The Eagles are going to make a coaching change.
I don’t think the second half of that tweet is accurate. No one in their right mind would look at the roster, the stats and the game tape and say “Greg Lewis is the only thing holding this group of receivers back from becoming stars.” That’s silly.
The firing of Lewis boils down to a simple point. You are either part of the problem or part of the solution. The Eagles obviously felt Lewis was more problem than solution. I can totally see where they are coming from. Dorial Green-Beckham was the same player in December as he was in September. Heck, maybe worse. Josh Huff showed no progress this year. Nelson Agholor had a torturous season, for him and us. Bryce Treggs highlight moment came in his first game.
The job of an assistant coach is to get the most out of his players. Lewis might have gotten the most out of Paul Turner that he could. That’s it. Everyone else would have to be labeled an underachiever, on some level. Jordan Matthews is a terrific young player, but he still has those moments (not getting the second foot down in the end zone) that frustrate you because he should be better.
No one expected this group to suddenly look like Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, Az Hakim and Ricky Proehl, but there was simply too much underachieving.
The Eagles are going to add resources to the WR position this year. You don’t want to turn them over to an assistant coach you don’t believe in. I mean, you wouldn’t give the Glengarry leads to bad salesmen would you?
It was the most dubious of the staffing hires made after Doug Pederson was named head coach last January, and was emphasized in this space at that time. But it became increasingly apparent that Lewis was unsuitable for the task at hand, as two instances before the season suggested.
The first occurred during training camp. Agholor, who entered the season after an underwhelming rookie season, was dropping passes on almost a daily basis. During one particular drill, the receiver was uncovered deep. The pass landed in Agholor’s hands, but he juggled it for a few steps before pulling it in and running into the end zone.
The play elicited cheers from some fans in attendance, but Agholor knew it wasn’t a catch worthy of praise. He pounded the football as he ran back toward his group. Lewis, though, walked out, met him, and patted him on the back with a smile.
Should Agholor have been admonished instead? Maybe not. Perhaps a teaching point was conveyed in the film room. But Lewis’ initial reaction was consistent with the Eagles’ public coddling of the receiver and with the position coach’s occasional rapport with his players.
For example, on the day that Paul Turner was signed to the Eagles practice squad, the undrafted rookie drew a pack of reporters to his locker stall. Lewis, one of the few assistants to regularly venture into the locker room, stood behind the cameras and made faces and gestures to get Turner to laugh.
It worked. But was it behavior befitting a first-year assistant trying to teach rookies and second- and third-year players how to thrive in the NFL? There’s nothing wrong with lightheartedness, and maybe the 36-year-old Lewis was stern behind closed doors, but repeated mistakes implied that his message wasn’t getting through.
Young assistant coaches have to balance out trying to befriend their players with trying to be an authority figure. It sounds like Lewis was too nice and wasn’t able to “command the room” as the saying would go in coachspeak. Duce Staley is another former player who became an assistant, but he has had no such issues. Staley can be very tough on his guys. He isn’t a jerk for the sake of it, but is demanding. Staley has become a good assistant and he could one day become a head coach.
Lewis might have a future in coaching, but it sounds like he’s got some learning to do.
The WR position will get some talent and a new coach. Let’s hope that combination is enough to get this group from the bottom of the NFL closer to the middle. Carson Wentz needs help.
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) January 9, 2017
White, listed at 5-11 and 185 pounds, has played in the Canadian Football league since 2014. After two seasons with the Montreal Alouettes, White was named an All Star with the Ottawa RedBlacks, taking home a Grey Cup championship.
White was undrafted out of Michigan State in 2013, and after spending a short amount of time with the Oakland Raiders, White headed north of the border to pursue a career in the CFL. The Eagles also went to the CFL route last offseason to add cornerback Aaron Grymes, who shined for the Eagles in the preseason before a shoulder injury resulted in him being waived. Grymes re-signed with the Eagles later in the season and will compete for a roster spot heading into 2017.
CFL guys rarely pan out, but it is always smart to take a look. You never know when you might get lucky.