New Name in DC Search

Posted: January 21st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 83 Comments »

I’ll get to some Mobile stuff in a minute.  The most interesting item of the day is a report from Geoff Mosher.

Hearing that 49ers DB coach Ed Donatell has surfaced as a potential DC for #Eagles. Obviously, can’t happen until after Super Bowl.

Some of you remember that name from the 4th and 26 debacle in the 2003 NFC playoffs.  Donatell was the Packers DC at that time.  Most people think he called the wrong defense and cost Green Bay the game.  That is not the case.  The Packers had a talented rookie MLB named Nick Barnett.  His job was to cover the deep middle.  That meant Donovan McNabb would have to throw over him and under the DBs.  Standard NFL coverage.  Smart.  Problem…the rookie saw an underneath receiver and bit on that route.  Clearly he should have let anyone catch the ball that was inside of 15 yards.  The rookie mistake cost GB the game, not a bad call by Donatell.

Ed was fired (can you say scapegoat?).  He went to Atlanta and ran their defense for 3 years.  The whole staff was fired and Donatell had a job with the Jets in 2007 before going to the Univ of Washington as the DBs coach from 2008-2010.  Donatell joined Jim Harbaugh’s staff in SF as the DBs coach in 2011 and is still there now.

Donatell was a DB in college and has spent most of his career coaching DBs.  When he was a DC his units had better figures against the run than the pass, but they had a lot of INTs.  The Niners were 2nd in the NFL in picks last year,  but fell to 16th this season.  More than a couple of DBs have had great years under his tutelage.

This is an interesting rumor.  Donatell is a 4-3 coach, but has spent the last 2 years in SF working on a 3-4 defense.  He’s got nothing to do with the front seven, but you wonder if he has picked that scheme up and would now want to run it.  I tend to think he’d stick with the 4-3, but that isn’t a certainty.  The reason Donatell would be an appealing DC is because his teams are good at coming up with takeaways and he knows how to coach DBs.  Those were 2 huge problems on the 2012 Eagles.

* * * * *

Here are Senior Bowl notes…

From me.

From Jimmy Bama.

From PE.com (mix of me, Bo Wulf, and the great Fran Duffy)

* * * * *

Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman were at practice today.  Chip walked in and there was a buzz in the crowd.  He was a distant second to Nick Saban of course.  I think Nick is like the Pope, the president, and John Wayned rolled into one.  The crowds just follow him everywhere, as does the police escort.  For those who know Nick’s rep, he’s famous for eating Little Debbie oatmeal cookies.  He drove by us today…eating a Little Debbie oatmeal cookie.  Classic.

I didn’t stalk Chip too much today.  The Philly writers were all over him (Les, Jeff, Sheil, and Tim).  It was interesting to see Chip talk to some of the coaches and scouts watching the practice.  You can tell he’s got more NFL relationships than most people think.

I met Howie Roseman.  Wish I could tell you it was a good moment.  Very weird.

So I’m standing there watching the OL drills and trying to find us a tackle or guard to draft.  Howie walks over and stands kind of in front of me.  There is a pecking order where coaches, GMs, and senior scouts can stand where they want.  The rest of us deal with it.  Howie wasn’t rude, just wanted to be as close to the drill as possible.  Anyway…I figure I’ll just play it cool and watch the drill.  Howie looks around between reps.  He glances at me, since I’m wearing an Eagles shirt.  I’m still locked into the players.  I can feel he’s staring at me so I make eye contact.  He’s confused because he sees the shirt, but knows I’m not part of his staff and he’s never seen me at the NovaCare.  I mention I write for the team’s website, shake his hand, and mention what a great day it is (safe, general comment).  Howie just walked away, probably because he didn’t want me seeing who/what he was watching.  Would have been nice to have more than a 10-second conversation, but I got the vibe that forcing the issue would have been a bad idea so I let him be.

The Eagles met with:

DE Ziggy Ansah
DE Lavar Edwards
CB Robert Alford
QB EJ Manuel (not a practice, but per a Jimmy Bama interview with Manuel)

Ansah and Edwards are both big DEs.  Both guys could play LDE in the 4-3, possibly DE in the 3-4.

Alford is a talented corner.

