Inside The Birds: Elevated WR Play Must 'Get Done This Season'
For the Eagles' offense to realize its potential with the new coaching staff, the team will undoubtedly need elevated play from its wide receivers.
In the latest Inside the Birds podcast, Geoff Mosher and Adam Caplan provide coaching intel on the recent hires and closely examine the wide receiver position with the offseason well underway.
Geoff Mosher: “There were a couple of names I think that popped up – for example, Joe Pannunzio is going to be the assistant special teams coordinator, which sort of came out of nowhere. He was the director of team development, which was more of a scouting/front office job I think.”
Caplan: “I talked to someone who knows him from Alabama, who said he wanted to get back into coaching. OK. I don’t know the guy; I’ve never met him, so I don’t know quite know what his background is. I just know everybody respects the hell out of this guy. He’s a great resource, very well-connected guy, coached a bunch of positions in his career.
I’ll say this much … they’ve got three different special teams coaches. This is one position where they’ve got assistants. You would think that they get this under control in that area.”
Mosher: “He’s interesting, Pannunzio, because Chip brought him in from Alabama. I forget the title that he had when Chip brought him in, it was something front-office related, player-development type. Then he went back to Alabama, I think after Chip got fired. But then he came back here a couple of years ago and now he’s getting promoted.”
Caplan: “So Michael Clay is [the Eagles] special teams coordinator. Pannunzio is the assistant special teams coordinator and Tyler Brown is really the specials coach, just to clear that up. Tyler, I’m told, is supposed to do the same thing. It’s not like Michael Clay won’t work with them and Pannunzio won’t, but Tyler Brown’s job is to day-to-day work – special teams quality control is his title – but he specializes in the kickers, punters, long-snappers, that kind of thing, like his dad. His dad is really the one who developed [Ravens punter] Sam Koch and [Ravens kicker] Justin Tucker.”
Caplan: “[Stoutland] was such a huge get. It looked like he was going to Alabama, then he was taking care of some things locally, from what I understand, and decided ‘You know what, it’s best that I stay now,’ as someone close to him told me.
"Kevin Patullo, as we told you, before Sirianni even signed his contract we had heard that he was coming in, because he’s [Sirianni’s] right-hand man. As a couple coaches from the Colts told me, Patullo thinks like Sirianni; he knows what he wants. I like that both have coached receivers before. [Patullo] coached receivers for two years with the Colts.”
Mosher: “Ryan [Paganetti] was Doug Pederson’s right-hand man on game days as far as analytics-based decisions. Anytime Doug went for it on fourth-down – which he led the NFL by a mile in – and anytime he went for a two-point conversion – which he led the NFL by a mile in – there was communication pre-game and in-game from Ryan Paganetti, who was in his ear.
He was not retained; his contract ran out. He is no longer with the team. And this is something that you and I talked about what wanted to hear from Nick Sirianni in his introductory press conference … where does Nick Sirianni stand in this use of in-game analytics the way Doug used in-game analytics – which was more than anybody in the NFL?”
Mosher: “The fact that the head coach Sirianni was a wide receiver, the fact that Kevin Patullo played wide receiver, and the fact that Aaron Moorehead was an NFL wide receiver, it’s almost like the way Carson Wentz had a quarterback cocoon with Frank Reich, and Doug Pederson, and [John] DeFilippo, you would think that [Jalen] Reagor and these young receivers have a nice environment here where they’re coached by three guys who all have experience at that position. It’s not just a referendum on the wide receivers and the offense, but also the coaching and the acquisition element of it.”
Caplan: “It’s gotta get done this season. There’s no more, ‘Okay, they need a couple more…’, I’m not buying that. I get Reagor was hurt – he’s healthy now. He’s got a lot of ability; the position needs to be coached better, they gotta get more out of him. He’s gotta mature, the usual stuff from Year 1 to Year 2; they need to have an offseason. He is so integral to their future because he’s got such versatility, he’s so gifted. We need to see him, Geoff, take the next step up. Receivers coach that I know around the National Football League, not everyone had a one on him, but all agreed before the draft how gifted he is.”
Caplan: “Right now, [Fulgham] would be the leading ‘X’ receiver. This is as we speak right now. Why? Because Alshon Jeffery is not gonna be with this football team.”
"[John] Hightower’s got a lot of ability but, we knew this coming in, he needed to get stronger physically; he was like 185 in training camp. They practiced him at ‘Z’ in training camp as well in his addition to ‘X’. Greg Cosell told me, his route running -- which looked good -- it went south. It just was not as crisp, and he started getting taken out of plays and it was over for him. You could certainly see why he got benched because the tape showed he clearly didn’t deserve to be on the field.”
– Andrew DiCecco (@ADiCeccoNFL) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for InsideTheBirds.com.