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Earlier this week, the Washington Redskins released Clinton Portis, and no one was particularly shocked. Portis has been injured for much of the last two years, and as a result, has seen his production drop dramatically. But Portis has always been a very talented back, and he will likely find a new home before next season (assuming there is one). Could that be in Philadelphia? Bill Barnwell of ESPN thinks he could be a good fit.
The solution? Turn Portis into a devastating part-time back. He's young enough to make a recovery -- he doesn't turn 30 until Sept. 1 -- and unlike backs that rely on breakaway speed in their youth and age poorly, Portis' mix of skills should sustain a second act for his career. He's an intelligent runner, makes sure cuts at the line of scrimmage and no back in the league is better in pass protection. A pass-happy team like the Philadelphia Eagles or New England Patriots could easily find a role where Portis could contribute.
In theory, Portis could be a good thunder back to LeSean McCoy's lightning. But in practice, I'm not quite sure that would work. Philly would provide Portis the opportunity to get a little bit healthier, give up some of his carries, and prolong his career. But there is no guarantee that he can be an effective back in the league anymore. We'll have to wait and see if the Eagles will actually have any interest. But if the price is right (and by "right", I mean basically nothing), it could be a risk worth taking.
Eagles QB Michael Vick will sign his franchise tender today according to a report by the Inquirer’s Jeff McLane. The tag will guarantee Vick will be in Philadelphia for next year and will be paid the average of the top five QB salaries in the NFL, which is expected to be in the range of $16 million. The Eagles are also free to work out a long term deal with Vick whenever the new CBA gets done.
This is of course, all contingent on the franchise tag still existing or being valid when that new CBA gets done. The current agreement expires tomorrow so who knows how this whole mess will shake out, but Vick signing the tender is certainly a sign that he wants to be here and it’s probably likely the team will look to get something longer term done once the labor situation is figured out.
David Akers on the other hand, has refused to sign his tender. His agent contends that the tags will be invalid when the CBA expires anyway.
There are reports today that Eagles offensive lineman Winston Justice will undergo surgery to treat a bone chip in his left knee. He did miss two games this past season with a knee injury and during offseason workouts has still been experiencing pain. So the team and Justice decided to that he would fly to Alabama to see Dr. James Andrews.
The Eagles are calling the procedure a routine “clean out” which will require arthroscopic surgery, which typically only sidelines a player for a few weeks. If that’s all this is, Justice’s 2011 season will be unaffected.
However, New Journal reporter Geoff Mosher has cited a source who claims that Justice could require microfracture surgery, which would likely cost him next season. However, Mosher’s source also admits that Justice could simply require arthroscopic surgery, which would mean a 3-4 week recovery time. Dr. Andrews won’t know until he’s in there. So just to recap, the source says that Justice could be done for good or be fine in three weeks.
In some ways this news about Justice needing knee surgery is welcome… After a very solid 2009 campaign, he really struggled as the season wore on last year. We know he did some time with this injury and the need for surgery would certainly suggest that it was a worse than anyone let on. So if Justices’ struggles were due more to injury than just regression… that does bode well for the right side of our line.
Either way, the Eagles have already been taking a look at every top OT in the draft. In all likelihood they’re looking at them to play RG, but it would certainly be good to depth in case Justice’s injury is the worst case scenario.
It’s been rumored for the past month and today it will become official. Jason LaCanfora of NFL Network is reporting that the Eagles reportedly will place the franchise tag on Michael Vick today, all but guaranteeing the Pro Bowl QB will be back in Eagles green next season. In 12 appearances last season Vick set career highs in passing TDs, rushing TDs, passing yards, completion percentage and QB rating. He started for the NFC in the Pro Bowl, was runner-up to Tom Brady in the MVP voting, and won the NFL’s comeback player of the year award.
Last year, the exclusive franchise tag for a QB costs teams about $16.4 million for a year. The team could still opt to work out a long term deal with Vick, but like everything contract related this offseason that will have to wait until the new CBA is done.
