Connecting Segrest firing to personnel decisions

After two years, the Eagles and defensive line coach Rory Segrest have parted ways. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

After back-to-back losses to the Cowboys a year ago, the Eagles made their offseason philosophy clear.

They would revamp their defensive line and count on their pass rush to mask weaknesses in the secondary.

That's the first thing I thought of when I heard the news today that defensive line coach Rory Segrest had been fired.

Because after the 2010 season, it doesn't seem like that offseason philosophy worked out very well.

Prior to the 2010 draft (as we've talked about many times in this space), the Eagles let Jason Babin sign with the Titans and dealt Chris Clemons and a pick to the Seahawks for Darryl Tapp.

In the past four months, those moves have been (fairly) questioned time and again. Babin piled up 12.5 sacks in his first season in Tennessee, and Clemons had 11 with Seattle.

Trent Cole led the Eagles with 10 sacks, and Juqua Parker was second with six.

The question that's tough to answer is: Why didn't Babin and Clemons have similar success with the Eagles? Maybe it had something to do with the system. Maybe it had more to do with the coaching. Or perhaps it's as simple as Babin and Clemons just played better in 2010.

But whatever the reason was, the Eagles look bad - all the way from the personnel department to the coaching staff. At one point, they saw enough in Babin and Clemons to bring them in. But neither was an impact player here.

Meanwhile, the non-existent pass rush from the front four was a major issue down the stretch as the Eagles lost to the Viking sin Week 16 and came up short against Green Bay in the wild-card round.

The 2010 draft also followed a similar theme. In Howie Roseman's first draft as general manager, the Birds spent two of their first three picks on pass rushers - trading up to pick Brandon Graham in the first round and selecting Daniel Te'o-Nesheim in the third.

After an impressive training camp, Graham had eight hurries and two sacks in the season's first five games. He had five hurries and one sack the rest of the way before tearing his ACL against the Cowboys in Week 14. I still think he showed good potential, but it could be difficult for him to make a real impact until 2012, depending on how quickly he recovers from the knee injury.

Te'o-Nesheim was active for seven games - including the playoff loss to the Packers - and is a complete unknown after his rookie season.

As for Tapp, I thought he actually had a solid second half and showed improvement. Still, his production will be compared to Clemons', and with three sacks and 10 hurries, it certainly didn't match up in 2010.

The defensive line is the one area of the defense where the Eagles have some talent. In their rotation, the Birds have three first-round picks (Graham, Mike Patterson and Brodrick Bunkley), two second-round picks (Tapp and Trevor Laws), a third-rounder (Te'o-Nesheim) and a Pro Bowler (Cole).

Yet the Eagles (rightfully) made the decision that the production they got in 2010 didn't match the talent. Maximizing that talent will be the primary focus of whoever replaces Segrest, and also whoever replaces Sean McDermott.

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