DC Update

Posted: January 26th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 34 Comments »

Who is it gonna be?  The hot rumor is Ed Donatell, but Steve Spagnuolo just got fired and is on the street.  Don’t you at least have to interview him? Are the Eagles set on 3-4?  Is there anyway they’ll stick with the 4-3?

Let’s talk about Spags.  He was a longtime assistant to Jim Johnson (1999-2006) in Philly.  He then was the DC for the Giants, helping them to win the Super Bowl in 2007.  In 2009 Spags became the HC for the Rams.  He had one good season there, but the lockout really hurt him, as did the loss of OC Pat Shurmur.  Replacement Josh McDaniels tried to make too many changes and things did not go well.  The Rams fired him and Spags turned down a chance to come back to Philly so he could go to the Saints.

The Saints defense was a major disaster in 2012.  They finished:

Pts – 31st

Yds – 32nd

Run – 31st

Pass – 32nd

I wrote last January that this was a questionable move for Spags.

I do have serious questions about their (Saints) defense.  They have talent, but not the pass rushers that Spags is used to working with.  Spags loves the zone blitz, but his blitzes were usually designed to occupy blockers and free up his D-linemen.  The highest sack total by a non-DL with the Rams and Giants is 3.5 by LB Kawika Mitchell in 2007.  SS Roman Harper led the Saints with 7.5 sacks in 2011.  Spags is taking on a big challenge, unless the Saints can somehow make a deal for an impact DE like Mario Williams.

Maybe Spags wants that challenge.  If he can build a good DL in New Orleans, that will bode well for him getting another HC gig.  I do think Spags is rolling the dice with this move more than people realize.

People are now spinning things to where Spags was only good due to the talent he had in NY.  Take that away and he’s no good.  I think that is stretching things too far.  In 2008 Spags didn’t have Strahan or Osi, but the Giants still had a good defense.  He started to build a good defense in STL, but didn’t get to reap the benefits.  One of the big problems was injuries to the secondary.  He was really hurt there, especially in 2011.  The Rams at one point were using their 10th CB of the season or something like that.

Spags is smart.  He knows defense.  He knows how to coach.  Spags does need pass rushers to make his system work.  I think the Eagles have some pieces he would like (Cole, Graham, Cox, Thornton, Curry, etc.).  The cupboard isn’t bare here.  I think Mychal Kendricks would be a good fit for his system, as a LB and blitzer.

I don’t think Spags is so good that he’s a “must hire” kinda guy, but I would have interest in him.  I’d sure hope the Eagles at least talk to him.  Jeff McLane reported that Spags did talk to Howie and Chip down in Mobile.  No word on if that was about the opening or just pleasantries.

* * * * *

There is no update on Ed Donatell.  SF is playing in the Super Bowl next Sunday.  He won’t be free until after that.  Many assume that since the Eagles have put together parts of the staff, there must be a secret agreement with Ed.  No one in Mobile was sure of that.  Ed was the hot name, but no one said “he’s definitely the guy”.

* * * * *

Many have asked about GB assistants Mike Trgovac, Winston Moss, and Kevin Greene.  Greene isn’t ready to be a DC.  He’s still learning how to coach.  I don’t know what the deal with Moss is.  He was a hot name in the past, but not this year at all.  I have to assume that he had a poor interview in the past and teams just aren’t interested in him right now.

Trgovac was the DC when the Panthers went to the SB, but had some burnout type issues.  He decided to go back to being just a positional assistant.  I’ve heard nothing about him interviewing so it is very possible that Mike has let teams know he wants to just stay a DL coach and not a coordinator.  There is more work and pressure that comes with being a DC.  Not everyone wants that.

The fact that we’ve heard nothing about the Eagles and any of these guys leads me to believe these coaches are not under consideration.

* * * * *

Jimmy and I did 3 Senior Bowl podcasts (Skype kept falling out).

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

_


  • Anders

    I think the Juice is a perfect fit for the Niners .

    • TommyLawlor

      No doubt.

  • zbone95

    What about Keith Butler? The LB coach of Steelers. He has Dick Lebau influence and knows how to coach.

    • TommyLawlor

      If we haven’t talked to him by not, he’s not an option.

    • Mark823

      I think he is kind of like the DC in waiting there. So I’m not sure they’d let him interview. He’s an experienced coach and interesting name but would seem like a long shot.

