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.
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Here are Senior Bowl notes…
From PE.com (mix of me, Bo Wulf, and the great Fran Duffy)
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.