Eagles Hire DB Coach Johnnie Lynn, Finalize Staff

Written By Bob Cunningham On Tuesday, February 08, 2011
After about a month of almost nothing but watching coaches leave, hires along the coaching staff have come fast and furious over the past week or so.

Jim Washburn was the lone hire during the gutting of the defensive coaching staff, and things remained pretty quiet until the hiring of Juan Castillo and Howard Mudd, then the promotions of Mike Caldwell and Mike Zordich, and now on Tuesday the Eagles made about a half-dozen moves including the hiring of cornerbacks coach Johnnie Lynn.

In addition to hiring Lynn, the Eagles added the title of "senior offensive assistant" to wide receiver coach David Culley's title, named James Urban the assistant offensive coordinator, Doug Pederson the quarterbacks coach, Duce Staley the special teams quality-control coach, and Bobby April, Jr. the defensive quality-control coach.

Lynn looks like a good hire. He was the New York Giants defensive coordinator in 2002 and 2003, and has been a defensive coach for close to a decade after playing with the New York Jets for seven seasons. He will be a very good resource for both Castillo and Zordich as they transition into their new roles on the defensive coaching staff.

While he won't be given the title officially, Zordich will likely answer to Lynn on gamedays when it comes to making the coverage calls and personnel packages.

Honestly, I'm not quite sure what adding "senior offensive assistant" to Culley's title does in terms of his job description, except for perhaps working closer with offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg in terms of the gameplan and the little things throughout the week.

Another guy who will be working more closely with Mornhinweg is James Urban, the former quarterbacks coach who was promoted to assistant offensive coordinator. Urban doesn't get enough credit from the fans or the media for what he helped Andy Reid and Mornhinweg do with Michael Vick in his development.

The title of "assistant offensive coordinator" means he will be Mornhinweg's successor should he get another chance to be a head coach after the 2011 season, and will make him more enticing to other teams looking for an offensive coordinator.

Taking Urban's place as quarterbacks coach will be Doug Pederson, who had a short stint as the Eagles' starting quarterback in 1999 while rookie Donovan McNabb learned the ropes. Pederson is credited with helping McNabb develop as something of a player-coach, and after spending a season as the team's offensive quality-control coach, he'll be given the same chance as a coach to help develop Vick and Mike Kafka.

Staley, after spending the 2010 season as a coaching intern, moves to special teams where he will be Bobby April's extra set of eyes as the unit's quality-control coach. It's a bit of an odd move for a former running back, but it was clearly just an effort to get Staley on the staff full-time.

Even with his new role, it's likely Staley will continue to work on the side with the running backs.

Lastly, the younger April will be a defensive quality-control coach. Some might wonder why he's not working with his dad, but the 28-year old April, Jr. is clearly more interested in becoming a defensive coach.

April, Jr. served as the special teams coordinator at Nicholls State in 2010 and at Portland State from 2007-09, but made it a point to also serve as the safeties coach at Nicholls State and inside linebackers coach at Portland State.

If he's half the worker his dad is, he's got a bright future in this league.

The only thing left on the staff is perhaps an intern or two, which Reid will usually do, and I still think Seth Joyner would be the perfect candidate for a spot like that (not to belabor the point or anything). And as one Twitter follower correctly pointed out today, it certainly cannot hurt.

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