Manuel is an athletic QB, but I’m not sure he’s a consistent enough passer to fit in Chip Kelly’s scheme.

* * * * *

Joe Namath was at practice today.  For those who don’t know, he went to Alabama and lives down in Florida.

There was an awkward moment when his phone started ringing during practice.  Jimmy Bama says “Is anyone gonna answer that?”, not knowing whose phone it was.  Joe was trying to reach into his pocket for the phone, but his hand was shaking and he was struggling to get it out.  I gave Jimmy a weird look, which confused him until I explained a few minutes later.

Mobile is never boring.

* * * * *

Jim Washburn is down here.  His arm is in a sling (Juan’s revenge?).

The Lions have this tall OL coach who looks like Joe Flacco.  Turns out that is…Jeremiah Washburn.  I was impressed with him.  He was quiet and under control.  The players listened and several guys performed well.

I was not impressed with the Lions DL coach at all.  He yelled a lot.  F-bombs all over the place.  That stuff is fine with me, but he didn’t connect with the players at all.  He kept yelling at the players, but wouldn’t call them by name or school.  He just seemed to assume that the player would know he was talking to them.  I hope the coach does a better job tomorrow.  Also bugged me that most of his coaching advice was to be faster, quicker, or go harder.  God forbid you actually explain something that is specifically wrong.  He did that at times, but not enough for my taste.

* * * * *

Back to Howie and Chip for a minute.  I did see some GM type come over to Howie and congratulate him on the hire.  Getting Chip Kelly may have bought Howie a lot of respect by some who had mixed feelings on him.

As for Chip…one way you know you’re coach is “special” is when someone is talking about having seen him…and that is a kid on the Daphne AL high school team.  I guarantee you that kid never got excited for Andy Reid.  He was for Chip Kelly.  And so were the people he was telling.  They wanted to see Kelly up close.  I don’t mean this to sound like the hire is some perfect genius move, but perception is strong.  Chip Kelly is generating a buzz right now.  Let’s hope that lasts.

I did stumble onto one more interesting nugget, but need time to write that out.  I’ll try to get it up tomorrow morning.

_


  • http://www.facebook.com/brandon.gleklen Brandon Gleklen

    I’ve gotta think Howie is familiar with your work. You think he never surfs around the Eagles blogs, especially considering his background?

    • tball_man

      +1

      • A Roy

        Might not have recognized Tommy without that yellow polo shirt.

        • ICDogg

          Probably thought he was a spy for Joe Banner.

        • Cliff

          LOL

        • T_S_O_P

          I think there is quite a difference between that pic and the latest pic on Fan-Demonium. Now Howie know’s your face, the next time he comes across you will give you a much better feel for the guy.

    • JoeC2K

      Maybe if he was eating a cup of pudding or drinking a PBR Howie would have recognized him… LoL

    • Mac

      He probably didn’t recognize Tommy because he is still in the recovery period from Tommy’s in home lasik surgery.

    • http://twitter.com/MFlicker Mike Flick

      Maybe he was thinking: I didn’t know you could bring a recliner, a set of VCR tapes and a 6-pack of PBR to a practice.

  • http://twitter.com/ezgreene ezgreene

    I love that Donatell was fired for a single play, yet after the Eagles’ year last year: Washburn, Castillo, April, Mornhinwheg, Reid, AND Bowles all get hired by different teams.

    WTF

    • BobSmith77

      Happens all the time in the pro sports especially with guys who succeeded and only had one real failure on their resume.

      I am going to be fascinated to see how these guys do next year or two at their new jobs.

  • mac

    I bet Howie stood in the front row every picture day at school too. #shortpeopleproblems

  • Flyin
  • poetx99

    ed zonatell? no. no. a thousand times no. he was ass as DC for the falcons. unless you envision soft zone coverage as your base.

  • http://twitter.com/ViniEagles Vinícius Gonçalves

    Haha.. At least this time Jimmy didn´t broke Namath´s phone like he did to Ware´s Ipad! :D

    • TommyLawlor

      Great memory.

    • D3Keith

      Link please.

      I want in on this joke. Does this have to do with the review of that play the Eagles ran on him 12 times in a row to kill the clock in a Dallas game?

