Billy Davis vs The World

Posted: February 7th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 74 Comments »

It is pretty clear that most Eagles fans are not very fired up about the hiring of Billy Davis.  I’m not going to lie and tell you I’m in love with the move.  That said, my reaction isn’t overly negative either.  Why?  There weren’t great candidates available.  You always need perspective.

So let’s compare Billy to some DC candidates.

Ed Donatell – BLOCKED!  Stinkin’ Jim Harbaugh didn’t even give us a chance to talk to Ed.

Todd Grantham – A lot of fans were fired up about Todd.  Not me.  He was given elite talent at Georgia and produced good defenses.  See the problem there?  Some might point to UGA being 5th in yards allowed in 2011, but that was a mighty soft schedule.  When Georgia did face good offenses, they gave up 35 points to Boise, 45 to South Carolina, 42 to LSU, and 33 to Michigan State.  Grantham is a good college DC with some NFL experience.  He’s not the guy that the hype would lead you to belive.

Is he better than Davis?  The NFL stats would say yes, but not by much. And the red flag there is that Grantham’s defense got worse each year.

Kirby Smart – Apparently he was not a legit candidate, despite all kinds of rumors.  Him going to the NFL made no sense to me.  Stay at Bama another year and then take over as HC of some other college.

Steve Spagnuolo – How the mighty have fallen.  Spags looked like a genius after his work with the Giants in 2007 and 2008.  He struggled in St. Louis and then was the DC of a trainwreck unit in New Orleans this past year.  They were on pace to be the worst defense of all time, yardage wise.  Not sure if they set that record.  Spags is hard to evaluate at this point.  You can’t erase his success with the Giants, but that was a long time ago.

Rob Ryan – The numbers aren’t good.  He’s also never been the DC on a winning NFL team.  Rob has a big mouth and can be a distraction.  His units were sloppy and undisciplined for much of 2012.  Funny enough, there used to be a lot of hype around Rob Ryan.  Dallas turned out not to be the best spot for him.

Ray Horton – Many fans wanted Horton.  Ray is a good coach, but let’s get the facts straight.  He isn’t the guru that his hype would lead you to believe.  The Cardinals were 18th in yards allowed in 2011 and 12th this year.  They were 17th in scoring defense both years.  The Cards did finish 4th in takeaways this season (special shout out to Mike Vick).  Horton might turn out to be a great coach.  Right now he’s a good coach coming off a so-so year and a pretty good year.

Crazy stat of the day…Ray Horton as DC has worse numbers than Juan Castillo.  Ray had 346 yds and 22 pts per game.  Juan is at 327 yds and 21 pts per game.

Here’s the tricky part with Ray.  Let’s say he does put a great defense on the field in 2013.  Chances are he’ll be a HC in 2014.  Ray desperately wants to be a HC.  Do you hire a guy that is going crazy to move on?  Some might argue yes, take the better coach and the risk.  This is where you have to understand how Chip Kelly is thinking.  He might prefer guys that he can keep together for at least 3 years, that way he’s got a more realistic chance to compete for a Super Bowl.

If I had to pick Horton or Davis to coach a game to save Megan Fox’s life, I’m taking Horton.  Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple an argument as that.  As we saw in recent years. Staff stability and cohesiveness are huge factors.  For those reasons, passing on Horton may have been wise.

Todd Bowles – It won’t surprise me if Todd turns out to be a really good coach down the road, but we couldn’t bring him back after the dysfunctional 2012 season.  I don’t blame him for the bizarre situation, but we had to clean house.  He’s now running the show in Arizona.  Will be interesting to see what he does with the unit that Horton left him.

Bob Sutton – The least known of the DCs this offseason.  He’ll run the defense for Andy Reid in KC.  Sutton was the Jets DC for 3 years prior to Rex Ryan’s arrival.  Sutton stayed on as LBs coach after Rex took over.  Sutton posted pedestrian results as DC.  He is a veteran coach with experience in college and the NFL.  Sutton is older (62), but has tons of experience.  There isn’t much bad to say about Sutton, but he’s also not a compelling DC.

Mike Pettine – Good assistant coach.  Was the DC for the Jets, but that was really Rex Ryan running the show.  Pettine left in part to show what he could do on his own.  He’s unknown as a DC.  Might turn out to be a great hire for the Bills, but could also crash and burn.  Rex was the key to the Jets defensive success in recent years.  I’m really curious to see how Mike does.

Ted Monachino – Staying put in Baltimore.  Good coach, but doesn’t have DC experience.  That was a huge deal for me.  I didn’t want a young coach who was going to be learning on the job.  We needed someone with experience.

