Despite going more than a week without filling their defensive coordinator vacancy, the Eagles have compiled a detailed list of candidates from which to make a hire, according to a league source close to the team.
The Eagles do not have a leading candidate, the source said, and won’t make a hire until Monday at the earliest. From that, the following conclusions can be drawn:
-- The Eagles are waiting to interview at least one coach from one of the four remaining teams playing in Sunday’s conference championships.
-- Saints assistant Dennis Allen, who is meeting with the Eagles this weekend, won’t be hired on the spot even though he remains a plausible contender for the job.
-- And that Jim Mora and Dick Jauron, rumored to be credible candidates for the opening, were never seriously considered by the Eagles.
Because of the time that has lapsed since the Eagles fired Sean McDermott and because head coach Andy Reid was on vacation during much of that period, the perception has been that the Eagles were taking a lackadaisical approach to the search and missing out on their targets.
If 12 seasons with Reid in charge of the Eagles have shown anything, it is that he is deliberate. So while there is a certain rush to hire a new coordinator, the Eagles are more concerned with making the right decision, the source said.
Allen, 38, has a resume that resembles that of the 36-year-old McDermott when he was promoted into the position two seasons ago. Both are young. Both had never been coordinators before at any level. And when both were secondary coaches their respective pass defenses weren’t especially dominating.
But to compare the two based on their similarities and say Allen would be a bust because McDermott was would be like saying McDermott was going to be a success because Steve Spagnuolo went from linebackers coach to Super Bowl-winning defensive coordinator in his first season.
The Eagles, in fact, may be on the prowl for a success-story like Spagnuolo, who seamlessly went from Eagles linebackers coach to Giants defensive coordinator. Spagnuolo is now with the Rams as their head coach.
This was the front office, after all, that plucked Reid out of Green Bay as a quarterbacks coach when many predicted they would hire either a former head coach or a coordinator. And that decision turned out fairly well.
Mora and Jauron were familiar names with extensive resumes that included head coaching experience. But neither, for the most part, was ever in charge of top-ranked defenses as either a head coach or a coordinator.
In 14 seasons in either role, Jauron had only two defenses ranked in the top ten in either points or yards allowed. Mora, in nine seasons, had just one defense finish ninth in yards.
Jauron, who coached the Eagles defensive backs this past season, was hired as the Browns defensive coordinator on Friday. Mora withdrew his name from consideration, although the interest appeared to be more one-sided than mutual.
So if Jauron and Mora were never serious candidates it is fair to assume that their relatively pedestrian defenses affected their candidacy. And likewise then, it would be fair to presume the Eagles are looking for a coordinator that has coached a top-ranked defense (not an easy find) or an up-and-coming assistant that has coached in a system that routinely churns out solid defenses (a risk).
The Eagles are also committed to staying with a 4-3 defensive scheme, team sources said. That would also seem narrow down the possibilities, but it certainly does not exclude coaches that are presently working with 3-4 defenses.
Mike Trgovac, for instance, works in Green Bay’s 3-4 scheme as their defensive line coach, but as a coordinator with Carolina he ran a 4-3. Even if the Eagles wanted him, the 51-year-old told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal on Friday that he may not be interested in becoming a coordinator at this time.
One Packers assistant without coordinator experience, however, could be worth taking a chance on. Inside linebackers Coach Winston Moss has been with Green Bay since 2006, but worked with the 4-3 before in New Orleans and Seattle. The well-respected 45-year-old is also an assistant head coach to Mike McCarthy and a former NFL linebacker.