      • http://twitter.com/ViniEagles Vinícius Gonçalves

        They talked about it in the Helmet 2 Helmet show after Dallas game. Very Very Funny.

  • NoDecaf

    You owe Howie zip. Give him a Napoleon hat. Then tell him your spying for Dallas.

  • SteveH

    Haha Tommy, this is bad for you, now that Howie knows who you are the hit squad is out, we’ll be fishing you out the river soon, can’t have any secrets leaked on your blog after all.

  • bridgecoach

    Great teaser at the end…

  • http://twitter.com/theguyotc the guy

    I wouldn’t worry, Tommy. I read somewhere that nobody wants to work with Howie Roseman and that his position is “shaky.”

    • http://twitter.com/BugeHalls Buge Halls

      Was that another “report” from LaCanfora?

  • A_T_G

    If you see him again, say to him, “You know what’s so special about Jesus? It’s how he rose, man. It’s how he rose.”

    That way, if he walks off without saying anything, you can assume its out of confusion.

    • TommyLawlor

      That’s so heavy it might blow his mind. Or mine.

      • Mac

        Tommy, we have to know which one of these phrases you used today. I promise my feelings won’t be hurt if you used ATG’s.

    • Ark87

      When the cops show up to ask Tommy to kindly move about 500 yards away he can assume it’s that restraining order Howie filed moments earlier.

    • Mac

      Or he could just say, Roseman pronounced backward is Namesor!

    • Mac

      Oh, or… He could say this, “But what is in a name… that which we call a Roseman by any other name would smell just as sweet.”

  • A_T_G

    I like the symmetry of replacing last year’s scapegoated DC with one that we caused to be scapegoated.

    • Mac

      I suppose if you believe in karma, it’s the right move.

  • Iskar36

    I’m not so sure Ed Donatell’s teams have been great at take away, or at least that he is the reason they were good. In GB, the year before Donatell became DC, the Packer’s defense was ranked 4th in INTs, 7th in fumbles recovered, and 3 in TOs. Donatell’s first year, they actually fell down those rankings, going to 6th in INTs, 29th in fumbles recovered and just 19th in TOs. They went back up to 2nd in TOs and then 1st the following two years, but considering they were 3rd before he became DC, I wonder how much is that Donatell vs. how much is that the players (Darren Sharper lead the Packers every year in INTs while Donatell was DC, but he was a Packer prior to Donatell becoming the DC).

    To further support that idea, his numbers in Atlanta were never very good at TOs. During his tenure, the highest ranking they had was 14th in terms of overall turnovers. Wade Phillips, the DC prior to Donatell in Atlanta, had that defense ranked as 11th in the league.

    Here are some more numbers:

    Green Bay………………………..INTS…………..FUM………..TO
    1999 (Prior to Donatell)………4………………..7……………..3
    2000………………………………..6………………..29……………19
    2001………………………………..9………………..1………………3
    2002………………………………..3………………..2………………1
    2003………………………………..8………………..19…………….10
    Atlanta
    2003 (Prior to Donatell)………14……………….3……………..11
    2004………………………………..9………………..25…………….22
    2005………………………………..14………………10…………….14
    2006………………………………..25……………….8……………..21

    Also, in terms of overall defense, his defense were almost consistently mediocre. In his 7 years as a DC, he never had a top 10 defense (based on yards). Even Castillo can put down on his resume that he has produced a top 10 defense…:

    Green Bay………………………..PTs…………..YDs
    1999 (Prior to Donatell)………20………………19
    2000………………………………..14………………15
    2001………………………………..5………………..12
    2002………………………………..12………………12
    2003………………………………..11………………17
    Atlanta
    2003 (Prior to Donatell)………30………………32
    2004………………………………..14………………14
    2005………………………………..18………………22
    2006………………………………..15………………22

    (Sorry if the formatting comes out poorly, but I got the stats on http://www.pro-football-reference.com/, so you can look them up there).

    To me, while Donatell clearly has experience, I don’t think he offers much else. I would much rather take a shot at a guy with less experience but better potential to develop a top 10 defense.

    • Steven Dileo

      up vote for the formatting .

