Senior Bowl Notes: Roseman on WRs coach, Lurie, possible trade down

Senior Bowl Notes: Roseman on WRs coach, Lurie, possible trade down

MOBILE, Ala. — After speculation for weeks about the possibility that one of the Eagles’ coordinators could end up leaving for a head coaching job, it looks like the team will have just one change from last year’s staff.

The Eagles fired Greg Lewis after one season and hired Mike Groh as the new receivers coach.

On Wednesday during Senior Bowl week at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Eagles vice president of football operations Howie Roseman didn’t want to talk about the reasons for the switch at receivers coach. He said those questions would be better answered by head coach Doug Pederson (who was not available to the media on Wednesday), because the decision was the head coach’s.  

“[Pederson] decides who the coaches are,” Roseman said. “He’s in charge of the staff. That’s how we roll.”

Recently, the Eagles blocked quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo from interviewing to be the Jets’ next offensive coordinator. While ESPN reported that decision came from owner Jeff Lurie, when asked if the decision to block DeFilippo from interviewing was Pederson’s, Roseman repeated himself: “Doug decides who’s on the staff.”

Speaking of staff, there aren’t nearly as many coaches in Mobile this week as there were last year. Just Pederson and the coordinators are representing the coaching staff during practices this week. Roseman said Pederson wanted his coaches to stay at home and work on scheme.

Roles in pre-draft process
While Pederson and Lurie weren’t spotted during the first day of Senior Bowl practices on Tuesday, there they were on Wednesday afternoon, standing next to Roseman as the North team got going.

As the practice broke down into individual drills, the trio walked to the complete other side of the field to watch the receivers work for an extended period of time. Among the North receivers is Eastern Washington’s Cooper Kupp, who has a connection to Carson Wentz (see story).

While a recent ESPN story detailed Lurie’s growing involvement in football matters, Roseman on Wednesday downplayed the owner’s role. Roseman said Lurie isn’t giving his input on players, instead, he’s asking questions.

“It’s our responsibility to make these decisions,” Roseman said. “He just loves being around football. He loves being around the people in the organization. He has a good time, he gets energy from it. It’s kind of a dead time of year where there’s not a lot going on for all of us, where you don’t see action, where you don’t get a practice. It’s a beautiful day.”

Last year when the Eagles arrived at Senior Bowl week, Pederson’s coaching staff wasn’t even fully assembled. He was still interviewing candidates while in Mobile – the team hired Chris Wilson as the defensive line coach and Joe D’Orazio as a quality control/assistant receivers coach.

On top of that, Pederson was still learning how to be a head coach and was still implementing his scheme.

Things are a little different this year as the second-year head coach is able to be a little more involved during this pre-draft process.

“Now we’re at a point where we have that stability,” Roseman said. “And we’re able to kind of talk about what fits best for our coaches and our coaching staff and ideally when we make decisions, we’re trying to find guys who fit the Philadelphia Eagles.”

Thinking of trading down?
Eagles vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas seemed to be pleased with the depth in this year’s draft. And on top of that, Roseman listed several positions of strength in this year’s class, including running backs, receivers and defensive backs.

So the strengths of this year’s class and the Eagles’ biggest needs seem to coincide. It would be logical to think maybe that coincidence might allow the Eagles to trade back in the first round to acquire some additional draft picks.

But Roseman seemed wary of that idea on Wednesday.

“We’ve had some good success 20 and higher,” he said. “I think that there is a line where you don’t get a difference maker and this is your opportunity in the first round of the draft to find a difference-making player. That’s our first priority is to bring a difference-maker to the Philadelphia Eagles. By trading back and getting extra picks but not having someone who can affect the game. You’re watching the games and you’re watching the championship games, and you’re seeing that there are difference makers making big plays in these games, so we gotta make sure that we come out of that. If there’s an opportunity to get that and get an extra pick, that would be great.”

The last time the Eagles traded back in the first round was in 2014. They went from the 22nd pick to 26th and ended up with Marcus Smith.

“One of the lessons I learned there was that you’re not trying to win the draft,” Roseman said. “You’re just trying to get good players who fit the Philadelphia Eagles.”

Report: Eagles interested in Bills WRs coach Sanjay Lal

Report: Eagles interested in Bills WRs coach Sanjay Lal

The Eagles fired Greg Lewis on Tuesday, so now they have to find a wide receivers coach to take his place. 

We have our first name. 

The team has "strong interest" in Bills receivers coach Sanjay Lal, according to ESPN's Adam Caplan.

While Lewis, 36, had never been an NFL position coach before the Eagles hired him last offseason, Lal has significant experience. 

The 47-year-old just finished his second season as the Bills wide receivers coach and has been a receivers coach in the NFL since 2009. He held the position with the Jets from 2012-14 and with the Raiders from 2009-11. Before that, he was an assistant receivers/quality control coach with the Raiders. 

With the Bills' firing of Rex Ryan, their position coaches have uncertain futures. 

A big problem with the Eagles' receivers group -- aside from an obvious lack of talent -- is unfulfilled potential. The Eagles started the season with a first-round pick, two second-round picks and a third-round pick at the position. And the only player who had a good season was Jordan Matthews. 

Nelson Agholor, the team's first-round pick from 2015, was slightly better in his second season but wasn't able to come near fulfilling his potential. 

Lal should know something about unfulfilled potential. In 2009, his first season as the Raiders' wide receivers coach, the team drafted Darrius Heyward-Bey with the seventh-overall pick. In his first two seasons, Heyward-Bey had numbers worse than Agholor's. But in his third season, and Lal's last with the team, Heyward-Bey caught 64 passes for 975 yards and four touchdowns. It's the best season he's ever had in the NFL. 

Maybe the Eagles want to see if Lal could squeeze some production out of their disappointing receivers. 

Freddie Mitchell defends Greg Lewis, puts all of the blame on Nelson Agholor

Freddie Mitchell defends Greg Lewis, puts all of the blame on Nelson Agholor

Greg Lewis was let go today from his position as the wide receivers coach for the Philadelphia Eagles.

It wasn't a particularly shocking move but it is never without criticism when a team is firing a guy whose job it was to coach a ragtag bunch of low level talent — Jordan Matthews aside. 

This wasn't the only revelation we learned about today in Eagles land. We also learned that GLew's former teammate Freddie Mitchell has things to say about the move on Twitter.

FredEx came to Lewis' defense.

So real.

I mean, I don't think anyone is going to argue that the Eagles receiving corps was awful due to Greg Lewis being around. But I don't think you'll find many people coming to the coach's defense either.

Just because the Eagles' wideouts were bad, doesn't mean GLew was anything close to being a quality position coach.

But it's interesting that Freddie tossed Nelson under the bus. I thought receivers were supposed to stick together?

Also of note, after clicking around some of FredEx's other tweets, he appears to be promoting a weekly Fridays with Freddie radio segment on 97.5 the Fanatic. That's something.

And he's feeling motivated in the new year.

Keep grindin', Fred.

Brian Westbrook, on the other hand, had a more measured take: