What about the name Mike Trgovac? Doesn’t ring a bell? It should because he has ties to Philadelphia! As the Eagles continue their search for a new defensive coordinator, Trgovac (pronounced TER-guh-vack) could be a surreptitious candidate for the position. In the meantime, Trgovac is in Green Bay, deep in preparation for the Packers’ NFC Championship Game against the Bears in Chicago Sunday. Other names have been mentioned but not confirmed.
Trgovac could be an intriguing candidate to replace Sean McDermott, fired Saturday after two seasons as the Eagles’ defensive coordinator and now in the same position under former Eagles colleague Ron Rivera, the new Head Coach for the Carolina Panthers.
Trgovac is in his second year coaching linebackers with the Packers after six years as the Panthers’ defensive coordinator under John Fox – whose dismissal paved the way for Rivera and led to the hiring of McDermott in Carolina. NFL coaching is really an incestuous business is it not?
During Trgovac’s six years running Fox’s defense, the Panthers were ranked 10th or higher in points allowed three times and never lower than 15th. During that span, the Panthers went 56-40, reached the playoffs three times and the Super Bowl once, losing to the Patriots in 2003 in Houston after beating the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game.
With highly regarded Dom Capers firmly entrenched as the Packers’ defensive coordinator, there is no room for Trgovac to move up in Green Bay, unless Capers (formerly a head coach in Carolina and Houston) leaves for another head coaching job. All of this year’s head coaching openings have been filled, so Capers and Trgovac would have to wait at least a year for that promotion.
Trgovac has strong ties to Philadelphia. He was Ray Rhodes’ defensive line coach all four years of Rhodes’ tenure (1995-1998), and has a relationship with both owner Jeff Lurie and team president Joe Banner. Under Trgovac William Fuller and Andy Harmon both recorded double-digit sacks in 1995, the last time for an Eagles tandem. Fuller in 1995 & 1996 is also the most recent Eagle with 13 or more sacks in consecutive seasons. Hugh Douglas enjoyed a 12 1/2-sack season his only healthy year under Trgovac.
“Turgo’s a real good coach,” Hugh Douglas said Tuesday in an interview. “He was a good defensive line coach, understands schemes, just a real good football guy. He’d be a great choice.” Trgovac is a classic 4-3 coach, which fulfills one of Andy Reid’s requirements for McDermott’s replacement. He also fulfills Reid’s requirement that the replacement for the 36-year-old McDermott be a veteran coach and not a young, up-and-coming candidate who requires on-the-job training.
Trgovac, 51, played under legendary Bo Schembechler at Michigan and coached under Earl Bruce at Ohio State and Lou Holtz at Notre Dame before joining Rhodes’ staff in 1995. He spent 1999 coaching the defensive line under Rhodes in Green Bay before stints as a position coach with the Redskins and Panthers. Trgovac obtained his first coordinator job in Carolina in 2003 where he remained until he voluntarily left Carolina after the 2008 season.
The Eagles would not be allowed to interview Trgovac until after the Super Bowl unless the Packers lose Sunday. Although NFL teams can interview head coaching candidates during the down week following the conference championship games, they can’t interview candidates for lower coaching jobs. That could be one of the reasons the Eagles seem to be in no hurry to fill McDermott’s spot right now.
Meanwhile, Dick Jauron, who spent the past season on Reid’s Eagles staff as a senior defensive assistant and secondary coach, was in Cleveland Tuesday meeting with new Browns head coach Pat Shurmer (Reid’s QB coach from 1999 through 2008) and General Manager Mike Holmgren – who Reid coached under in Green Bay – as the Browns try to fill their own defensive coordinator vacancy.
An NFL source close to the situation indicates Jauron has assured Reid that if he gets an offer from the Browns (or any other team), he will discuss the situation with Reid before accepting. So it appears that the Eagles will at least have an opportunity to match Jauron’s offer from the Browns or give him a counter-offer. Recently fired Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt, the former Bears and Dolphins head coach, is also interviewing with the Browns.
The Eagles’ other serious candidate so far? Former Falcons and Seahawks coach Jim Mora Jr., who coached with Marty Mornhinweg (current Eagles offensive coordinator who had been rumored to take the Cleveland job) under Steve Mariucci in San Francisco and was Michael Vick’s second head coach in Atlanta. Mora has been in Denver meeting with Fox and the Broncos about their defensive coordinator opening. According to a report Tuesday night on The Denver Post’s Web site, Mora is close to accepting the position.
The only other known candidates for the Eagles is deposed Arizona Cardinals coach Bill Davis, who has been a defensive coordinator for four years – two years with the 49ers and two years with the Cards – and coached units ranked 30th or worse three times. Rumors have abounded regarding names such as Mike Singlertary (interviewing for Minnesota linebackers coach) or Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher (former Eagles defensive assistant under Buddy Ryan) but are completely untrue.
Ravens head coach (and former Eagles assistant) John Harbaugh cleared up conflicting reports on whether linebackers coach Dean Pees is a candidate for the Philadelaphia Eagles’ defensive coordinator position.
“No, he’s not interviewing with the Eagles,” Harbaugh said. Asked if other coaches might be leaving, he said. “I don’t really want to say definitely because guys could get calls from other teams. So, you never know about tomorrow.”
Saints defensive backs coach Dennis Allen has been granted permission to talk with both the Philadelphia Eagles and Denver Broncos for their vacant defensive coordinator positions. Allen has been with New Orleans as an assistant for the last six years under Greg Williams. Allen spent the past three seasons coaching the team’s defensive backs after serving as an assistant defensive line coach the previous three seasons. He also had a four-year stint as an assistant in Atlanta.
About the Author
Written by Christopher Rowe
Contributing writer Comcast Sports, NY Times contributing stringer 1996-2000, Contributing writer Yahoo Sports (2001 World Series). Contributing writer Newsday Long Island (1992-1994, Jets Training Camp) and Newak Star Ledger. Freelance Copywriter, Editor/Founder Atlantic Times Weekly (1993-2003) fantasy football magazine, produced screenwriter and general humorist. Hofstra University grad, Marist College honorary alum, Salesian; Purveyor of the Value and Valor of Philadelphia Eagles 1960 NFL Championship; Adrent believer that Eagles could have won Super Bowl XV...and Super Bowl XXXIX...plus modern decade of Eagles 5 NFC Championships... Believer in the Broad Street Bullies and the 1983 Sixers... Witness to Philadelphia Phillies World Series championships 1980 & 2008, Suffered Phillies first pro sports team to reach 10,000 losses,witnessed "1980 Cardiac Kids," 1983 "Wheeze Kids," 1993 "Macho Row" and many, many, many not-so-memorable seasons in-between... until the Philadelphia Baseball Renaissance of 21st Century, Five NL East division titles 2007-2011, 3 NLCS appearances 2008-2010, 2 consecutive World Series berths 2008 & 2009. 2008 World Champions of baseball [miss ya Harry and Richie]; "collector" of MLB ballparks (42 stadiums including 15 which are gone); Fantasy Football & Baseball player since 1992. Always a sports fan... Tenui Nec Dimittam Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org