    • RC5000

      Kelly needs someone with Pro experience which he has stated who shares his vision to be simplistic. There simply aren’t a lot of choices out there unless someone like Crennel is willing. A guy with a lot less experience is what I find. Do you have someone in mind that has significant experience as NFL coordinator that has great rankings ? Gregg Williams might be out there if approved by Goodell but he will bring scrutiny from media, league.
      Going by stats is difficult. Bringing in a total unknown when you have a college head coach who is more an offensive mind is risky. You have to have talent, a good staff also. I am wondering if they can’t bring in a couple of guys like Donatell and Martindale who worked together in Denver when Dawk was there. Don’t know their contract statuses and Martindale was under Rick Minter at Cincy. One as DC , one as asst head coach/pos coach.
      There is Martindale whose one year as Denver DC wasn’t good.
      Donatell is also on a good defensive team (lets face it there aren’t a lot of great defensive teams right now either) and has Super Bowl rings from long ago and he’s highly respected. I will say he hasnt been a Pro DC in several years.

      • Iskar36

        I do want us to bring in a DC with experience, but not so much that I want to force the issue. A guy that has not been able to really build anything better than a mediocre defense in 7 years of being a DC does not seem like a promising candidate. If our defense is going to be mediocre or worse, I personally would much rather have a guy that has the potential to make our defense great.

        I’m not saying that Donatell would be the absolute worst hire ever. In fact, I think he would be very much defines being a mediocre hire, as in not great but not awful. I am just not convinced the best way to go about building a championship caliber team is to go with a mediocre DC.

        Admittedly though, I don’t know the names of guys available or of interest, so I am not trying to make the argument that there are clearly better candidates out there. I’m just arguing the quality of this candidate on his own merits.

        • RC5000

          I’m not saying Donatell is the guy but Kelly needs an experienced NFL guy. Look what Harbaugh did with Fangio.

          • Iskar36

            Fangio is a good comparison in the sense that he had very mixed success previously before turning out great in SF. I gave you a h/t in the next post for that comparison. I still don’t think that is the likely outcome though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=696449117 Michael Jorden

    What’s funny is now everywhere Howie goes, you’ll just happen to already be there. Think today was awkward? Wait til that happens a few more times. He’s going to think you’re front following him. Then he won’t just stare at you, he’ll stare at you like he’s mad with power.

    • TommyLawlor

      I’m wearing clean underwear. I’m up to the challenge.

    • http://twitter.com/BugeHalls Buge Halls

      No, it’s “drunk with power”. Please get your cliches right!

  • Jyolteon

    Quick note…Donatell was the DC at UW in 2008. That’s the only year he was there.

    • TommyLawlor

      I’ll fix that when I get a chance.

    • Arby1

      You beat me to the punch with the ‘drunk with power’ line, but since it’s such a great line, I think we’ll get a lot of use out of it going forward.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jamie.parker.1044 Jamie Parker

    FWIW, Donatell’s defenses did turn out 2 shutouts in GB.

    • TommyLawlor

      Hire him!

    • Mac

      Now that’s Shutoutability if I ever heard it!

  • http://twitter.com/ScottJ610 Scott J

    What does Howie need to do to get respect? He’s pulled off big trades (DeMeco Ryans), he’s had a great draft (2012), he’s reeled in big free agents, even if they failed to play up to their expectations (Asomugha, Bell). And he re-signed key players.

    • Iskar36

      There is no question that Howie Roseman is capable of making deals. He has shown that many times and has worked several great deals. The thing he has not shown is the ability to evaluate talent well and build a successful team. While he has pulled off some great deals, A lot of them have not worked well. Asomougha for example was a very exciting signing, but at no point did he provide any kind of sustained success on the field. In terms of the draft, 2012 appears to be a decent draft (although I think we need to wait and see how Kendricks/Boykin/Foles and even Cox develop before it can truly be labeled a good draft), but 2010 and 2011 appear to have some major misses (how much you buy into Lurie’s comment about 2012 being Howie’s first draft also plays a role). On top of all of this, the team has progressively gotten worse the last three years he has been GM. So to me, I give credit to Roseman for getting deals done, but those moves are not “good” moves in themselves if they are not successful in terms of wins an losses.

