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Getting to know two of the Eagles’ new offensive coaching assistants

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Insider insight.

NCAA Football: Fordham at Navy Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles made it a point to add new voices to their offensive coaching staff this offseason. New senior offensive assistant Rich Scangarello was the team’s most significant hire but the Eagles also added pass game analyst Andrew Breiner and wide receivers coach Aaron Moorehead. In order to get to better know these new assistants, I reached out to writers who have some familiarity with them.

ANDREW BREINER

The 35-year-old Breiner is an intriguing addition to the Eagles’ staff due to working under college football innovator Joe Moorhead at both Fordham and Mississippi State. Here’s what WFUV Sports alumnus Drew Casey (@Drew__Casey) had to share about Breiner’s background.

1 - How would you assess Breiner’s tenure at Fordham, both as an offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach and then the head coach?

Coach Breiner’s time at Fordham was just a huge success. Prior to the 2012 season when Breiner started at Fordham, Fordham had just two 10-win seasons dating back World War II. With Breiner on staff as Joe Moorhead’s OC/QB Coach, Fordham surpassed the 10-win total in two of the staff’s three seasons. It was a remarkable turnaround almost overnight and before you knew it, sold out crowds at Jack Coffey Field in the Bronx were common. By no means was that the case before. Moorhead and Breiner, the two offensive leaders, really worked well together, and eventually the college football world noticed. Moorhead was off to Penn State as the offensive coordinator, and Breiner would then become the second youngest head coach in all of Division I Football at the time (FCS and FBS included). As a head coach, Breiner was all-business. He was intense with the team and built from the foundation that Moorhead left once he settled into his new office. The biggest name out of Fordham at the time was Chase Edmonds, who’s now with the Cardinals. Both Moorhead’s and Breiner’s Pennsylvania ties were a contributing factor as to why Chase ended up coming to Fordham, and the rest is really history. He broke seemingly every program record a running back could and is well on his way to becoming the biggest success story after Fordham in the program’s “modern history.”

2 - Was there anything unique or noteworthy about the offenses that Breiner was involved in? (The Eagles’ official website mentioned his background with both RPOs and two tight end sets.)

Many of the quarterbacks Breiner worked with at Fordham were dual threat guys or became dual threat guys. Notably, Mike Nebrich and Kevin Anderson, aside from developing immensely throughout their careers through the air, became well-polished runners by the time their final year of eligibility rolled around. The tight end and slot receiver with a variety of motion was also a pretty big part of the offense at Fordham. He and the staff might not have had quite the “Philly Special,” but they had the creativity. Breiner wasn’t afraid to try new things at Fordham, even if they didn’t always work. He was ahead of the game on analytics at the time and I can only think he’ll be a great addition to the Eagles.

3 - Anything to know about him outside of his coaching ability? Anything to know about his personality?

I’ll share one story outside of on-field coaching about Coach Breiner. During his first season as head coach at Fordham, Breiner and I would meet for lunch every Thursday during the season. (I was the radio guy for Fordham Football that season.) We’d chat a little bit about the team, the practice week and record his pregame interview for the upcoming Saturday’s game. You might call it a head coach’s weekly 5-10 minute “media obligation.” But after the formalities, there was almost always something else. Some weeks it was a breakdown of some film and others it was just a chat about life or even my personal career goals. He didn’t have to do any of this. Heck, he had a walkthrough or his final game-week practice to prepare for in a few hours. But that’s who Breiner was in his time at Fordham. He cares about more than just the football field. And from having worked with a variety of organizations at the college and professional level, that’s a lot more uncommon than you’d think. Breiner’s a great football mind with an intense personality, but deep down he’s also a guy with a big heart.


AARON MOOREHEAD

The Eagles put a clear emphasis on hiring a wide receivers coach who previously played in the NFL. Can Moorehead buck the trend of Eagles’ wide receivers coaches going one-and-done? Here’s what Anchor Of Gold’s Thomas Stephenson (@tcstephenson1) had to say about him.

1 - How would you assess the job Aaron Moorehead did coaching Vanderbilt’s wide receivers? To what extent did he help maximize talent?

Aaron Moorehead was Vanderbilt’s wide receivers coach for the last two years, and he did a much better job with the receivers in 2018. That year, Vanderbilt got excellent production out of its receivers — Kalija Lipscomb caught 87 passes for 916 yards and 9 touchdowns, and relatively unheralded freshman C.J. Bolar caught 34 balls for 440 yards. 2019 was a disaster, but then it wasn’t really Moorehead’s fault that Vanderbilt’s quarterbacks couldn’t get the ball to the playmakers at receiver, and injuries weren’t helping matters, either. But overall, I think Moorehead did a good job maximizing the talent.

2 - What’s the reaction to him leaving Vanderbilt for the NFL, if any?

Fairly negative, though it was kind of expected at this point. I don’t think anybody really considered Moorehead a lifer at Vanderbilt, and there were rumors he was looking to move to another job (probably at the college level) after 2018. At the very least, he’s not moving to another SEC school.

3 - Anything to know about him outside of his coaching ability? Anything to know about his personality?

I actually don’t know a ton about the guy, other than that he was supposedly a good recruiter, which usually says... something about personality, though I’m not really sure what. The players seemed to like him, I guess.

Bonus: Fellow Anchor Of Gold writer Christian D’Andrea gave a succinct reply.

His guys exceeded expectations but our shitty quarterbacks did nothing with it.

...

Here’s even more on Moorehead (no pun intended) from some of his former players, who speak highly of him.

Source: NBC Sports Philadelphia

“He’ll do great with the Eagles,” Christian Kirk said. “People might think all of a sudden a good coach goes to Philly and all their wide receivers are automatically going to be world-class receivers and go for 1,000 yards. But that’s not going to just happen. But if they buy in and listen to him and work hard at their craft, they’re going to get better. If they buy in, I know he’s going to get the most out of them.”

Source: NJ.com

“He’s a teacher that can not only tell you what to do but why you need to do it,” Lipscomb said. “He will tell you why it’ll work. He’s played in the league, he played college ball, he won a Super Bowl, so he’s done it.” Moorehead’s time with Wayne and Harrison has seemingly helped him coach his own players. He understands how to manage different egos and create an open environment for dialogue. According to Lipscomb, players never feel like they have to walk on eggshells around Moorehead. “All the guys know where they are,” Lipscomb said. “They know what they need to do or how to get from where they are to where they want to be.”

Another note from Philly Sports Network:

“We did not want to lose him.”

That’s what a source from the Vanderbilt football program said to me Monday night when asked about new Eagles wide receivers coach Aaron Moorehead.

And then this from a long-time Indianapolis Colts beat reporter:

Encouraging to see that both Breiner and Moorehead bring good reputations to Philly. Hopefully they’ll contribute to the Eagles having an improved offense in 2020.