Saturday, February 13, 2016

Did Eagles make right call on McDermott?

The Eagles have fired defensive coordinator Sean McDermott.

Did Eagles make right call on McDermott?

The Eagles have reportedly fired defensive coordinator Sean McDermott. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)
The Eagles have reportedly fired defensive coordinator Sean McDermott. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

The Eagles have fired defensive coordinator Sean McDermott.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen was the first to report the news.

The Inquirer's Jeff McLane confirmed the report on Birds' Eye View.

On Monday, Andy Reid said McDermott would be back.

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"Well I would tell you you're dealing with a guy that's a tremendous worker and is a very smart individual," Reid said. "And so I look at it a little bit different than what you do in that I've seen him work with young guys, I've seen him work through injuries, I've seen him stay positive through those situations and still put us in a position to win football games and knowing that he's going to do nothing but improve as a coach, just like all of us, with experience. And so, I have a lot of respect for him and the way that he does business."

So much for that, huh?

McDermott took over for Jim Johnson before the 2009 season. The Eagles finished 12th in the league in yards allowed (327.2) last season and 21st in scoring defense (23.6 PPG).

The team also allowed 31 passing touchdowns - tied for third-worst in the league and had a historically bad red-zone defense.

In 2009, the Eagles finished 12th in total defense (321.1 YPG) and 19th in scoring (21.1)

The news comes a day after reports surfaced that the Browns had been granted permission to interview Eagles defensive backs coach Dick Jauron. It would make sense for the Eagles to look at Jauron as one of the candidates to replace McDermott. Then again, the unit he coached (the defensive backs), did not exactly exceed expectations in 2010.

The question all season had been: Was McDermott the problem? Or was it personnel? Now we know what Reid's answer is to that question.

But it's fair to question whether McDermott is the fall guy here for a team that failed to win a playoff game in two seasons. It's also worth noting that the Eagles scored 14 and 16 points, respectively, in their postseason losses the last two seasons. Against Green Bay, one of two touchdowns the Eagles scored came after the defense created a turnover that gave Michael Vick and company the ball at the Packers' 24 yard line.

As for personnel, seven of 11 defensive starters in the Eagles' playoff game were either seventh-round picks or undrafted free agents (Juqua Parker, Antonio Dixon, Moise Fokou, Jamar Chaney, Kurt Coleman, Quintin Mikell and Dimitri Patterson).

I'm going to do a little more research on this for a post Sunday, but drafting on the defensive side of the ball has been largely responsible for the lack of talent on the field.

Many of you hit me up on Twitter with questions as soon as the news was made public. Let me try to answer a couple of them here.

Q: Should the Eagles switch to a 3-4?

A: I know a lot of people want the Birds to go this route, but I'm not sure it makes sense, given the current personnel. The linebackers are probably the weakest part of this defense. And now you want to put more of them on the field? I'd have to check the Eagles' success with zone blitzes this season, but overall, they did not seem to yield very good results. Taking away chances for Trent Cole to get after the quarterback never made sense to me. That being said, the defensive system probably depends entirely on who the new coordinator is and how they turn over personnel in the offseason.

Q: Is Rob Ryan an option?

A: This would be a GREAT PR move, but it seems unlikely. Ryan, Buddy's son, recently interviewed with the Cowboys, and according to the Fort Werth Star-Telegram, the two sides have begun contract talks. Replacing McDermott with Ryan would be the most popular choice among fans, but I don't see it happening.

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About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at or by clicking here

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