  • Mark823

    Sheil Kapadia had a post up on Spags as well. Outside of one year with the Giants his defenses have been pretty mediocre, I understand there are circumstances that contribute to that but you’d still like to see more than one strong year. Also to add on to this, there was a quote from a Saints player:

    “He does have that good-guy persona, but he is a control freak and treats people like crap,” the player said. “(Spagnuolo has) no patience and zero personality. (He) has a way of pissing players and our defensive coaches off with how he says and does things. (I) think it’s even harder after having (former defensive coordinator) Gregg (Williams), who guys enjoyed.”

    “Players have no say in anything,” the player said. “It was (a) complete opposite from before where it was a simple D that players had lot of control and say. We couldn’t suggest (expletive)…Nothing ever changed. It was his way only.

    “Don’t even get me started on lack (of) ability to adjust during games. Bad, bad, bad.

    I’m not completely anti Spags but at this point I think he’d make more sense as a position coach or something along those lines.

    • TommyLawlor

      Players are the worst source of info. They love to complain. Never trust them.

      • 47_Ronin

        An anonymous quote too, worthless…

      • Mark823

        Sure it’s not the end all be all but I think it’s safe to say something wasn’t right in New Orleans. Even if they weren’t a fit personnel wise does that really tell the why they had one of the worst defenses in NFL history? I get players aren’t a great source but it at least seems plausible that he failed to connect with the players there.

        • Neil

          Who knows what happened man.

      • austinfan

        Meh. If you piss off players, key is to know which players you pissed off. Obviously, Hegamin’s opinon on Reid circa 2000 wouldn’t mean much, but Dawk? Same with Babin v Jenkins.

  • nickross23

    Well i don’t know who the DC will be or if the scheme will be either back to the 4-3 or 3-4. This years draft class is loaded with quality defensive talent particularly in the secondary which we desperately need and as i watch the senior bowl Jordan Poyer, the Trufant kid, Jamar Taylor at the corners, almost the entire UGA secondary has impressed. The Kid from FIU tho really intrigues me as he’s shown his physicality in the box making takles, with solid cover instincts. I think he’s got to be targeted in round 3. Almost all of our picks should be invested on defensive or O line help.

    • TommyLawlor

      FIU = Jonathan Cyprien. Very good S prospect. Would be nice Eagle.

      • Anders

        Where do you think he will go?

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=565087931 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee

          I think he goes high to mid second round. It seems to me that safeties get drafted high every year. That makes it even worse that we missed so badly on Jarrett. Now we have to reach sometime soon again…

          • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

            The safety class is extremely deep this year. I wouldn’t worry about having to reach for someone. The Eagles can afford to remain patient and still get value. Rambo from UGA is my guy to watch. He could slip because of off the field issues even though he’s a solid 2nd round talent at a major program.

      • nickross23

        I will be watching his forty closely come combine time. If he runs anything from 4.4 to 4.6 I’m happy. Tommy what else did you see from him while you where down there?

  • nickross23

    If it is the 3-4 the raw de/OLB from BYU Ansah has flashed all game lone so far. You can see why many think he’s a 1st round pick. If he gets the right coaching and can develop a pass rush game plan with more moves and counter moves he could be that guy who has that star potential. Kind of reminds me of JPP with his rawness but pure ability not the athlete JPP. I also see Aldon Smith in Ansah with his strength and movement ability.

    • TommyLawlor

      Ansah is terrific so far today. Fun to watch.

      • 47_Ronin

        Ansah is intriguing. Tommy do you see him as a DE or could he possibly shift to LB? Zeke is a big man, 6’5 and 274. Given a NFL training regimen he could probably get to 280+ easily.

        • TommyLawlor

          I don’t see Ansah as a LB. DE whether 3-4 or 4-3.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=565087931 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee

    Tommy,

    If we switch to a 3-4 what round do you think we draft a NT in? Reading austinfans (I think) comment the other day about NTs only playing about 50% of the snaps, it made me wonder how much value you assert to that position?

    Also, I’ve now seen several draftniks rating Eric Fisher higher than Joeckel. Even though I don’t agree, it’s good to see that there are several options at tackle for us.

    Lastly, I’d love to get Poyer on this team!

    • TommyLawlor

      Big question would be what system we ran. If 3-4 with 2-gap…massive NT is needed and you have to make sure you get one. If playing 1-gap, can go with a lighter guy and they are much easier to find.

