NEW ORLEANS -- Last week, a theory emerged about the Eagles' defensive coordinator search that made perfect sense. It seemed likely there was a tacit deal in place with someone still involved with coaching one of the Super Bowl teams, and so the new guy couldn't be announced, yet the team was able to make a number of defensive staff hires, though those remained officially unannounced. For proof, there was the fact that there was no news of anybody new being interviewed, all through Senior Bowl week.
The most likely name seemed to be that of 49ers defensive backs coach Ed Donatell, a former D-coordinator in Green Bay and Atlanta.
Like so many things in this world that make perfect sense, that theory is now shot to hell.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the Eagles interviewed Browns linebackers coach Billy Davis over the weekend. The Browns definitely are not playing in the Super Bowl this week. Why it would take this long to get around to Davis is anyone's guess.
Davis was a candidate two years ago for the d-coordinator post, before Andy Reid settled on Juan Castillo. At the time, Davis had just been fired from his coordinator duties in Arizona. His father, Bill Davis, was the Eagles' linebackers coach under Dick Vermeil and later an Eagles player personnel VP, during the Buddy Ryan era.
The Inquirer says the Birds are interested in Ravens linebackers coach Ted Monachino. The Ravens, of course, are in the Super Bowl. But really, you could take almost any defensive position coach from the 49ers or the Ravens staff right now and build a plausible case for his candidacy. Keep in mind that teams are able to keep position coaches from leaving for coordinator jobs, just not for head coaching jobs.
The one thing we think we do know -- there have been numerous hints that new coach Chip Kelly wants to go to a 3-4. Both the Ravens and the 49ers run 3-4 defenses. Local fave Steve Spagnuolo, fired last week by the Saints, has no 3-4 chops.
Billy Davis, 47, is definitely a 3-4 guy. He ran a 3-4 in Arizona and before that in San Francisco, where then-head coach Mike Nolan hired him as defensive coordinator to switch the 49ers from 4-3. He was an Eagles ball boy during the Vermeil years.
As several commenters below noted, this post originally referred to Mike Nolan as Ted Nolan, who is a former hockey coach and doesn't have a darned thing to do with the 3-4 defense, as far as I know. Thanks for the correction.