      As an aside, right now, the Kelly signing was a great move by Roseman. If Kelly fails though, Roseman will share part of the blame for not evaluating Kelly well. If Kelly succeeds, Roseman will get credit.

      • 47_Ronin

        Excellent points (I’m a little surprised the “Roseman booster faction” hasn’t attempted to rebut you yet). IMO Roseman (and by extension Lurie) are tied to hip with Kelly, sink or swim. ACViking wrote earlier ( as well Ray Didi) that college coaches with no NFL experience have generally not fared well in the pros. This draft is very important, even if the Eagles don’t have a QB after 2013, the foundation for the Eagles has to continue from last year. Howie and Kelly need to hit on solid picks in this draft.

        • Iskar36

          I definitely agree that Lurie and Roseman are tied to Kelly. Of course, I don’t think Lurie is a guy that will lose his job if the move proves to be a bad one. After re-reading what I wrote though, I should clarify that I am not claiming that Howie is a bad evaluator of talent. I’m claiming that his ability to evaluate talent has yet to be determined. The 2012 draft suggests positive results, but the way our franchise has gotten worse over the last three years suggests negative ones. The next few years will tell us how much that was Howie and how much that was other factors.

    • http://twitter.com/BugeHalls Buge Halls

      you forgot the most recent – he landed Chip Kelly!

      • ACViking

        $6.5 million dollars for 5 years guaranteed — in that little silk purse — making him the highest-paid football coach in the universe . . . I’d say the credit goes to Lurie’s bank account and the NFL’s network contracts.

        • Steven Dileo

          $6.5 million is the standard rate.

          Look at the other NFL HCs from last year:

          Bill Bellichick- $7.5 million
          Mike Shanahan- $7 million
          Jeff Fisher- $7 million
          Pete Carroll- $7 million
          Lovie Smith- $6 million

          • ACViking

            Okay, CK’s not the highest paid in the universe . . . but it doesn’t take long to call roll.

            1. Belichick may have a clause that keeps him the highest-paid NFL head coach . . . and rightfully so.

            2. Shanahan at least has 2 SBs (albeit 1,000 years ago).

            3. Fisher/Smith: proven NFL winners of the same kind as Reid, with 1 SB appearance (though not quite as many conference-championship disappointments).

            4. Carroll: experienced NFL head coach with Jets and Pats (no losing seasons in 3 years), and a d-coordinator for 49ers; returned to college to win 2 college national championships and make USC an NFL farm-team.

            Kelly may be better than sliced bread. I have no idea.

            But crediting Roseman for getting Kelly — without factoring in the money, which no other team was willing to pay apparently — shortchanges the subject.

            I don’t know what the Harbaughs are being paid . . . but whatever it is, they deserve a BIG raise if CK’s the benchmark.

          • Steven Dileo

            Kelly is a highly respected college coach and was the hottest name on the market. It’s not like Roseman got him because he outbid other teams. Arizona would never pay that much, but teams like Chicago and Cleveland would.

          • Steven Dileo

            John Harbough- $4 million
            Jim Harbough- $5 million

            Jim was the head coach of Stanford and John was the STs coach of the Eagles.

    • BobSmith77

      Your joking right?

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

      >What does Howie need to do to get respect?

      Win. It’s that simple.

  • Arby1

    Don’t worry about Roseman – he’s just a little drunk with power these days..

  • Ark87

    Howie might be wondering why anyone he isn’t paying would ever wear Eagles gear after that last season. Shave your head and claim you’re spuds next time Tommy, you might be able to get him to say something arrogant or sarcastic at least next time.

  • ACViking

    Re: Roseman’s Paranoia

    T-Law:

    Try wearing a Ravens’ T-shirt.

    I’d bet my last dollar that Ozzie Newsome would be polite and chatty with you.

  • ACViking

    Re: Roseman

    Sorry but that was a really classless move by Roseman.

    The honorable, decent, classy thing to do is say “hello; great to see you; enjoy the week . . . then shuffle away.” Roseman wouldn’t have missed a snap.

    Talk about the apple not falling far from the Banner tree.
    _________________

    Personally, I plan to write a letter to the owner complaining about the outrageous way Roseman treated a remarkably devoted, informed and fair-minded Eagles fan who represents so many of us at Mobile.

