The Eagles front office was holding a game of musical chairs for the coaching staff this past off-season of which the results could have a lasting effect.
While no new coaches were added to the Eagles staff this off-season, there were a plethora of internal moves.
Most notably, and most recently, Sean McDermott, who is entering his 11th season with the team, has been made defensive coordinator while Jim Johnson undergoes a second round of chemotherapy for bone cancer.
The former linebacker coach and secondary/safety coach has been instrumental in the success of Brian Dawkins and Asante Samuel, both Pro Bowlers, and has been under the tutelage of Johnson for longer than any other defensive assistant coach. His long-standing relationship with Johnson could result in a similar playbook—one rife with blitzes.
While the plays will most likely stay the same, the confidence level from both the players and McDermott might not be. Johnson had the utmost respect of all of the players so that even when he called an unusual play, the team went with it wholeheartedly because they trusted Johnson.
Players were more carefree because they knew the gravelly-voiced man had their back.
What he may lack in confidence, McDermott makes up for with his knowledge of the players. This is all the more important with the loss of Dawkins, as he must quickly assess the skills of Quintin Mikell and Quintin Demps and see how to best use their strengths.
History has taught fans to be optimistic about McDermott’s success, especially if he maintains Johnson’s strategies while infusing it with enough of his style.
Eagles head coach Andy Reid has a proven track record of grooming successful coaches. Fans have to look no further than St. Louis Rams coach Steve Spanuolo, formerly of the New York Giants, or Jim Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens to see what some training from Reid can produce.
McDermott, and Eagles fans, hope that the new defensive coordinator’s story will have the same happy ending.