In addition, the Eagles will also reportedly place the transition tag on David Akers which would give them right of first refusal on any offer sheet the kicker might sign this offseason. Unlike the franchise tag however, the Eagles would receive no compensation should they decide to decline to match an offer for Akers. The tag guarantees Akers the average of the top 10 salaries for players at his position next year, which is probably no less than they’d be paying him anyway…
The Eagles finalized their coaching staff today with a flurry of hirings and promotions. I only had a chance to mention it quickly earlier, so I just wanted to go over who all these guys are and how they got where they are. First, the new guys.
Johnnie Lynn, Secondary/cornerbacks coach - Spent the last 5 seasons as a secondary coach for the 49ers, prior to that he was the secondary coach for the Ravens, he also spent 6 years with the Giants, two of which were as defensive coordinator. He's also coached secondaries in Tampa Bay, an earlier stint with San Fran, and at the University of Arizona. He played seven seasons for the New York Jets. He'll work alongside Mike Zordich coaching the secondary.
Bobby April Jr, Defensive quality control coach - His name should give away the main reason he got the job... He's the son of current Eagles special teams coordinator Bobby April. That said, Jr seems perfectly qualified for the quality control job, which is certainly the most thankless of all coaching jobs. These guys really do the grunt work for the decision makers. They are there to learn. Jr has spent the last 5 years coaching in the college ranks as a special teams coordinator, safeties coach and linebackers coach.
Now, the guys that got promotions
David Culley, senior offensive assistant/wide receivers - Culley has been the Eagles WR coach since Andy Reid got there. I'm not exactly sure what if any new responsibilities come with the "senior offensive assistant" title that's been added to his name. He's already been involved in crafting gameplans for years. Back when the Eagles WRs were really bad, Culley got a lot of criticism from Eagles fans looking for someone to blame for the lack of production... Then low and behold they draft Maclin & Jackson as opposed to Pinkston and Thrash and he looks pretty smart... Garbage in garbage out my friends.
James Urban, assistant offensive coordinator - Urban spent the last two seasons as Eagles QB coach and is the one guy on the staff that could be considered a rising star. I wouldn't be surprised if he got interviews for offensive coordinator jobs next year. He's slogged his way up through the coaching system with the Eagles the hard way starting as an assistant to Andy Reid, than a quality control coach, to finally position coach.
Doug Pederson, QB coach - You all know Doug Pederson, who Andy Reid brought with him from Green Bay in 1999 to basically get beaten up while Donovan McNabb spent the first part of his rookie year on the bench learning. In all, he had a 9 year NFL career. He's spent the last couple years as an offensive quality control coach.
Duce Staley, special teams quality control coach - Former Eagles running back who is still #4 on the Eagles all time rushing list, spent last season as a coaching intern. Now he's officially been added to the staff as a special teams coach, but he'll also continue to work with the running backs as well.
Baltimore Ravens insider Aaron Wilson is reporting that former Ravens secondary coach Johnnie Lynn could be headed to Philadelphia as part of Juan Castillo’s defensive staff. The team announced yesterday that Mike Zordich was promoted to secondary/safeties coach, which seemed to open the door for a position coach just for the corners. Off the top of my head, I can’t remember the Eagles having a dedicated corner coach in recent years.
Lynn would bring a ton of experience to the staff having played seven years in the league and coaching for the past 17. As BobQ pointed out, he’s coached secondaries in Baltimore and San Francisco and has also been a defensive coordinator for the Giants.
“I visited with Johnnie before he left,” Singletary said. “All I’m going to say about that is that it’s something I will not comment on. But Johnnie and his family will deal with it, and I lose a good friend.”
The Eagles finalized their defensive staff today by naming Mike Caldwell linebackers coach and Mike Zordich secondary/safeties coach. Caldwell spent last season as assistant LBs coach, while Zordich was a defensive quality control coach. Both men are very much “in the family” hires having both played for the Eagles and coached for them as well.
It’s worth noting that Zordich is specifically secondary/safties coach, so the team could still look to hire a coach specifically for the cornerbacks.
