Former cornerback Anthony Henry played for Todd Bowles with the Browns and the Cowboys, and Henry said today that Bowles is just the guy to bring a secondary together.
"With the kind of talent they already have there, he'll make them a better secondary, and they'll have a really successful team next year," Henry said.
Henry, now retired in the Dallas area, said Bowles has a talent for "tapping in on what each player is good at, and bringing that together" into a coherent coverage plan for the secondary. "Guys feel comfortable with their roles and the scheme," Henry said -- not something that was always true for the Eagles last season.
The Eagles announced this afternoon that they are hiring Bowles, ex-Dolphins assistant head coach-defensive backs, as the coach of the Birds' defensive backs. Bowles replaces Johnnie Lynn, but unlike Lynn, he will be in charge of the entire secondary, including safeties coach Mike Zordich. Lynn only coached corners.
Bringing aboard Bowles, 48, a former Temple star and Redskins defensive back, removes the last obstacle to Eagles coach Andy Reid giving his long-awaited season wrapup news conference. Reid now is scheduled to speak to reporters tomorrow at noon.
Bowles began his post-playing career on the Packers' personnel staff, back when Reid was on the Green Bay coaching staff, in 1995-96. He has coached with the Jets, Browns and Cowboys, along with the Dolphins, coming to Miami along with Bill Parcells, when Parcells left the Cowboys. He was the Dolphins' interim head coach after the Dec. 12 firing of Tony Sparano, going 2-1, and was a finalist for the permanent job, which went to Joe Philbin. Bowles also interviewed for the head coaching vacancy in Oakland. It will be interesting to see if he has more of a voice in game-day decisions than an ordinary position coach would.
The Eagles said Bowles' hiring completes their coaching staff, so Juan Castillo offically will remain as defensive coordinator.
Henry said Bowles' voice was respected in Dallas across the defense, not just in the secondary.
Henry said Bowles' style was laid-back enough that players felt free to come in and talk to him about coverages they felt had worked well for them in the past, that he should consider, but he "did get fiery" if a plan wasn't being executed properly. He added that Bowles is not "a big yeller or cuss-out guy."
Bowles is probably the first position coach Reid has brought aboard who was already considered an up-and-coming NFL head coaching candidate; that will be an interesting dynamic, as Reid confronts what might be a do-or-die season.