Bob Babich – Another good positional coach.  Ran the Bears defense from 2007-09. The Bears were a mediocre to bad defense in those years.  The team thrived under Ron Rivera before him and under Rod Marinelli after him.  That doesn’t paint a pretty picture for Babich.  He’s now working with Gus Bradley in JAX.  I’ll definitely take Davis over Babich.

Dan Quinn – Bradley’s replacement in Seattle.  Veteran DL coach with limited DC experience.  Ran the Florida defense the last 2 years.  Might thrive with help from Pete Carroll, but I’d be nervous about a guy like him working for an offensive HC.

Dick Jauron – Ran the Browns defense the last 2 years.  In 2011 they were very good, but could not come up with takeaways.  This year they struggled to stop people but had a lot of takeaways (special shout out to Michael Vick).  Go figure.  Veteran coach,  but his teams have been the definition of mediocrity.  I’ll pass.  Might get the DC job with the Rams.

Monte Kiffin – Seeing Monte at the Senior Bowl was awkward.  The man is 72 and it shows.  Did great, great things in Tampa, but was basically fired by his son last month.  The Trojans finished 60th in yards allowed.  Watch him walk around and it is hard to figure out how he’s supposed to lead a bunch of guys age 20-35 on the football field.  I don’t know what to think of Monte anymore.  He’s now in Dallas and I have no idea what to expect.  Won’t shock me to see this end up as a disaster.

Mel Tucker – Similar to Billy Davis.  Tucker has been a DC for 5 years.  4 are bad.  Didn’t exactly have great players to work with.  Has a good reputation around the league.  Were the issues on him or the talent?  He’s now taking over as the Bears DC.  Another coach I’m real curious about.  Going to Chicago might do him a world of good.  Jacksonville hasn’t exactly been a factory of greatness in recent years.

Eric Mangini – His reputation is that of a guru.  The numbers don’t back that up at all.  He thrived as an assistant for Bill Belichick, but the perception that he’s a terrific defensive coach doesn’t mesh with reality.

* * * * *

When you look at the overall group of candidates, you can see there weren’t a bunch of guys that made you say “Oh, go hire him right now!”.  It just wasn’t that kind of year.

I’m sure some of you will have favorite candidates in that group.  I didn’t and that’s why I stayed so quiet in the DC search.  The one guy I wanted was Rex Ryan, but the Jets never fired him.  There were others who interested me, but all of these guys have flaws.

I do trust Chip Kelly.  Davis likely wasn’t his first choice, but Chip knows that he needs the right coach on defense if the Eagles are going to win and he’s going to succeed.  If Chip is willing to take a chance on Davis, I’ll buy in.

I’ll write more on Davis later.  There is lots of research to be done.

_


  • dislikedisqus

    This is a yawn, for me, honestly. On a different topic, what do you think about Chris Polk in a Kelly regime?

    http://articles.latimes.com/2011/nov/01/sports/la-sp-1102-pac-12-football-20111102

    • TommyLawlor

      Polk is a tough, downhill runner. Guys like that can thrive in the Kelly offense. The problem is that he’s either 3rd or 4th on the depth chart and has good players ahead of him. He’ll need a really strong spring to get the coaches attention.

      • nopain23

        over or under 12 TD’s for DJax in Kelly’s offense this year???????

        • TommyLawlor

          Under.

        • A_T_G

          I need more information. Do you mean 12 touchdowns in a division game? 12 touchdowns 80 or more yards? 12 touchdowns while QBing the pistol offense?

          • deg0ey

            I think it’s quite clear he means 12 touchdowns per reception

          • TommyLawlor

            Pro Bowl material.

      • Cafone

        I think Dion Lewis is going to surprise a lot pf people this year.

  • Noah_Becker

    I think you undersell Horton’s defense this year (#6 in DVOA).

    Also, with regard to Monte’s ability to connect, he’s got Marinelli on staff likely acting as his deputy and Rod ran great defenses under Lovie.

    • TommyLawlor

      I don’t use all your fancy computer numbers. My abacus doesn’t work fast enough to verify that stuff.

      I’d feel more confidence in Dallas if they hired Marinelli as DC and Kiffin as a Senior Adviser. Rod’s presence will certainly help. He did good things in Tampa (DL coach) and Chicago (DC).

      I just think it helps players to know who’s in charge. You know the old line about too many cooks in the kitchen.

    • ceteris_paribus1776

      Agreed. Zona’s offense did as much detriment as could possibly be done to a defense. Horton was a pretty good candidate.

