More DC Candidates

Posted: February 21st, 2023 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on More DC Candidates

We found out about a couple of other defensive coordinator candidates on Tuesday. The Eagles have been conducting interviews, but doing it rather quietly.

Jesse Minter is the son of Rick Minter, who was the Eagles LBs coach for Chip Kelly and the head coach at the University of Cincinnati from 1994-2003. One of Minter’s DCs at Cincinnati was a guy by the name of Rex Ryan. Jesse grew up around football and has been around some good defensive minds for a while.

Jesse got his start in college football and worked his way up to DC at Indiana State and then Georgia State. In 2017 he joined the Ravens as an assistant. Jesse took over as the DBs coach in 2020. He was hired away to be DC at Vanderbilt in 2021 and Michigan hired him as DC in 2022.

When asked about scheme and philosophy, Minter had this to say, “I look at it just as a DBs coach my whole career, pretty much … I kind of see things from the back to front.”

That is interesting. Jonathan Gannon was a DBs coach. Vance Joseph’s background is DBs. Jim Leonhard is a former DB and DBs coach. It seems like this is something Nick Sirianni is looking for in a DC. He wants someone to understand coverages and to be able to focus on the passing game.

Minter had a good background before going to Baltimore, but he learned a lot from being around such good players and coaches. The Ravens defense had a lot of success in Minter’s four years there.

In his first season with the organization (2017), Minter worked closely with secondary coach Chris Hewitt and the defensive backs. The Ravens led the NFL in interceptions (22) and turnover differential (+17) that year while Minter learned the responsibilities and details of quality control, self-scouting, and opponent analysis on both sides of the ball.

During the 2018 season, Minter helped Baltimore achieve the NFL’s top defensive unit, surrendering a league-low 292.9 yards per contest and 17.9 points per game, the second-lowest mark in the league. Quarterbacks were limited to a passer rating of 80.6 against the Ravens’ secondary. The following year in 2019, three Baltimore defensive backs made the Pro Bowl while the team finished top-six in the league in several categories: passer rating against (77.5), fewest points allowed per game (17.6), net yards allowed per game (300.6), rushing yards allowed per game (93.4), and passing yards allowed per game (207.2). The team won 14 games in the regular season, setting a new franchise record.

Dean Pees was the DC in 2017 and then Wink Martindale ran the defense from 2018-2020. Both are veteran coaches who love to attack the QB and come up with takeaways. That was a really good education for Minter.

Minter was given good players to work with at Michigan and they finished 5th in the nation in defensive efficiency. They were 3rd in yards allowed and 5th in points allowed. No matter how you slice it, they had a great defense.

Schematically, Minter looks like a good fit. He comes from a more aggressive background than Gannon, but still focuses on coverage. Michigan ran creative looks last year. They had interesting personnel and got the best out of them. That certainly is something the Ravens have done for years.

I think Minter is an interesting candidate and I’m intrigued by him. He’s had success at all of his stops and has had to climb the ladder. He’s seen a variety of situations and all kinds of different schemes and ideas.


Chris Shula is the son of David Shula, who almost became the Eagles coach back in the 1980s. He’s the grandson of Don Shula, who won a few games for the Dolphins if memory serves. Chris spent five years in college football, his last gig as DC for John Carroll. Shula’s predecessor in that role was Brandon Staley, now the coach of the Chargers.

Shula was hired as a quality control assistant by the Chargers in 2015. He worked on that staff with Nick Sirianni and obviously made a good impression. Shula was hired by his old college teammate Sean McVay to join the Rams as an assistant linebackers coach in 2017. He became the outside LBs coach in 2019 and then the LBs coach in 2021. Last season Shula was the DBs coach and passing game coordinator.

Here are the DCs that Shula has worked under.

2015-2016       John Pagano
2017-2019       Wade Phillips
2020                 Brandon Staley
2021-2022       Raheem Morris

Pagano and Phillips both run a 1-gap version of the 3-4. Pagano learned under Phillips when they were both with the Chargers (Shawne Merriman era). Staley was heavily influenced by Vic Fangio. Morris has a versatile background, but kept a lot of Staley’s scheme and added some tweaks.

Shula has coached in two Super Bowls, winning one. But he hasn’t run a defense on his own since 2014 and that was small college football.

We have to guess that schematically he’s going to be similar to Staley. Shula has been around that system for the past three seasons. It is the one he’s probably most comfortable with at this point. That would be similar to what the Eagles did under Gannon so he’d be a good fit from that perspective.

I like Shula’s NFL background. He’s been on multiple teams and has worked under some good coaches. It would make me nervous to have him in charge because he’s got so little experience actually running a defense.

Shula was part of the #1 defense in 2020. He coached in the Super Bowl in 2018 and 2021. The defense played well in both games. Some of that is scheme and coaching. Some of it is Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey.

I would love to have him as the LBs coach, but I’ve got reservations about him as the DC. Shula seems like a good coach with a bright future. I would just prefer someone who has more experience running a defense.


I’m going to assume this in regard to Georgia Co-DC and ILBs coach Glenn Schumann. As you can see below, he’s a hot name in the coaching word.

This video is Schumann explaining how UGA tries to get pressure, while also being sound in coverage and dealing with mobile QBs.

I’m not going to write a lot about him until we find out for sure if he’s a DC candidate. Very interesting guy because of the scheme UGA runs and how successful they’ve been.


Ranking the candidates as of now:

Jim Leonhard
Sean Desai
Vance Joseph
Jesse Minter
Chris Shula

Leonhard knows how to develop talent and build gameplans. Those are critical parts to being a good DC. I also think he would be a good culture fit.

Desai has run an NFL defense and spent multiple years under Vic Fangio, doing many of the things the Eagles did last year. He got a bounce-back year out of Khalil Mack and a career year from Robert Quinn. He helped rookie Tariq Woolen have a great rookie season for Seattle last year.

Joseph is the veteran. He’s seen it all and knows how to run an NFL defense. He just hasn’t done that at a high level. To be fair, he’s never had great talent.

Minter is fascinating because he’s been a DC for eight years in college and also has the NFL experience with the Ravens. He intrigues me.

Shula feels like a coach on the rise, but his lack of experience wouldn’t be ideal for a team hoping to compete for a Super Bowl.

As I wrote recently, Super Bowl winners have either had veteran DCs or defensive head coaches going back a long way. We saw Jonathan Gannon’s shortcomings just a couple of weeks ago. Playoff football is tough. It can take a few failures before a DC really knows how to deal with the best QBs.


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