The Eagles announced replacements resulting from their shake-up of the medical/training staffs, and clarified a few other changes Friday.
Tom Hunkele, once an assistant on the Eagles’ training staff, is returning as director of sports medicine, after 14 years with the Minnesota Vikings. Ted Rath is leaving the Los Angeles Rams to become the Eagles’ director of sports performance. Hunkele and Rath more or less replace Shireen Mansoori and Shaun Huls, whose titles and duties were at least slightly different.
Jeremiah Washburn, previously an advanced projects coordinator, has been named player personnel director -- the title that player personnel vice president Andy Weidl held before being named to replace Joe Douglas last year when Douglas became the Jets’ general manager. Andrew Berry’s one-year tenure in personnel, before being named GM of the Cleveland Browns, might have kept the Weidl/Washburn job from officially being filled in 2019.
Washburn, son of former Eagles defensive line coach Jim Washburn, will also assist in coaching as senior defensive assistant, which is interesting. Teams rarely mix scouting and coaching, but it is not unheard of -- Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio was formerly the team’s wide receivers coach, and still keeps a hand in offensive coaching. Washburn has gone back and forth between coaching and scouting roles in the NFL. He is a former Arkansas guard who has been an offensive line coach in the NFL, though not a defensive coach. Jim Washburn and Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz are close friends.
The hiring of Connor Barwin as special assistant to general manager Howie Roseman had been reported previously, as had the presence of fellow ex-Eagles stalwart Brent Celek at the Senior Bowl as part of the team’s scouting contingent. Barwin’s hiring was made official, and Celek got the title of personnel consultant, as did just-retired running back/returner Darren Sproles.
Rath was charged with misdemeanor sexual battery last year and was not with the Rams for the NFC championship game or the Super Bowl. He was reinstated after being found not guilty in a July jury trial. Rath was accused of touching a woman inappropriately in her bedroom in 2018. In court, he did not deny the incident occurred; his defense was that he had been mixing medications with alcohol and was incapable of forming intent. He said his memory of what happened was fragmentary.
Rath gained fame as the Rams’ “get back” coach, responsible for grabbing head coach Sean McVay whenever he drifted onto the field, especially if McVay was in danger of colliding with an official and drawing a penalty.
An Eagles source said the team did due diligence on the hiring, presumably meaning it accepted Rath’s explanation and believed the verdict was correct.
Hunkele worked for the Eagles from 2000-05 under then-head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder, who now heads the Chiefs’ training operation. In 2006, when Eagles offensive coordinator Brad Childress became head coach of the Vikings, he brought along Eric Sugarman, Burkholder’s top assistant, and Sugarman brought Hunkele. Sugarman’s Minnesota staff is well-regarded, having overseen the injury rehabs of running backs Adrian Peterson and Dalvin Cook in recent years.
These announcements came the day after the Eagles made it official that they won’t have an offensive coordinator -- quarterbacks coach Press Taylor will oversee the passing game and offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland is the run game coordinator, with former Broncos offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello coming in as senior offensive assistant, and former Mississippi State quarterbacks coach Andrew Breiner added as pass game analyst.
The Eagles also have hired Aaron Moorehead to replace Carson Walch as wide receivers coach, moved Matt Burke to defensive line coach in place of Phillip Daniels, and hired Marquand Manuel to replace defensive backs coach Cory Undlin, now the Lions’ defensive coordinator. Assistants T.J. Paganetti and Dino Vasso have added titles -- Paganetti is assistant run game coordinator and assistant running backs coach, Vasso is assistant defensive coordinator.
This all seems like a lot of change, but much depends on how much the various consultants, assistants, and analysts are heeded. Head coach Doug Pederson is still running the offense and calling plays, Schwartz is still the defensive coordinator, with Roseman and Weidl still in charge of personnel.