      That said, there really wasn’t much to get excited about after Ed was blocked. I also think he negative pub on Rob Ryan is a bit overblown as well. That defense was very good to start the year before they lost Lee, Carter, Ratliff, and safeties. The middle of their D by years end was being manned by guys who shouldn’t be NFL starters. I’b bet if they stayed healthy they win the division and Ryan isn’t fired. I’m no Ryan fan either, but I don’t think he’s getting a completely fair wrap from his time in Dallas.

      Lastly, just because the choices were not good doesn’t mean we have to enjoy the choice that was made. A guy who doesn’t have a good résumé is still a guy who doesn’t have a good résumé. It simply deflects some criticism away from the top for now, but it doesn’t detract from the notion that the defense is still a major concern and a huge question mark

      • Eagles_Fan_in_San_Fran

        “A guy who doesn’t have a good résumé is still a guy who doesn’t have a good résumé.”
        That pretty much sums it up right there…disappointing.

  • ben

    Hey Tommy,south Philly Ben here,love yur work,great points on DC,nice to read your articles on a different thread

    • TommyLawlor

      Glad you’re here.

  • ian_no_2

    I’d go for Raheem Morris, as I’m for the 4-3. For 3-4 guys I’d want Ted Monachino, because he is less likely to be mediocre. Your take on Shurmer is that he can qualify the applicability of Kelly’s offense. Is Davis the same way? Does Kelly have a vision for the defense that he needs a vet to give feedback on?

    • TommyLawlor

      Don’t know about Kelly and his thoughts on the Eagles defense. Need to hear that. Saying we want to be aggressive doesn’t tell us much. Hope we learn more in the next week or so.

  • Flyin

    I posted a couple links about the 4-3 under scheme in the your previous post. How do you feel Cole will fit in the “Predator” position?

    Also, I’m surprised you haven’t mentioned Jeff Stoutland. Are you hearing his hiring is fact?

    • TommyLawlor

      I wanted to save Stoutland for a different post. Can’t cover everything at once.

      Don’t know for sure if we’ll run that scheme, but sounds like Cole could be good fit for Predator role.

  • nopain23

    Now it’s confirmed we’re heading to a 3-4 defense.NT is a glaring need!!!!!

    Star has to be the pick if he’s there at 4..no? if not I hope D.Moore is there because every successful 3-4 needs that one RUSH OLB who’s a beast.( Think Matthews in Greenbay. Can’t wait for the draft

    • deg0ey

      Really depends on all counts…

      If the reports are to be believed, Davis runs a one-gap 3-4 (a la Wade Phillips) which has a firm base in the 4-3 under (the DL scheme the Eagles ran before Washburn arrived and screwed it all up).

      If Billy were to run the same scheme in Philly, as I understand it, the DL would be pretty damn similar to what we’re used to seeing except one of the DEs stands up and remains a pure pass rusher but without his hand on the ground (like DeMarcus Ware).

      So, if this were to be the case, then our 4-3 NTs will be absolutely fine going into next season. Keep Landri/Patt/Thornton in the middle and they can keep doing what they do, since the job wouldn’t change.

      Graham and/or Cole and/or Curry can be the pass rushing OL, so that’s not a hole either (not saying we couldn’t find someone better, just that it’s not a big ‘need’ per se).

      As for Star, even if we want a big-body in the middle, I think #4 is too high for him. This draft is hella deep with NTs, so if Davis decides he wants a bigger guy, he can find one at the top of the second or late in the draft.

      My thoughts on drafting an NT at #4 are much like drafting a safety at #4; he might be the best player in the draft, but he’s just not gonna have as big of an impact as someone at a different position.

  • doublgee

    I wonder if Jim would’ve let Jim Leavitt, the sleeper, interview…

  • KeithPetres

    And there’s also the obvious response to criticism of this hiring, which is: “Jim Johnson had a bad resume before he came here, and he did great. Andy Reid saw through JJ’s numbers and saw a talented coach. Chip’s hiring the coach, not the numbers. Let’s hope Chip’s decision works out at least half as well.”

    • TommyLawlor

      Nicely said.

  • http://twitter.com/n3th3rman Christopher Miller

    Just curious why Romeo Crennel doesn’t even warrant a spot on the list. Not saying he is a world beater but I thought he was a better option than at least some of these guys and after a couple failed head coach stints probably wouldn’t be a head coach candidate any time in the next decade.

    • TommyLawlor

      Forgot to list him. Another guy who we think has a great record, but he really doesn’t. Did very good job with Pats, so-so on his own.

      • http://twitter.com/n3th3rman Christopher Miller

        But isn’t this the argument we are fighting trying to convince ourselves that Davis is better than his stats?

