That’s Christian Kirk’s message to the Eagles’ wide receivers. Listen to your new wide receivers coach, Aaron Moorehead.
That’s what Kirk did, and he’s now one of the most promising young wideouts in the NFL.
“He’ll do great with the Eagles,” 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.”
The Eagles hired Moorehead earlier this month as their sixth wide receivers coach in six years and Doug Pederson’s fifth in five years.
Moorehead, 39, spent 2003 through 2007 playing for the Colts, and he comes to the Eagles from Vanderbilt, where he spent the last two years. But it was at Texas A&M that he coached Kirk, who caught 234 passes for 2,856 yards and 26 TDs for the Aggies from 2015 through 2017.
Kirk had the 5th-most catches, 8th-most yards and 7th-most TDs in the BCS during that three-year span, and the Cards drafted him in the second round in 2018. In two years in Arizona, he has 111 catches, 1,299 yards and six TDs.
“I was recruited to A&M by the previous wide receivers coach, David Beaty, but he left (to become head coach at Kansas) a week after I got to campus,” Kirk said. “They hired Coach Moorehead, and his first day in the building we spent a lot of time together and it was clear right from Day 1 he understood where I wanted to go and what I wanted to accomplish, and he knew how to get me there.”
It was the start of a very productive relationship that got both of them to the NFL.
Kirk is one of three NFL receivers that played for Moorehead at A&M.
Josh Reynolds, who played two years under Moorehead, was the Rams’ 4th-round pick in 2017 and has 61 catches and 7 TDs, and Damion Ratley was the Browns’ 6th-round pick in 2018 and has 25 catches in two seasons.
“He’s got a great offensive mind,” Kirk said. “He knows the game inside and out. He played the position in the NFL. When you get to college, you have know idea what it takes to have success and hopefully get to the next level. Now here’s a coach who played five years with Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, and has the ability to share what he learned from those guys as far as releases, running routes, just every detail of playing the position. If you haven’t played the position at the highest level, there’s always going to be those questions – ‘Well, you haven’t experienced it.’ With coach Moorehead, he’d been through all of it. Played with Hall of Famers, played in a Super Bowl.”
Moorehead is the first Eagles WR coach that played in the league since Greg Lewis, who was his teammate under Ron Turner at Illinois.
The Eagles fired Lewis after the 2016 season, but he resurfaced with the Chiefs and won a Super Bowl ring this past season with Andy Reid, his coach with the Eagles. Mike Groh held the job in 2017, was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2018 and fired last month. Gunter Brewer and Carson Walch were the Eagles’ receivers coaches the last two years.
The Eagles haven’t had a 1,000-yard wide receiver since Jeremy Maclin in 2014, and they haven’t had a Pro Bowl receiver since DeSean Jackson in 2013.
The entire group struggled last year. Or got hurt. Or both.
Nelson Agholor’s regression, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside’s failure to make an impact, Mack Hollins' disastrous season and eventual release and Alshon Jeffery’s lack of consistency and production were all serious issues.
“He’s a guy who’s been around great players, been on great teams,” Kirk said. “He knew exactly what I needed to become a better player. He worked me harder than anybody ever has, but that’s what I needed. He knows what everybody in the room needs, and he’s never going to take anything less than maximum effort.”
He sounds like exactly what the Eagles need.
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