Andy Reid hinted that these two would be elevated when asked about the open secondary/LB positions at his press conference introducing Juan Castillo, but as we’ve learned recently what Andy Reid says at a press conference is almost worthless.
If you were hoping for more experienced assistants to help the inexperienced Juan Castillo… you obviously haven’t gotten that. If you were hoping for new voices to lead two under-performing units from last season, you haven’t gotten that either. By all accounts both are smart guys, they’ve worked their way up as coaches the right way and both had long NFL careers. As position coaches go, they’re not any more or less qualified than anyone else out there, so I can’t say I dislike the move, but their elevation certainly isn’t going to excite anyone.
For a team that literally gutted its entire defensive staff after the season, there’s a surprising lack of new faces.
NFL Films did a feature on the life and career of new Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo. Of course it's amazing and it's basically impossible to not believe in the guy's ability to accomplish pretty much anything he wants. His story is pretty much the American dream personified. The son of immigrants who saw sports as a way to improve the life of he and his family, and just worked his tail off to get where he is. There's some really great stuff in here from Jon Gruden, who talks about how Castillo hounded him at the combine until he recommended that Ray Rhodes hire him. He also also says that Juan was literally the only guy in the Eagles organization that would beat him to the stadium every day.
Andy Reid also recounts the great story he told yesterday about how Juan drove all the way to Green Bay and waited in his car in the parking lot of Lambeau stadium in December in hopes of meeting Andy, who at that point hadn't even gotten the Eagles job left. After his boss Ray Rhodes was fired, Juan wanted to be sure he stayed in Philadelphia and his extraordinary act was enough to make sure Andy kept him.
Also, you get to see Juan Castillo day in Port Isabel in Texas.
Understandably buried under the news that the Eagles had hired their offensive line coach to run their defense, was the man who hired to replace him on the line, Howard Mudd. Mudd has long been considered one of the better offensive line coaches in the NFL and brings 36 years of experience with him. During his 11 years in charge of the Colts offensive line, no team in the NFL allowed less sacks. Mudd was also a great NFL player making three pro bowls and being named the NFL’s All decade team of the 1960s.
Mudd is a long time friend of new Eagles defensive line coach Jim Washburn. There’s little doubt that the chance to work with his friend and longtime rival helped lure Mudd out of retirement. For more on the relationship between Mudd and Washburn, check out this NFL Films feature.
So while it may be tough to figure out what the Eagles strategy is by hiring Juan Castillo to run the defense, it’s pretty clear what they’re doing along the line. They went out and got arguably the two best position coaches in the business, which is certainly a positive.
The Philadelphia Eagles announced today that they've promoted longtime offensive line coach Juan Castillo to defensive coordinator. To replace Castillo on the offensive line, they've coaxed the legendary Howard Mudd out of retirement. In his time with the Colts, Mudd was generally regarded as one of the leagues' best offensive line coaches. That said, the Mudd hire isn't what's going to be making headlines. The Eagles promotion of a guy that has coached offense for the past 21 years to run their defense is a bit of a head scratched.
Castillo has been coaching the Eagles offensive line for the past 14 years. He did play LB in college and in the USFL and has a few years coaching on the defensive at the college and high school level. Yes... high school. As Les Bowen pointed out, what makes this move really odd is that it wasn't made out of desperation. They brought in qualified candidates for interviews this week, there's a number of assistants in the Superbowl that have expressed interest in the job who would be more than qualified. This is a move they wanted to make. At 6:30 Andy Reid and Juan Castillo will hold a press conference and presumably Andy will explain why this is something he chose to do.
While everyone was scratching their heads, a few of Castillo's former co-workers and current head coaches Leslie Frasier & Ron Rivera spoke out in support of his promotion.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier: "I can remember Jim Johnson & our defensive staff putting our game plans together. We’d always get together with Juan just to make sure they were sound in terms of pressures and blitzes. Sometimes, I felt like he was on our defensive staff.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera: "I’m really excited about this news and very proud of Juan being named defensive coordinator of the Eagles. First of all, Juan is one of the smartest and most dynamic coaches in the NFL," Rivera said. "If anyone could cross over to the dark side (of defense), he’s the guy. Seriously, if anyone can do it, Juan Castillo is able to do it. I don’t know if I have seen anyone any more committed as a coach in this league than him. I was able to call on him so many times to understand how certain offenses worked and attacked.