        Under Romeo as DC from 2010 to 2011 the defense improved going from a weighted DVOA 28th -> 12th despite the offense tanking badly going from 16th -> 26th and despite a toxic environment under Haley that led to his dismissal.

        I agree there was no stud DC realistically available, but not convinced Davis was the best we could do.

      • http://twitter.com/n3th3rman Christopher Miller

        BTW, for the record, I was still holding out hope Howie would convince Lovie to skip the hiatus…what a disappointment Howie, you slacker! (kidding of course)

      • ceteris_paribus1776

        Pats D units haven’t been nearly as good without Crennel either. I think an argument for a lot of guys is that they are better suited as coordinators and not HCs. Not sure it’s entirely fair to judge one particular unit of a team that the HC defacto runs since they have so many other responsibilities.

    • holeplug

      Still gettin paid by KC this year. Zero reason to work

  • Mark823

    There really wasn’t a stand out candidate, I wasn’t a huge fan of the hire at first but coaches who have struggled before can have success in the right situation. I think running a hybrid scheme makes sense, to ease the transition. Anyway of the coaches you listed, Pettine would have been my top choice. Obviously Ryan has a big influence on that defense but, for what it’s worth Billick has said it’s mostly Pettine’s defense that the Jets ran. That’s a moot point now though.

  • austinfan

    Davis hasn’t impressed, but never really had the right talent, when he had good young talent in Arizona, he also had to start 3 or 4 marginal guys with nothing on the bench. SF was worse.

    This is his make or break job, has a lot of solid talent in the front seven, I suspect this off season will be defense, defense, defense, so if they don’t turn it around by the end of 2014, he’s gone – but Zimmer did a lousy job in Atlanta before doing a fine job in Cincy, so who knows?

    • ceteris_paribus1776

      “has a lot of solid talent in the front seven”

      Do you really believe that? Cox, yes. Jenkins, aging vet. Graham, could be a serviceable starter but limited repertoire, Cole coming off worst year of career, Thornton completely undeveloped, Curry, who knows, Ryans, yes, Kendricks, undersized guy with speed but generally lacked nose for playmaking. Watching those guys to me was watching a lot of mediocre talent with one or two reliable players.

      There are no dominant players in that group. Cox is the closest and probably the only one who will ever turn out to be a force. He and probably Ryans are the only players who’s talent doesn’t dictate looking for an upgrade. I wouldn’t look to upgrade Kendricks beacause the marginal gain to a new great WILL is minimal. If the secondary wasn’t completely in the tubes I’d sure as hell be looking for 1 or 2 defensive linemen.

  • deg0ey

    I actually think getting Davis could be a fantastic stepping stone for Chip.

    If, as has been widely reported, he really likes the 3-4, then it’s a pretty shrewd move to go out and get the guy that has experience running 3-4 looks with 4-3 personnel. Whilst Davis might not be the best defensive mind or the best at coaching up talent, what he does have is the best chance of making the guys already on the roster fit into the 3-4 look that Kelly is after.

    Maybe the plan is to eventually move to a more traditional 3-4, but, as we’ve seen over last few weeks, many people considered that to be tricky to pull off in one offseason when you factor in the holes in the secondary and the new holes that would be created in the front 7 by such a switch.

    If Davis is able to bring the scheme that’s being talked about, we can start showing some 3-4 fronts, and get some of the younger guys comfortable with that alignment, without having to go out and reach for a NT or rush LB because they’re necessary to make our new scheme work.

    He’s not the sexy choice, but when you consider the scheme that he’s likely to bring, he makes a lot of sense in a poor DC market.

  • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.verhoog Matthew Verhoog

    “Lack of existence” is not an excuse. We demand a perfect candidate. One with Long-term success, no HC aspirations and 3 Superbowl rings (minimum).

  • Flyin

    I get the sense that Jim Harbaugh may have been protecting Ed Donatell from pulling a Chip Kelly of last year. Comments from Donatell during SB media day sure express a happiness and opportunity to stay with the 49ers. If his desire to stay in SF is strong, why waste his time and others. Plus how the media would respond to all rumors. Jim shut the door so Donatell would be protected in the best way, in regards to Donatell’s wishes.

    • holeplug

      Jim has blocked his assistants from getting promotions (and higher paying jobs) 2 years in a row now. Its a dick move.

  • Iskar36

    I fully agree that there was no one out there that was a “can’t miss” candidate,
    but I’m not going to lie, this article read to me very much like an Eagles
    homer article.