    This just really ticks me off.

    • Ark87

      On the bright side, Tommy could share this with Joe Banner who would “leak” this with the general public (nothing like discretion to get attention) then publicly have a brunch with Tommy to show how awesome he is in contrast to the vile Eagles FO. Next thing you know, Tommy is a QA guy with the Browns, crap! So on second thought, just keep the Howie experience among us.

      • ACViking

        I like the tongue-in-cheek scenario . . . set in a old Western movie motif.

        But whether it was T-Law or you or me, Roseman owes the Eagles fans more than the kind of brush-off he gave our host.

        I understand that Roseman thinks of himself as the most important man in the football world now.

        But we pay his salary. The guy’s a jerk. And the stories make more sense.

        • Ark87

          I agree with your point completely (and in retrospect I should make that clear before making light of the situation). But Howie’s issue is a white collar pandemic. They don’t act decently to common folk because well who knows, they are better than us, or we are out to get them somehow, who knows. Anyway, rather than put effort into being decent people to be perceived as decent people, they hire PR guys to craft their public image and prep them to meet said image. Greeting an Eagles fan/supporter with at best awkwardness and at worse suspicion…perhaps provides a greater narrative of modern society.

          • ACViking

            Excellent. Excellent. Excellent.

    • Mac

      They say that character is who you are when no one is watching, so it sounds like Roseman is probably naturally introverted and perhaps a bit awkward when meeting people he isn’t prepared in advance to meet, this could in turn be interpreted by some people as his personality being a bit “off” which is apparently a quality that Chip Kelly likes in people.

      • ACViking

        Mac, I’m unclear.

        Are you saying that the Roseman-personality Kelly thinks he knows is not actually the real Roseman-personality?

        • Mac

          Read in an article yesterday that Chip likes to be around people who are smart, and who are a bit “off” so to speak. I actually dig that about Chip because it shows that he’s not afraid to be associated with genius (the whole fine line between genius and insanity thing). There’s no debating the fact that there are plenty of genius level people who are masters in the social arena, but the ones who aren’t are usually a lot of fun to be around because they can be so quirky.

          Having said all that, it’s unclear if Chip could see through Roseman’s front of being “normal” and therefore decided he likes him, or if Roseman let his freaky side out of the bag in the meeting because he sensed Chip would like that, or if Chip just decided to roll the dice on Roseman who seemed normal, but Chip just had a hunch that he was a weirdo.

          • ACViking

            Thanks. That would make Roseman a very scary dude.

    • saltyyambag

      Was Roseman also responsible for letting Leonard Weaver know he was being released by voicemail? It seems he might have problems when it comes to common courtesy. Certain things don’t seem to enter his stream of consciousness that his actions might be considered rude.

  • P_P_K

    Tommy, you mentioned that Joe Willie’s hand was shaking while reaching for his phone. Is this some health related problem? I did an internet search and couldn;t fimd anything. Or was he just thrilled to see you?

    • Mac

      I thought it was clear that he was intimidated by Kempski.

  • Steven Dileo

    You should bombard Roseman with your resumes, cover letters and thank you notes each time he rejects you. Next year when you see him again, you should stare directly at him.

  • Steven Dileo

    Funny thing about the Banner/Roseman feud is that it was Banner who helped Roseman get hired by the Eagles.

    • ICDogg

      Sort of the “All About Eve” plot only about football executives.

      • D3Keith

        You took Film Appreciation in college too, eh? I really liked that movie. And Vertigo.

        • ICDogg

          Nah, just watched a lot of old movies late at night on TV before I had cable.

  • mark_in_jax

    Tommy: Too lazy to read through 63 comments so sorry if anyone else pointed this out. Here’s your “answer” about your “weird” meeting with Roseman. It’s from Blade Runner spoken by “Bryant” to “Deckard”: “You know the score, pal! You’re not a cop, you’re “little people.”

    • ICDogg

      Yeah… he probably saw an Eagles shirt and was wondering “is this someone I’m supposed to know”? and once he determined the answer was no, he moved on.

      • P_P_K

        Yeah, but still, he could have been cool about it. At least make eye contact, say hello, act like a man.

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