A number of sources are reporting that the Eagles interviewed Minnesota Vikings DB coach Joe Woods today for their vacant defensive coordinator position. The 40 year old has been coaching the Vikings secondary for 5 seasons and previously worked as a quality control coach for Tampa Bay under Jon Gruden. He also has 12 years of experience coaching at the college level.
Woods has certainly worked under a number of a great coaches. In Tampa Bay he was under Gruden and Monte Kiffin, he was hired by Mike Tomlin in Minnesota when Tomlin was defensive coordinator there, and for the past few seasons he's been working under Leslie Frasier (and Brad Childress I suppose).
Otherwise, as a position coach for a relatively short amount of time in the NFL there's not a whole lot to judge him on. It's certainly good that the Eagles are getting guys in this week and seeing what is out there, but it seems like it might be a bit early in his NFL career for Joe Woods to be a serious contender for the job.
Les Bowen also cites a team source that says the Eagles will look to interview at least one coach from one of the Superbowl teams after this Sunday. If you missed our story about Packers LB coach/Asst head coach Winston Moss campaigning for the job, check it out.
The Eagles announced today that they’ve interviewed Chicago Bears secondary coach Jon Hoke for their vacant defensive coordinator position. Hoke has been a coach at the college level since the early 80s and moved to the NFL in 2002 to become secondary coach for the Houston Texans. He held that position until 2008 when he moved to Chicago to take the job with the Bears. Under Hoke, the Bears allowed the second lowest amount of TD passes in the league this season, in contrast the Eagles set a franchise record for passing TDs allowed in 2010.
Hoke also had a short career as a player with Kansas City Chiefs and Chicago Bears. While he has never been a defensive coordinator at the pro level, but has seven seasons of experience leading a defense at the college level. He’s also the brother of new Michigan Wolverines head coach Brady Hoke.
Hoke does fit the mold of a decent coordinator candidate. He brings many years of experience and comes from a very good defensive team in Chicago. He also has spent his whole career in a 4-3 scheme, which is what the Eagles employ. He might not be a sexy candidate, but he would likely be considered a safe one.
The Eagles requested permission to interview Miami Dolphins secondary coach Todd Bowles and Bengals defensive backs coach Kevin Coyle, but were denied permission according to a report from NFL Network. They were however, allowed to interview Chicago Bears secondary coach Jon Hoke.
The news that the Eagles sought to interview at least three candidates this week does throw into doubt the earlier speculation that the team had their eye on one of the Super Bowl assistants and were simply waiting for the conclusion of the game to make their move. It may still be the case that they’ll look to interview a Packers or Steelers coach as has been rumored, but they certainly don’t seem to be zeroed in on one.
The Eagles were allowed to speak with Bears secondary coach Jon Hoke and the team announced that interview took place today. As secondary coach in Chicago, Hoke’s unit allowed the second lowest amount of TD passes in the league this past year. The Eagles, on the other hand, set a franchise record for passing TDs allowed.
There may be a bit of a pattern emerging with the type of guys that the Eagles are targeting as nearly all have been secondary coaches. The two official interviews they’ve conducted have been with secondary coaches as were the two they were denied permission to speak with. There have also been reports that the Eagles are interested in Packers secondary coach Darren Perry.
The Eagles are one of just three teams left in the NFL that don't currently have a defensive coordinator. Some fans have been frustrated by what they've seen as a lack of urgency in the teams' search for a replacement for Sean McDermott. However, there's been plenty of speculation that the Eagles have been waiting to interview assistants from oneof th Superbowl teams. Reports outside of Philadelphia are now suggesting that that is exactly the case. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is citing a NFL source who confirms that the Eagles will ask to interview Packers secondary coach Darren Perry shortly after the Superbowl.