    Here are Billy Davis’s:

    Year/Team………………………….PTS……………..YDS……….TO
    2004/SF (pre-Davis)……………32………………….24………….27
    2005/SF…………………………….30………………….32………….21
    2006/SF…………………………….32………………….26………….18
    2007/SF (post-Davis)………….20………………….25………….28
    2008/AR (pre-Davis)…………..28………………….19…………..5
    2009/AR……………………………14………………….20………….10
    2010/AR……………………………30………………….29…………..8
    2011/AR (post-Davis)………….17………………….18………….26
    Career averages……………….26.5……………….26.8………13.5

    Davis’s numbers are not “mediocre” they are flat out bad. His defenses average out to be in the bottom 5 or 6 teams in the league. On top of that, once he was replaced, the defenses for his teams made substantial improvements going from 32nd ranked defense to 20th and 30th ranked defense to 17th based on PTs (not as substantial jumps based on yards, but they improved in that category as well). It should be also pointed out that based on PTS, Davis’ teams actually got worse from year one to year two (30th to 32nd in SF… not big jump but that’s because he started so low to begin with, and 14th to 30th in AR). So to me, the whole he did not have great talent argument does not tell the full story. Sure it wasn’t great, but he didn’t help improve it either, and when you are ranked that poorly, part of the problem is clearly the coach.

    Todd Grantham – Had mediocre success. Disappointing because he had a “good” defense with elite talent, but that is better than having terrible defenses with bad/mediocre talent in my opinion.

    Spags – Up and down career. Drastically improved the Giants defense (and it was terrible the year after he left), and then significantly improved the Rams defense in year 2 (went from 31st to 12th in points allowed). The Rams got worse the next year and then it was terrible in NO, but overall, Spags stats suggest he is a substantially better coordinator.

    Rob Ryan – Way overhyped coach but he still has better rankings with his defenses overall compared to Davis.

    Horton – He may not deserve the hype of being a guru, but even in your argument you point out that his defenses were in the teens. I’d take that in a heartbeat over a guy who has had 3 out of 4 years in the 30s in terms of PTs allowed. Also, chance to be a long term coach is valuable, but you have to start with having success for there to be the opportunity of the coach staying long term.

    Bob Sutton – In three years as NYJ DC his rankings averaged to be 18 in terms of yards (20, 18, and 16) and 14.3 (6, 19, and 18). Compared to Davis, that is waaay better than “pedestrian” and seems much more “compelling” a DC compared to Davis.

    Mike Pettine – Ryan certainly deserves plenty of credit for the Jets defense, but it’s incredibly dismissive to not give Pettine any credit. He may crash and burn, but I would argue it is just as likely if not even more likely that Davis will crash and burn as DC here (just like he has elsewhere).

    Ted Monachino – We disagree on the need for a DC with experience, but with the coaching staff that was assembled, I don’t think we had a choice.

    Bob Babich – Definitely Davis over Babich? Really? Average rankings of 17.6 in terms of points (16, 16 and 21), 22 in terms of yards (28, 21, and 17), and 7.3 in terms of turnovers (8, 2, and 12). You’re right that the defense was better with Rivera and Marinelli, but statistically, Davis doesn’t even come close to Babich, and just like Pettine, it is unfair to completely dismiss Babich’s accomplishments on their own.

    Dick Jauron – You’re absolutely right that his defenses are the definition of mediocrity, but again, Davis still has yet to prove that he can achieve that.

    Mel Tucker – He has had 4 bad years, but the one good year his defense was ranked 6th in terms of yards and 11th in terms of PTs. Overall, his defenses are ranked 22.6 (26, 23,28, 6, and 30) in terms of YDS and 21.4 in terms of PTs (16, 24, 27, 11, 29).

    Look, I’m not saying that Davis can’t be successful, but the fact is of all the coaches you have mentioned with previous DC experience, Davis has the worst resume of the bunch, and for several of them, it’s not even close. We can only assume that he had a great interview and impressed the coaches enough to trust him, so we will find out over the next year or two if they made the right decision. But on paper, I completely disagree with you that Davis compares favorably or similarly to most of these coaches.

    • Flyin

      This is why this site is the best. The people who contribute to the discussion. You don’t have to agree, and if you don’t…. most contributors supply a thought out argument. .I’m hear to learn and I appreciate the discussion of this site immensely.

      • Iskar36

        I fully agree. I think Tommy does an incredible job with this site, and even though I don’t always agree, the discussions that take place here are better than any other Eagles-related website I have been to.

        • Flyin

          I’ll read a good article on another site and scroll down the comments to see the reaction… I usually get so disinterested, I just close the window after only a few comments.

