The timing of the reported hiring of Billy Davis as defensive coordinator indicates that the Philadelphia Eagles had to settle. Davis was interviewed last month and had been available for nearly six weeks.
We'll never know for sure, but it appears Chip Kelly waited for the Super Bowl to wrap up in order to make a run at highly touted candidates Ed Donatell (from San Francisco) and/or Ted Monachino (from Baltimore).
And in both cases, he may have been blocked by their employers or simply rejected by the candidates.
Either way, an exasperating search is over, and a 47-year-old journeyman defensive coach with heavy experience running the 3-4 is on board.
Fans might be a little disappointed. Many don't know Davis, but many didn't know Donatell or Monachino either. The difference is that Davis feels like a fallback option.
The good news is that Davis has a cool backstory—he was an Eagles' ball boy growing up and his dad, Bill, worked in the team's front office—as well as a ton of experience.
He's been employed by exactly 25 percent of the league's 32 teams and has coached on the defensive side of the ball at the professional level for 21 straight years.
When previous defensive coordinator Juan Castillo was hired, he hadn't coached on the defensive side of the ball once in that exact same number of years. Seriously.
Davis also has a reputation for helping produce quality linebackers dating back to his days under Dom Capers in Carolina. That's music to Mychal Kendricks' ears. This linebacker corps has been wretched for far too long.
And for what it's worth, embattled and inconsistent Eagles cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie made the Pro Bowl when he was last coached by Davis, in Arizona in 2009.
Surely he'll help ease the process of transitioning from a 4-3 defensive front to a 3-4, which is something Kelly seems hellbent on accomplishing regardless. Davis has coached both schemes, but he helped Dan Reeves and Wade Phillips make that exact transition in Atlanta a decade ago, and he ran the 3-4 while coordinating defenses in San Francisco (2005 and 2006) and Arizona (2009 and 2010, where they ran a hybrid).
The bad news is that Davis was fired from both of those jobs after two seasons in each role, with his defenses giving up more points in his second year as his first on both occasions.
Injuries and a lack of talent have to be considered here, though. Davis continues to get jobs in this league for a reason. He's been called a "great teacher" by Mike Nolan and should do some very unique and interesting things with his linebackers, as the Eagles adopt less of a cookie-cutter defense.
I know a lot of you were expecting something or someone a little more exciting. I know Davis becomes yet another assistant that the Eagles have strangely plucked from the lowly Cleveland Browns, and I know his on-paper track record isn't pretty. I know it appears Davis was the Eagles' backup plan.
But the reality is that he's still very qualified for the job, and none of the above means this won't work out.
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