      Some coaches obsess on a NT. Others are focused elsewhere. Just depends on what the coach wants to do.

      Joeckel and Fisher are both very good. Eagles should have some good options at OT.

      • austinfan

        I’d go opposite, you can find a two gap NT in the middle of the draft, you’re just asking him to occupy two blockers for 400 or so snaps.

        However, finding a one gap guy who can penetrate, but also anchor when needed, and can switch to a DT spot, now you’re talking serious talent.

        There are a number of interesting NT types in this draft, Star would be the prototypical one gap/two gap NT, Hankins. Have to see how much stamina Jenkins has, big athletic but not very productive in college. Brandon Williams might be the better player down the road, see how he works out. Jesse Williams is your traditional two gap NT, Montori Hughes is another possibility, as is Kwame Geathers. Actually a pretty good year to find a NT.

        I’d think about trading down for Lane Johnson instead of Luke or Fisher, Chip likes mobile OL and Johnson is probably the best athlete of the three.

        • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

          I was thinking about that too. I see Johnson going to the Rams at #16, but they also make sense as a trading partner for the Eagles with their two middle #1 picks. Rams could get a stud lineman for Bradford at #4 and the Eagles could get Johnson at #16 and another defender at #22.

  • 47_Ronin

    One important thing that’s not being discussed is whether the 49ers will give teams permission to interview Donatell. I think I read on PFT that San Fran blocked teams from interviewing him last year, so will they change their minds this time, if Donatell is someone the Eagles want to interview.

    • TommyLawlor

      SF did block teams last year. Don’t think Harbs would do that for a 2nd year. He’d start to piss off his coaches.

  • ACViking

    Re: DCs and National Signing Day / 3-4 scheme

    T-Law:

    The NCAA’s National Signing is the Wednesday after the SB (02/06/13), which is the first day recruits can sign a binding letter of intent.

    Any thoughts on whether CK’s mystery D-coordinator is a college coach laying low until this year’s recruits sign-on the line with his current university-employer?

    At that point, if a kid signs a BLI, per the NCAA, backing out comes with a stiff penalty (with rate exceptions): “Basic penalty for not fulfilling the NLI agreement: A student-athlete has to serve one year in residence (full-time, two semesters or three quarters) at the next NLI member institution and lose one season of competition in all sports.”

    ________________ (this line is now trademarked!)

    Also, would switching to a 3-4 give the Eagles (1) more flexibility in the scheme, (2) less flexibility in the scheme, or (3) neutral? Not that a team running a base 4-3 couldn’t occasionally run a 2-4-5 . . . but I’m wondering if a 3-4 lends itself — in scheme and personnel — to more creativity more often.

    • TommyLawlor

      Grantham has to notify UGA if he’s meeting with an NFL team. He’s said nothing to UGA, per some reports. Is it possible something like this is out there, but quiet? Highly unlikely. Too many loose lips in the football world.

      Could it be another college coach? Certainly possible. Haven’t heard any other names.

      This thing is a real mystery. Was funny to talk to folks in Mobile and find so many people who didn’t know what was going on. Donatell is the name everyone is throwing around, but no one says it with much confidence.

    • D-von

      The plus of a 3-4 allows for more disguised blitzes because of the odd front. Thats why its seen as more creative. The drawback is the personnel needed to run it. It really doesn’t matter though because most will be in their nickle formation most of the time

  • nopain23

    We don’t need a dominant defense, just a competent one that’s able to protect a lead. Why are the eagles not talking to Mangini? I think he would be a very capable DC for a 3-4 defense. He’s got NLF experience and seems to be less of a jerk these days so he should get along with the players.
    With regards to the draft at number 4 we have to get a stud/difference maker. Switching to the 3-4 I think we get the top NT or rush OLB available which in my opinion is Star or Jones.If they are not available we should trade back and get a few extra picks.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1514128048 Kristopher Cebula

      i was thinking this earlier. why has no one hired mangini? he flamed out as HC but was a competent coordinator. are teams not interested? it’s possible he doesn’t want to coach. He has a job with espn but he is only on tv a day or two a week if that. it’s cushy work and probably pays decently. He’s only about 50 or so though. if he could build a good defense somewhere, he might get a crack at HC again. You’d think he’d jump at the chance

  • TommyLawlor
    • DaO_Z

      hahaha…saw that on yahoo!