Perry has coached the secondary for the Bengals under Dick Lebeau, the Steelers under Bill Cowher, the Raiders, and now the Packers. He played his college ball at Penn State and in the NFL for eight years with the Steelers. The list of players he's helped develop is a who's who of the best corners and safeties in football... Troy Polamalu, Nnamdi Asomugha, and now guys like Nick Collins and Tramon Williams in Green Bay. In fact, he's coached at least one guy to a pro bowl in five of the last six seasons.
Our own Tommy Lawlor discussed him more in depth yesterday in a piece I recommend you read if you're looking to learn more.
Something worth noting is that the Packers do not have to allow the Eagles to interview Perry. Considering that Philadelphia is one of their top competitors in the NFC, Green Bay would have good reason to try and keep one of their top assistants away. Under NFL rules, there is no difference between a coordinator and a position coach. There are simply "head" coaches and "assistant" coaches. A team can not deny an assistant the chance to interview for a head coaching job, but they do not have to allow any assistant to interview for a coordinator job. That said, Bob McGinn of the Journal-Sentinel doesn't think the Packers will stand in Perry's way.
At the same time, McCarthy has spoken fervently in the past about being pro-career advancement for his coaches. Plus, he has another outstanding secondary coach in Joe Whitt Jr., who coaches cornerback in a co-equal arrangement with Perry.
Perry has just one year remaining on his contract with the Packers, so it would stand to reason that he might be looking for an advancement anyway.
It seems like it won’t be another Cliff Lee like evening for Philly sports fans. It was always a stretch to believe ESPN reporter John Clayton’s report that Andy Reid was telling people that the Eagles defensive coordinator job had been filled and that Jeff Fisher could be headed back to Philadelphia… As we said previously, it’s hard to think of even one good reason why Fisher would take a defensive coordinator job this season. Apparently, his agent can’t think of one either.
Les Bowen contacted Fisher’s agent, Marvin Demoff, who said it was “highly unlikely” that Fisher would be making his return to Philadelphia.
Now to be fair, Clayton never claimed to have any inside info on Fisher’s next move. What he said about Fisher possibly heading to Philadelphia was pure speculation. He did however report that Andy Reid had told candidates that the job was closed. Bowen also contradicted that report quoting an Eagles source which called it “crazy.”
ESPN's John Clayton is reporting that in the past two hours, Andy Reid has told candidates(there are candidates?) that the Eagles defensive coordinator job is closed. This led Clayton to speculate that Fisher could resurface as the Eagles defensive coordinator very soon. His exact quote was, "Do not be surprised if he ends very quickly in Philadelphia working with Andy Reid."
Jeff Fisher previously held the job of Eagles defensive coordinator under Buddy Ryan. He's spent the last 16 years as the head coach of the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans franchise. Yes, the team we know as the Tennessee Titans has never had another coach... Until today, Fisher was the longest tenured coach in the NFL.
Obviously Fisher brings almost unparalleled experience and a fantastic track record as a defensive mind to the table. If Andy Reid did somehow persuade him to take over the Eagles defensive, it would literally be a Cliff Lee level coup and surprise.... which is why it's somewhat hard to believe. Fisher could easily get another head coaching next season if he wanted. Why he'd come to Philadelphia to be a coordinator is hard to figure.You'd think the more likely option is that he'd take a year off, maybe do some work for ESPN and then take his pick of almost any vacancy next season.
It's worth noting that while Clayton seems to claim some sort of inside info in his report about Reid saying the job is closed, but his suggestion that Fisher is coming to Philadelphia is just speculation. For what it's worth, the Philadelphia Inquirer cites a "source" which completely contradicts Clayton saying that the coordinator search is not closed and that Fisher is not coming to Philadelphia.
Former Eagles Brian Baldinger and Gary Cobb both mentioned a possible new name for the Eagles vacant defensive coordinator position. Jets secondary coach Dennis Thurman. Gary Cobb is actually a former teammate of Thurman's at USC. Neither guy claimed to be reporting that the Eagles were interested in Thurman, they simply floated his name as a guy the Eagles could or should be interested in.