          • A_T_G

            Yep. This is the only site where I come back to an article repeatedly to check on the conversation. Part of that is Tommy actually being part of the conversation. I don’t understand why that is so novel, but it is. Part of that is the expectations of each other from he commenters.

          • P_P_K

            Agreed. It’s remarkable and a refreshing pleasure to have these intelligent conversations.

    • A_T_G

      ” On top of that, once he was replaced, the defenses for his teams made substantial improvements…”

      So what you are saying is that we will field a solid defense in 2015, under a new DC?

      • Iskar36

        There we go! That sounds good. Let’s just hope the fans and the FO don’t turn on Kelly by that point.

    • Ark87

      Well done, I’ve been expressing my doubts and people act like we’re being downers about this. You articulated this perfectly.

      I’d like to ask, where did our standards go? We fired Juan Castillo and Sean McDermott because they had pedestrian defenses, not terrible, just mediocre. They simply did not meet our goals of excellence. At leadership positions, when you go 4-12 you must raise your standards, not lower them. It’s clear we are hell bent on switching to a 3-4 despite not having the personnel or any good coaches to oversee the transition. You want a chance to see if you can ride Shady’s legs to the playoffs while he’s still in his prime? Stick to the 4-3, hire a coach who had a good defense last year, maybe a Rod Marinelli-type. Get a good safety and a CB and we are all set to make a run at a championship.

      I hope I’m wrong about everything, but this whole move feels like a step in the wrong direction.

      • xeynon

        I’d say McDermott and Castillo got fired as much because the team as a whole was backsliding under Reid and he needed scapegoats to keep the heat off of himself as because of their actual performance as DCs. Your points are well-taken though.

      • Iskar36

        I actually don’t have issue with wanting to go to the 3-4. If Chip feels that is the direction defenses need to go in order to be successful, I would rather take the time to rebuild the Eagles in the way he envisions it than just try to add on to what AR built. You hired a new coach, not the successor to AR. If Chip Kelly comes here to be ARs successor, this team will fail (and to be clear, I certainly don’t think that is the attitude Chip is taking). Having said that, I do agree that forcing a system or a style without having the appropriate will be incredibly challenging, and the pieces all start with the coach. I am obviously doubtful of Billy Davis, but at the same time, I don’t believe we have idiots in the FO and in Chip Kelly. I trust they see something through their conversations with Davis that they believe he can be successful. The question now becomes, are their evaluations correct.

        • Ark87

          I’m about that too, but if we don’t have the players, then we need a great coach. It’s likely that this isn’t their first choice for a DC, so why force the issue? Fix the secondary this year, which will be just fine with the 3-4 if we chose to switch next year. Are we really getting any closer to the ultimate goal of an awesome 3-4 if this dude comes in gets grabs up players to fit what may be a flawed system that he is implementing? I’m just saying, we got Shady (age 25 next season, he only has so many prime seasons left and those should not to be squandered) and Bryce Brown and one of the best running game minds in the biz. I’m not ready to write 2013 off in the name of rebuilding our defense.

          • Iskar36

            I know it is a sort of taboo word around these parts, but after a 4-12 season following an 8-8 season (which I think overrated our play that year), I honestly think we are in rebuild mode. Not “retool” or all these other modified forms of the word. Yes, there are some (key word here is some, not several) players with exceptional talent, but I think there are just way to many holes to for us to be competitive in the short term. Having said that, I don’t think “rebuilding” requires a 5+ years to do or anything like that. I think we will need two solid offseasons to be truly competitive, and within that time frame, regardless of if we stay in a 4-3 or go to a 3-4, I think you can make the adjustments to play the style of defense you want to play successfully.

          • Ark87

            I think our biggest issue last season (and the season before) wasn’t our talent so much as coaching. We were soft headcases. You got glimpses of what this team can be, but never for 60 minutes. I only see a few true holes in the roster. Obviously the secondary is one big black hole. We had some less than ideal situations at the third LB spot, but not a hole. We could definitely use a guard or tackle (and then honestly we’d have a top 5 O-line). Then there is the uncertainty at QB, definitely not good, but not a proven hole.

            The rest is wish list stuff. Would be nice to have a Big RZ receiver, an elite KR/PR specialist, etc.

            Like i said, my issue was with the character of the team and that they just didn’t execute well as a team. Especially on defense. Maybe you need to clean house to fix that, but I’d like to see if different coaching could salvage what I think is already on this team.

