Eagles defensive coordinator candidate Ted Monachino talks about the job and defense
NEW ORLEANS - When a Philadelphia reporter identified himself to Ted Monachino during Super Bowl media day, Ravens defensive backs coach Teryl Austin, standing nearby, predicted to his colleague the kind of questions he thought Monachino was about to be asked.
"He's going to ask you about becoming the next defensive coordinator of the Eagles," Austin said.
The Eagles are interested in Monachino, according to NFL sources. But they can't interview or hire Baltimore's linebackers coach until after Sunday's game against the San Francisco 49ers. Still, there are ways around that, and Monachino was asked whether the Eagles had contacted either him or his agent.
"They have not. I'm not fielding any calls right now," Monachino said. "Obviously, we're right in the middle of trying to prepare for a big game. It's flattering to have those things out there, but right now there's no legs to it."
Monachino said he didn't even have an agent.
There's a chance that the Ravens could block the Eagles from hiring Monachino. Even though the 46-year-old has never been a coordinator at the NFL or collegiate level, he is viewed around the league as a coordinator in the making.
"I think we all aspire to that," Monachino said. "I think that at some point in everybody's career, you hope to have those opportunities."
Monachino first made his mark as the defensive line coach at Arizona State. Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs became an all-American defensive end on his watch. After five years at Arizona State, Monachino jumped to the NFL and worked in Jacksonville.
In 2010, he was hired by the Ravens to be their outside-linebackers coach, reuniting him with Suggs. Last offseason he was promoted to linebackers coach, but he said he still primarily works with pass rushers.
Monachino seemed to bristle when he was asked about his experience in designing plays on defense. He said that he has always been a part of developing game plans. He just lacks experience calling plays during games.
Monachino said he has formulated a defensive philosophy, having worked under defensive coordinators such as Chuck Pagano and Dean Pees in Baltimore.
"When you put guys in a position to make plays, they generally do," Monachino said. "When it's things that fit what they do physically, those have been the things that I've been able to glean. Find a role for guys and put them in a position to make those plays."
He has worked with multiple schemes over his career.
Monachino said he has "primarily been a 4-3 guy even though we have spent our last three years in Baltimore. It's a hybrid 3-4 with a lot of 4-3 principles. Defense is defense. We have a feel for both schemes and understand what we know about those schemes."
The other assistant coach at the Super Bowl who has been linked to the Eagles - 49ers defensive backs coach Ed Donatell - said he is well-schooled in the 3-4 scheme.
"I am a 3-4 coach, and that doesn't mean you won't have 4-3 principles," Donatell said. "It depends on the roster."
Donatell said he had not been contacted by the Eagles, either.
Donatell, who was the defensive coordinator in Green Bay and Atlanta, said he wants to return to running a defense.
"Yeah, absolutely. I aspire to do that," he said. "I did it seven years. We averaged 10 wins a year every year I did it. . . . I feel like I'm better than I ever was. I've learned from every experience."
Va. aide on board
The Eagles will hire University of Virginia offensive coordinator Bill Lazor for Chip Kelly's staff, according to multiple reports. Lazor is expected to be Kelly's quarterbacks coach. Virginia confirmed Lazor's departure, although the Eagles have not made any announcement about their coaching staff.
Lazor, 40, was a quarterbacks coach with the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins and also spent time as an offensive assistant with the Atlanta Falcons. His seven seasons as an NFL coach included working under Dan Reeves, Joe Gibbs, and Mike Holmgren.
A Scranton native and Cornell alumnus, Lazor was rumored to be a candidate for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator job last season. He reportedly has been interested in returning to the NFL during his three seasons at Virginia.
The Irish interview
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said he wanted to be informed about the NFL, which is why he interviewed with the Eagles earlier this month.
"I had always been in the college game and really did not have a good grasp of the NFL setup," Kelly said during a Tuesday teleconference, according to Irish Illustrated. "So for me, my head said, 'Let's be more informed as it relates to the NFL.' But my heart is in college football and with Notre Dame."
Kelly said the interview did not distract him leading up to the national championship game, and it allowed him to understand the NFL better.
"The intrigue was more that I wanted that information, so it's easy for me to make a decision on being here in the college game. I love Notre Dame, and I love the college game," Kelly said. "The intrigue was more just finding out about it so it's now easy for me to say no."
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