Thurman spent the better part of the last decade as the secondary coach of the Ravens and Jets. He coached the Ravens secondary from 02-08, then followed Rex Ryan to New York where he's coached the Jets secondary since then. Obviously, he's coached some of the best secondaries in the NFL over that time with superstars like Ed Reed & Darrelle Revis. Over his tenure with the Ravens, that team led the NFL in interceptions.
Obviously, the Jets secondary has been the strength of their team over his time there with the development of Darrelle Revis being his crowning achievement. Revis has been a pro bowler in all three seasons he's worked under Thurman.
Thurman was also a two time All-American safety at USC and played nine years in the NFL with the Cowboys and Cardinals. Like I said, Gary Cobb was a former teammate and has great things to say about Thurman's abilities as a teacher.
He was one of the best free safeties that I’ve ever seen at reading a quarterbacks eyes and he’s very good with young defensive backs. Ronnie Lott mentioned Dennis in his Hall of Fame acceptance speech because Thurman helped him when he was at USC. Ed Reed will make some of those same statements when he goes into the Hall of Fame in the following decade.
Thurman was a player/coach back in the 1980′s with the Dallas Cowboys and he did a nice job of working with Everson Walls, Michael Downs and the other young defensive backs there. He’s always been a student of the game, who could read routes and anticipate what the opposing offense was going to do.
There's another interesting mark on Thurman's resume that I haven't mentioned yet. His first coaching job was with the St Louis Cardinals as a secondary coach from 88-89. Also on that Cardinals defensive staff was the late Jim Johnson. Thurman left the Cards to become secondary coach at USC for the next 8 years.
It's been widely reported that the Eagles will be looking to interview members of the staffs of the teams eliminated this weekend. Whether or not Thurman is among those remains to be seen.
It's also worth nothing that Thurman did play a part in the Inez Sainz mini scandal with the Jets earlier this season. Among the allegations she made toward the Jets, one involved Thurman and head coach Rex Ryan allegedly overthrowing passes on purpose so that they would land near her. What if anything that actually means, who knows? But if the Eagles did show any interest in him, you can bet you'll see a few stories about the incident.
Earlier we we found that the Eagles received permission to interview Saints secondary coach Dennis Allen for their vacant defensive coordinator position. While considered an up and coming young coach, Allen has no experience as a defensive coordinator and is relatively early on in his coaching career. The general thought was that after firing Sean McDermott, the team would be looking for someone more experienced... Enter Dean Pees.
Adam Schefter is reporting that the Eagles have requested permission to interview former Patriots defensive coordinator and current Ravens LB coach Dean Pees, who has 37 years of coaching experience. As defensive coordinator of the Patriots, his defenses averaged less than 20 points allowed all three years that he held the job. He's also been a head coach at the college level at Kent State.
The interesting thing about Pees is that he's only worked in 3-4 defenses in the NFL. He has 4-3 experience at the college level, so his hiring wouldn't necessarily mean a change of philosophy for the Eagles defense.
The Eagles clearly aren't limiting themselves to any one type of candidate for their defensive coordinator job. The young, up an comer Allen is in stark contrast to the older veteran Pees.
[Note by JasonB, 01/20/11 12:03 PM EST ] The Philadelphia Inquirer's Jeff McLane has retracted his earlier report that the Eagles have requested permission to interview Pees. So far, Adam Schefter has not retracted his report... So we'll see. McLane does note that a team source denied the interest in Pees.
Jay Glazer is reporting that the Eagles have received permission to interview Saints’ secondary coach Dennis Allen for their defensive coordinator job. Allen is a young, up and comer… very similar to the man the Eagles just fired, Sean McDermott. Over at Bleeding Green Nation, we examined a few striking similarities between Allen and the former Eagles defensive coordinator.
A quick look at Allen’s resume is impressive.