          • Iskar36

            I think the debate of talent is a complex one that doesn’t have a clear answer. You’re right that our team was soft last year and the year before, but I still question the overall talent on the team. I don’t think being soft was the only issue. I also think when you discuss our talent, right now it is at specific positions but isn’t talented as a cohesive unit. That could be entirely coaching, and the easy solution is that Chip Kelly can make this a cohesive unit, but I am not convinced that is the case just yet. At the end of the day, we’ll see how Kelly develops this team and whether you or I are correct in how we view the talent on this team. I truly hope I am wrong and that Kelly manages to get the best out of every play and build on the current team, but I just don’t know that we are close enough talent wise to do just that.

          • Ark87

            Agreed. I’m not sure how much talent we have on this team, or how much of it is salvageable if it is there (DRC is the poster child for this), but I definitely am eager to see what Chip can do with what we have.

  • ICDogg

    My preference was to try to talk Lovie Smith out of sitting out the year

    • Flyin

      That was my hope as well. But taking a year off with a lucrative salary is hard to pass down in this profession.

  • doublgee

    Hmmm…so, Chip Kelly interviews with the Browns. Doesn’t sign with them, for whatever reason (wasn’t offered??). But, takes their old HC as our new O-Coordinator…and their LB’s coach, as our D-Coordinator. I wonder why that’s a coincidence…

  • Toby_yboT

    I’m focused on the positive with this move. To some this might make me a homer (possible) but to me, it’s just a coping mechanism. I have no control over the situation nor the kind of knowledge to make an informed opinion.

    So the positives: experience, and experience. Specifically, I like that he’s worked with both 4-3 and 3-4 defenses, and I hope that he can help make the transition less painful. We are headed towards a 3-4 or at least a hybrid, the writing is on the wall.

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

    Let’s face it, we are all (presumably) analyzing these moves on a very superficial level, especially when it comes to near-anonymous assistant coaches and coordinators. Impressions are driven by the prestige of the program from which the candidate comes, a few (rather crude) statistical measures and a broad brushstroke understanding of what scheme is going to be implemented.

    Total yards and scoring defense obviously leave a lot to be desired when it comes to evaluating the performance of the defense independent from the team. So prepare for numbers overload (NFL rank in each category).

    >Expected Points, DVOA

    2005 (SFO) — 30, 31
    2006 (SFO) — 30, 29

    2009 (ARI) — 19, 11
    2010 (ARI) — 16, 25

    >Y/P, NY/A, Y/C, TO

    2005 (SFO) — 31, 32, t-11, t-21
    2006 (SFO) — t-22, t-24, t-14, t-18

    2009 (ARI) — t-16, t-10, t-24, t-10
    2010 (ARI) — t-22, 26, t-20, t-8

    >EPA, EPA/P, WPA, SR%

    2005 (SFO) — 30, t-28, 23, 29
    2006 (SFO) — 28, 28, 19, 26

    2009 (ARI) — 10, t-8, 14, 7
    2010 (ARI) — 25, t-22, 21, 19

    Ok, maybe all that wasn’t completely necessary. I give Billy one good defense (2009), one OK defense (2010) and two bad/terrible defenses (2005 and 2006). It seems that the strong-suit of his defense every year has been creating turnovers (rather than shutoutability).

    I can see why that would be increasingly attractive in today’s NFL. With the way even mediocre offenses can move the ball, trying to create turnovers should be a more lucrative strategy than a futile exercise in trying to stop the opponent in his tracks. As the offensive environment becomes more potent, the importance of possessions grows ever more, while the value of field position shrinks.

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

      Abbreviations:
      DVOA — Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (Football Outsiders)
      Y/P — Yards per Play
      NY/A — Net Yards per Attempt (passing)
      Y/C — Yards per Carry (rushing)
      TO — Turnovers
      EPA — Expected Points Added (advanced NFL stats)
      EPA/P — Expected Points Added per Play (“)
      WPA — Win Probability Added (“)
      SR% — Success Rate Percentage (“)

  • http://twitter.com/RIPworms RIP Worms

    “I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.” -Thomas Edison

    There is value in failing, so long as you are learning from the experiences.

    Then again, he’s only failed as a DC 4 times. So he might just be 9,996 failed seasons from getting it figured out.

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

    Does Sean Smith of the Miami Dolphins fit the description of a CB in the 4-3 under system? The way I read it, the CBs should be tall and strong tacklers, but doesn’t need top end speed.
    Smith is only 25 years old, is 6-3 and 220 lbs. Maybe he would be the perfect FA signing (along with Desmond Bryant).

    • ACViking

      In the “for what it’s worth,” the CBs at Oregon under Kelly usually were of the 5’10 or 5’11 variety.

      At the combine, the Eagles’ interviews of CBs involved no one over 6’0 (if memory serves).

