After the Eagles announced that defensive coordinator Sean McDermott would not be returning next season, it became clear that Andy Reid wasn’t about to settle for any mediocrity.
McDermott was an understudy to longtime Eagles legend Jim Johnson. After Johnson’s passing two years ago, McDermott took over the job. The idea was that McDermott would be able to produce the same results that Johnson had.
After two terrible defensive seasons, it was time for the McDermott science experiment to end.
Two weeks have passed, and the Eagles have yet to name a new defensive coordinator. The decision to change defensive coordinators does hint at head coach Andy Reid’s current perspective.
Immediately following the season, Reid said that McDermott would be returning next season, but after having a week to ponder this team’s direction, Reid changed his mind.
The decision to keep Sean McDermott would have been the wrong one. It would mean accepting defensive mediocrity while the young defensive coordinator learns how to effectively do his job.
Reid knows this team’s potential. Michael Vick’s amazing comeback sparked this team and took them much further than they would have gone with Kevin Kolb. With an entire offseason for Vick to prepare as a starter, imagine what he could accomplish.
Reid understands that there is a three- to four-year window ahead of potential Super Bowl success. Reid can’t allow for Sean McDermott to mature as a coordinator while the Eagles offense is torching defenses.
Reid needs that defense solid now, and it starts with firing McDermott and hiring someone with experience. There is no point in finally solidifying a defense two to three years after your offense is past its prime.
If you consider that Reid’s actions are to take advantage of this three- to four-year window, this may indicate the Eagles will try to land a couple massive signings in free agency and pull two to three studs from the draft.
The Eagles have hinted that they will attempt to put the franchise tag on Michael Vick, should that option still be available under a new CBA, which would let them keep him another season without breaking the bank and free up cap room for bigger signings in coming months.
The Eagles are the second-youngest team after Tampa Bay. They don't hang onto dinosaur veterans with huge contracts, which means their roster is full of relatively young athletes making moderate money, with a few exceptions here and there. This means that should they want/need to sign a monster free agent, they would be able to.
New general manager Howie Roseman may be the most motivated GM in the league. With his determination and Reid’s new found sense of impatience, I expect an offseason for the ages.
The first real offseason move has been the hiring of former Titans defensive line coach Jim Washburn, considered by many to be the best defensive line coach in the league.
Jim Washburn is well known for being able to get the most out of his players. He’s transformed nobody rookies and worn-out old veterans into tremendous pass rushers. What this shows is Andy Reid’s commitment to revamping this team on every level.
In the past few days, the name Darren Perry, safeties coach for the Green Bay Packers, has come up as a potential candidate as the Eagles' new defensive coordinator. Darren Perry has been linked to the successful development of Pro Bowl players like Nnamdi Asomugha and Troy Polamalu.
This is why I feel he would be better suited as a secondary coach for the Eagles. Perry doesn’t have experience coordinating a 4-3 defense, the system Andy Reid is committed to keep intact. Hiring Perry would show the Eagles are still pursuing the best possible coach at each position.
Once free agency does officially begin, the right cornerback position will need to be addressed, and I don’t mean with a nice journeyman or a 25-year-old band-aid; I mean a solid cornerback.
I’m talking about Nnamdi Asomugha.
He will, without a doubt, be the most coveted player in free agency. If the Eagles can acquire the shutdown corner, it would totally solidify the position. Teams would no longer be able to pass away from Asante Samuel’s side of the field, which would result in more interceptions.
The Eagles defense would be instantly feared, but would still need help to dish out some knockout blows to opposing offenses.
It is possible the potential addition of Darren Perry would be extra incentive for Nnamdi to come to Philadelphia. Nnamdi has expressed some desire to be reunited with Perry in Green Bay. If Perry were to come to Philadelphia, it would give the Eagles a larger shot at grabbing the coveted shutdown corner.
It’s also possible the Eagles could lure back DE Jason Babin, who spent last season in Tennessee under Jim Washburn. Washburn transformed Babin into a fierce pass rusher who ended the season with a career-high with 15 sacks and made 33 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
The Eagles have a lot going in their direction. They need to hire Perry as a secondary coach/senior assistant, find an aggressive defensive coordinator and grab a good linebackers coach.
It is then crucial to acquire several quality players in the draft and pull in some solid players in free agency.
If I were drafting, I would attempt to get at No. 1: OT Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin); No. 2: LB Casey Matthews (Oregon); No. 3: the best available CB or DT/DE. The Eagles can do a lot in free agency, but it all depends on when it actually begins.
The important thing everyone needs to see is that Andy Reid appears to be getting impatient. That's a good thing.
For years, he's seemed content to go into every season with the same old people and hope for the best. This offseason he is targeting the best, realizing hope only takes you so far, talent gets it done.