Allen is thought of as a rising star on the Saints staff and has been tipped as Gregg Williams’ heir apparent. He has spent time with both the Falcons and Saints and had a lot of success in both places. As a defensive line coach with Atlanta his unit led the NFL in sacks in 2004. As a d-line coach in New Orleans for two seasons his unit had 48.5 sacks and produced a pro bowler in Will Smith. In 2009, the Saints gave up just 15 TD passes that year which was the 3rd least in the NFL. This season, the Saints gave up a league low 13 TD passes. For the Eagles, who gave a up a franchise record 31 TD passes, that has to be attractive.
The media speculation after the firing of Sean McDermott was that the Eagles were looking for a more experienced guy to head the defense. The interest in Allen would appear to indicated that’s not necessarily the case.
Rory Segrest was at first hired by the Eagles as their special teams coordinator. After he struggled in that position, they decided to re-assign him to the defense where he was made defensive line coach. After he struggled there, they re-assigned him right out of the building. CSNPhilly is reporting that the Eagles have fired Segrest just a day after relieving Sean McDermott of his duties.
The minute McDermott was let go, the job security of anyone on the defensive staff could be described as tenuous at best. You don’t get to be the worst red zone defense in 20 years without ineptitude at all levels… So if the team was going to let go the leader of the defensive coaches, it was a good bet they’d clean house with his staff as well.
There’s no word yet on whether the team plans to keep linebackers coach Bill Shuey, but they’ve given secondary coach Dick Jauron permission to interview with the Cleveland Browns for their vacant defensive coordinator position. Jauron is also being considered as a candidate for the same position in Philadelphia. It’s certainly possible that whether the rest of the staff keeps their jobs will be a decision for the new defensive coordinator.
Multiple sources are reporting that the Eagles have contacted former Falcons and Seahawks head coach Jim Mora Jr about their vacant defensive coordinator position. Mora was the head coach of the 2004 Falcons team that lost to the Eagles in the NFC title game. If it’s experience Reid is looking for, Mora has a wealth of it with over 20 years in the NFL, nine of which were spent as a defensive coordinator or head coach. Reports are that Andy Reid has already spoken with Mora, who is interested, but no offers have been made.
Over on Bleeding Green Nation, we took a closer look at how Mora’s defenses performed in his time as a coordinator with the 49ers. The short version is that he was able to take a really bad unit and in a few years turn into one of the top 10 defenses in the NFL, but he didn’t seem to have much sustained success. Of course, soon after he had the top 10 defense he got a head coaching job…
Mora would certainly bring the experience and personality to the position that McDermott lacked. I can’t call him an exciting choice, but there’s no reason to think he wouldn’t at least do a solid job. That said, if the personnel on defense isn’t addressed… it probably doesn’t matter who the defensive coordinator is. Mora is no miracle worker. He isn’t going to make Dimitri Patterson into a starting caliber NFL corner. He isn’t going to mold these linebackers into anything more than they are…
Whoever the new Eagles defensive coordinator is, the team has to put him in a position to be successful by upgrading the personnel. Of course, if the Eagles got out sign Nnamdi Asomugha this offseason, Sean McDermott is probably going to be say “Hey, why couldn’t I have gotten a guy like that?”
According to Chris Mortensen, the Eagles have decided to part ways with Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermott. After what was a disappointing, injury-riddled season for the Eagles defense, it's no surprise that Andy Reid and company were looking to make a change. It is surprising that Reid backed McDermott just a few days prior to the firing and it seemed like Sean would keep his job for another year.
The Eagles defense made a bunch of big plays this season, forcing interceptions and fumbles regularly. But when the opposition got in the red zone, a touchdown was automatic. They ended the season letting up 31 red zone touchdown passes. Not having a decent corner opposite Asante Samuel and the regular tackling struggles were also to blame, but the front office needed a goat and decided it was McDermott. This was only his second season after taking over for the late Jim Johnson.
Now the search for a new DC will begin. Rob Ryan and Dick Jauron have been speculated as possible candidates but nothing substantial will be known for at least a few days.
Here's our own Tommy Lawlor's article assessing McDermott from a few days ago.
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