in free agency and in the NFL Draft in 2019. Daniels' league experience should translate well to his teaching lessons.
Other than that, the Eagles added to the staff and moved some coaches to new spots, rather than having searched for new parts. The significant name to learn more about is Matt Burke, a 15-year NFL coaching veteran hired as a defensive special assistant. Burke spent the last two seasons as Miami's defensive coordinator before the Dolphins changed direction following the '18 season. Burke has a longtime relationship with defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, and he will add an experienced set of eyes and opinions to Schwartz's scheme, at the very least. It's always good to have another experienced hand on the staff, one who lends, initially anyway, an outside perspective on the X's and O's and deployment of personnel.
The Eagles added former Pro Bowl long snapper and solid tight end Mike Bartrum, always a stickler for technique in his playing days, to the staff helping Justin Peelle with the tight ends. They named T.J. Paganetti as an assistant running backs coach working with Duce Staley, hired Roy Istvan from the collegiate ranks to help with the offensive line, and added Luke Thompson, a 20-year coaching veteran in the collegiate ranks, to aid Dave Fipp with special teams.
Former Eagles practice squad quarterback and wide receiver G.J. Kinne has been added as an offense special projects coach and Joe Pannunzio returns as the director of team development.
The Eagles are well stocked on the coaching staff. In the wake of winning the Super Bowl last February, the team had to replace key coaches long after the rest of the teams in the league had set their staffs in place for 2018. This time around, the Eagles made the changes they felt were necessary. They dictated the direction of the coaching staff.
We all remember how the coaching staff changed in the Andy Reid years, how the success of the football team meant more opportunities for coaches elsewhere and how, at times, the appointments Reid made were not as successful. Pederson has had good fortune promoting from within as well as adding from the outside, so the Eagles head into 2019 with some admirable continuity on the coaching staff, some intriguing additions made, and some young, rising coaches getting their chances to lead rooms.
Pederson knows he's only going to be as strong as those around him. With his coordinators returning and with the changes made because Pederson wanted them, not because his hand was forced, the Eagles have that part of the offseason signed, sealed, and delivered. The next step: Addressing the roster. The NFL's Scouting Combine begins this week in Indianapolis with free agency on tap March 13 at 4 p.m. The fun is just beginning.