Dez Bryant, Randy Moss, Justin Blackmon. What do all three of these receivers have in common? Well, aside from being finalists for the Biletnikoff Award, they were all coached by Gunter Brewer. If you aren’t too familiar with that name just yet, you will be very soon.
After a front office reshuffle, the Eagles bought in former North Carolina Tarheels WR Coach, Gunter Brewer. Philadelphia’s Rookie minicamp, which takes place this weekend, will be our first chance to really take a closer look at how Brewer bonds with his players and what differences there are in his style in comparison to Mike Groh’s. What does stand out straight away is that Brewer is able to connect with his players.
All it takes is one look at his Twitter profile to really see why the Eagles were so intent on signing him.
— Gunter Brewer (@GunterBrewer) May 4, 2018
— Gunter Brewer (@GunterBrewer) May 5, 2018
The #FreaktimeShowtime hashtag is something Brewer uses frequently when showing clips of Randy Moss on social media and it’s even something that Mack Hollins, a former student of Brewer, has now represented in his locker. There is a clear culture that Brewer is looking to implement or at least build on the one left by Mike Groh…and it’s safe to say the players themselves are excited too.
In four consecutive seasons, the Tarheels set the School’s single-season record for passing yards. That doesn’t happen by chance and success has followed Brewer wherever he went. With 30-years of coaching experience to his name, Brewer has coached four of the top five wideouts in career receptions at UNC, most recently, Ryan Switzer.
Not only is he an esteemed coach, but he’s also one of the nation’s top recruiters…which again would highlight an ability to emotionally connect to his players, something Jeffery Lurie craved after the Chip Kelly era.
No less than nineteen pupils coached by Brewer have gone on to enjoy professional careers. Now, he finally has a chance to coach them to success at the next level too. What will really be interesting is the intensity of each session. Last season, Mike Groh separated the men from the boys and very quickly, the likes of Dorial Green-Beckham were no longer on the roster. The Eagles have a promising young core, with Nelson Agholor, Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson all primed for big training camp roles, given that Jeffery could be set to miss a large chunk of time.
One has to wonder simply who the next star could be. Brewer has a tendency to coach greatness, just ask Adarius Bowman, who after flying under the wings of his WR coach at college, went on to take the CFL by storm. The Eagles have adopted such a ‘Golden State’ like, selfless mentality, that having a number one receiver doesn’t really matter so long as the offense is rolling. It took 13 weeks for a wideout to amass a 100-yard game last season and there was no 1,000 yard season. In its place, there was an explosive offense that had plenty of optionality and excitement wherever you looked.
Nelson Agholor enjoyed a breakout season that captivated the hearts of fans everywhere last season, showcasing the talent many knew he had all along, overcoming the mental setbacks with the help of Mike Groh. Elsewhere, Mack Hollins showcased his value as a vertical threat and Alshon Jeffery stunned people everywhere with his domineering presence, despite playing the entire year with a shoulder injury.
Then of course, there is a familiar face in Mack Hollins. A collar bone injury held Hollins back in 2016, as he received for 309 yards and four scores in the seven games he did play. In the year beforehand, he averaged 24.8 yards per reception and recorded eight touchdowns and 745 yards on 30 targets. After landing with the Eagles as a ‘special teams ace’ Hollins was destined to prove himself as much more than that. Averaging 14.1 yards per catch, the rookie received for 226 yards and a touchdown in his rookie season. Brewer returns once again to help push the ceiling of Hollins even higher.
If there’s one thing we can take away from Brewer’s illustrious career, it’s that he can connect with his players and bring the best out of them through the same coaching style that elevated one of the greatest Marshall and NFL receivers to ever do it. Who’s next? We’ll find out soon enough.
The Birds didn’t draft a wide receiver this year, but there will be several UDFA’s vying to make the roster this weekend and will be put through their paces by one of the most respected names in Football. There’s a long way to go before the Eagles play their first snaps of the 2018 season and watching how Brewer engages the wide receiver room and elevates their game will be one of the most interesting things to keep an eye on as the offseason progresses.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports