Eagles Hire Connor Barwin, Release Another Assistant
The Eagles coaching staff took another hit on Friday when defensive line coach Philip Daniels announced on Twitter that he would not be returning.
That now makes four assistant coaching openings the team must fill, with the highest profile one being that of offensive coordinator.
There was news on the OC front, too. More than a week after firing Mike Groh, the Eagles are reportedly going to interview the University of Southern California’s offensive coordinator Graham Harrell. The interview, which was reportedly held on Friday, was first reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Harrell, 34, has no previous NFL coaching experience, but he spent two years as a receiver coach at Washington State in head coach Mike Leach’s pass-happy offense.
The Eagles could wait until a coach whose team is still in the playoffs loses, such as Mike Kafka, the quarterbacks coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, or San Francisco 49ers passing game coordinator Mike LaFleur, to interview him for the OC position.
The Eagles did announce one hire on their web site. Connor Barwin will be the special assistant to general manager Howie Roseman.
Barwin, 33, spent a lot of time around the team this season after stepping away from the game following his final season with the New York Giants last year. The former defensive end/linebacker played for the Eagles from 2013-2016.
He attended the East-West Shrine Bowl practices earlier this week and will be on hand for the Senior Bowl next week in Mobile, Ala.
"I got to be around a lot of really talented players,” Barwin said on the Eagles’ web site. “You start to recognize what that mental makeup looks like, what personalities want to make it. Ultimately, there's going to be adversity, whether it's personally or for the team. You want to be around guys that can persevere through that. I've seen that after 10 years of playing. Hopefully, I can identify that when I'm going to look at college players and other guys around the league."
As for who won’t be joining the Eagles, receiver coach Bobby Engram and tight ends coach James Urban – both of whom were mentioned as candidates for the Eagles’ receivers’ coaching vacancy – will remain with the Baltimore Ravens. Head coach John Harbaugh said Engram and Urban would remain with the Ravens after interviewing with the Eagles.
Daniels had been in his position as defensive line coach for only one year, which was how long receivers coach Carson Walch lasted before he was let go on the same day Groh was released.
Daniels was originally hired in 2016 as the team’s defensive quality control/assistant defensive line coach and was promoted in 2019 to defensive line coach.
In 2018, he coached a unit that had more sacks than any defensive line in football with 36.5. This year, the team had 43, but fourth-round draft pick defensive end Shareef Miller never was able to make it onto the field in his rookie season.
The Eagles also need a defensive backs coach after Cory Undlin left earlier in the week to become the defensive coordinator for head coach Matt Patricia in Detroit.