      Sean Smith’s a bit taller than that. Maybe too tall.

  • SteveH

    Sigh, am I the only one really not thrilled with the idea of switching to a 3-4? I feel like the front 7 is not the part of the defense we need to be spending resources on right now, its the secondary. For instance, if we switch to a 3-4 and take Star Lotululei with the 4th overall, thats a pick we could have spent on Dee Milliner instead. Also we have 0 idea how any of our current roster is going to work out at OLB, another position we’ll likely have to invest heavy resources into just to make a into a functional unit. At this point I’d rather not waste resources retooling our front seven when its our secondary thats desperately needing help. It won’t matter how we align if our secondary doesn’t improve drastically.

    If our secondary was strong but our front 7 was a mess I’d think this was a logical time to make the switch, but this seems really forced, and we might end losing several players who are assets because they won’t function in the new scheme.

    • Ark87

      You are certainly not alone in that sentiment.

      posted this earlier: “It’s clear we are hell bent on switching to a 3-4 despite not having the personnel or any good coaches to oversee the transition. You want a chance to see if you can ride Shady’s legs to the playoffs while he’s still in his prime? Stick to the 4-3, hire a coach who had a good defense last year, maybe a Rod Marinelli-type. Get a good safety and a CB and we are all set to make a run at a championship.”

      Definitely forcing this thing, I hate that it will be at the expense of a lot of talent in their prime.

      • holeplug

        “I hate that it will be at the expense of a lot of talent in their prime.”

        are we stilling talking about the eagles roster?

        • Ark87

          If we can get our starting O-line off of IR, combine it with Shady can be quite potent, and quite diminished by the time this rebuild pays dividends. That’s all I’m trying to get at.

          I don’t think our D is that loaded with talent (not as much as I thought we had going into 2012). But our front 7 can be plenty competitive while we focus on our secondary this off-season.

          It would kill me to finally see Shady get 2k rushing yards with a healthy O-line and a rush-minded coach, and have it wasted with opposing teams scoring 35 points every game because we look like an expansion team on the defense.

    • Iskar36

      Switching to the 3-4 creates added pressure in terms of filling in holes on the defense, but we hired Chip Kelly with the hopes that he can have a long tenure as the head coach here and rebuild a franchise that is successful. If he feels that long term, the 3-4 is the way to do that, having our struggles this offseason to fill holes is worth the later gains we will get if his ideas for the defense are correct. The Eagles hired him because they trust him to have the right ideas and the right strategy to implement ideas, so I think moving to the 3-4, if that is what Kelly wants to do, is the right move.

      • qwerty uiop

        He’s trusted on Offense. Not necessarily on defense.

        • Iskar36

          I disagree with this. He is the head coach, not the offensive coordinator. He may not be a defensive guru at all, but you don’t hire him as your head coach if he doesn’t have a vision and plan for the defense.

    • ACViking

      “Rome wasn’t built in a day” is cliche because of the Eagles . . . every year, since 1960, fans have been voicing the same kind of very fair concerns you’ve expressed.

      But whether the Birds run a pure 3-4, a hyrbrid 3-4, or an under 4-3 that looks like a 1-gap 3-4, I think that some serious personnel work needs to be done on the defensive side of the ball. (T-Cole is 31, Jenkins 34, no SLB, no CBs and no S’s.)

      That aside, as others have noted (particularly austinfan), because the NFL is now so pass-crazy, the Eagles would be in a 3-4 with a true NT much less than 50 percent of the time. Most of the time, the Eagles will be in some sort of 4-2-5, using much the same personnel among the front 6 already here (unless C-Kelly cuts them).

      Day by day . . . .

    • Neil

      If what people are saying about using an under front is true, I really wouldn’t consider our defense a 3-4 at all. Just a different type of 4-3.

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

    I think one thing that this roster is lacking is size.

    WRs are smurfs. Lacking big NT, our LBs are small in stature. Coleman is small. Celeck is not big for a TE.

    What I thought was interesting was they are asking Chip to define what he wants in each position. Size speed requirements. I wonder if that will be vastly different from what we have had.

    Are we going to be looking for the next Jon “Too Tall” Harris? All of the downfield blocking in the Oregon system is severly lacking on this team. You don’t need to be a big guy to block well (Hines wasn’t big, but a good blocker) but it sure helps.

    I am hoping we get some sizetoughness in this draft.

    What also is interesting is the Free Agency period. We have a real chance to reshape the roster Before the draft. Getting a clean slate, new guys would have the same opportunity as the old established guys.

    Not saying we should go all Redskins, but in the shuffle moving pieces around that fit the change in system might make a lot of sense.