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WANTED: Defensive Coordinator

WANTED: Defensive Coordinator

Green Bay's Tramon Williams intercepts pass intended for Eagles Riley Cooper

Two weeks ago, the Eagles 2010 season was over, thanks to a loss at the hands of the Green Bay Packers. Those same Packers will now represent the NFC in Super Bowl XLV. Meanwhile the Eagles have been busily reworking their coaching staff.

Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermott was first to go, followed quickly by defensive line coach Rory Segrest. McDermott quickly found a new home in Carolina with former Eagles coach Ron Rivera, now head coach of the Panthers.

Mike Holmgren continues to rebuild the Cleveland Browns

Dick Jauron was named as Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator. Jauron is a well respected 60-year-old veteran coach, who spent last season as Philadelphia’s secondary coach.

Pat Shurmur is head coach in Cleveland

Browns new head coach Pat Shurmur (another Reid disciple) indicated Jauron was his top choice for the job. Jauron and Shurmur have known each other for years. Jauron played and coached with Shurmur’s uncle, Fritz, in Green Bay. Jauron has previous experience as a coordinator and he was head coach in Buffalo (2006-2009) and Chicago (199-2003), posting a 60-82 record. Jauron also has ties to Browns president Mike Holmgren, working as Green Bay defensive backs coach. Under Jauron, the Eagles secondary had 23 interceptions last season, third best in the NFC. Cornerback Asante Samuel had seven picks and made the Pro Bowl.

Bill Shuey

Linebackers coach Bill Shuey, who’s been with the Eagles since 2001 and served as linebackers coach the last three years, will not have his contract renewed. Unlike defensive coordinator Sean McDermott and defensive line coach Rory Segrest, who had time remaining on their contracts and were fired, Shuey simply will not have his contract renewed. The story was first reported by and has been confirmed by several reliable sources.

Rory Segrest

Shuey was working for the Eagles during Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, Ala at the time this story broke, indicating that he had no idea the news was coming. The news did not come from Andy Reid, who has been media silent since the Eagles playoff departure. At that time, Reid had been supportive of the notion of retaining the services of both McDermott and Jauron.

Shuey joined the Eagles in 2001 as an entry-level assistant to the head coach and spent the next six years as a quality-control coach, the first five on offense and the last one on defense. When Eagles defensive backs coach John Harbaugh left after the 2007 season to become head coach of the Ravens, McDermott switched from linebackers to secondary and Shuey was promoted to linebackers coach, and he held that job the last three seasons. Shuey grew up in Bethlehem, home of Lehigh University, where the Eagles hold their training camp. In 1999 and 2000, while still working as a teacher and football coach at Pennridge High School in nearby Perkasie, he worked as a coaching intern during training camp.

Dennis Allen is now DC in Denver

Dean Pees will stay in Baltimore

Team braintrust has their target in mind but aren’t letting it slip anytime soon! External candidates for the Eagles Defensive Coordinator position consisted of names like Saints secondary coach Dennis Allen, Baltimore Ravens linebackers coach Dean Pees and former head coach Jim Mora, Jr. but none of those were serious candidates. Call it due dilligence or a smoke screen, the team knows who it wants.

Jim Mora, Jr.

Allen, the only candidate the Eagles publicy interviewed for their defensive coordinator job, has accepted the same position with the Denver Broncos. Allen began his NFL coaching career with the Falcons, including a stint under Mora, who never interviewed for the Eagles vacancy. Another name bandied about was deposed

Bill Davis was never really considered

Arizona Cardinals 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. That’s abyssmal. Former Eagles assistant coach John Harbaugh cleared up conflicting reports


regarding Pees -indicating that he would not grant the Eagles permission to approach his staff. During this tumult, the Eagles very swiftly land former Titans defensive line coach Jim Washburn (, a veteran coach in NFL, NCAA, WLAF/NFL Europe and Arena League (

Jim Washburn will coach defensive line for Eagles

Does this mean that in merely two weeks the Eagles have exhausted their list of candidates? Well… maybe they’ve depleted candidates that we know of… publicly.  There is an NFL rule that you cannot approach sitting NFL coaches about a new position until their current season has been completed. As far as we know,  Philadelphia had not formally asked permission to interview anybody on the staff of the Chicago Bears or New York Jets, the two teams that lost in the conference championship games on Sunday. Curiouser and curiouser…

Mike Pettine NY Jets


Candidates like Bears linebackers coach Bob Babich and Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, (who doesn’t have a chance to totally run a defense under Jets head coach Rex Ryan) or Jets secondary coach Dennis Thurman are now available for interviews with permission from their current teams. No announcements of scheduled interviews have been made and none are likely until after the Senior Bowl.

Trgovac can't be approached until after the Super Bowl...if he even wants the job

If the Eagles’ top choice or choices are with the Steelers or Packers, such as Packers defensive line coach Mike Trgovac ( or Steelers defensive backs coach Ray Horton or linebackers coach Keith Butler, the Eagles would not be allowed to interview them until after the Super Bowl, which is still 12 days away. 

Head coach Andy Reid has not spoken publicly since the day after the Eagles’ season ended with a loss to the Packers in a wild-card game. He has not addressed McDermott’s dismissal, the firing of defensive line coach Rory Segrest, the hiring of his replacement, veteran Jim Washburn, or the team’s ongoing search for his third defensive coordinator in the last four years. Andy Reid’s massive overhaul of his defensive coaching staff has occurred seemingly without comment from Andy Reid.

With these three departures, Reid for the moment has just three defensive coaches on his staff — former players Mike Zordich and Mike Caldwell and recently hired defensive line coach Jim Washburn. Although their futures are unknown, the Eagles currently list Zordich as a “defensive quality control coach” and Caldwell as “assistant linebackers coach” but it is assumed that neither could return in 2011. 

The Eagles went 10-6 this year and won the NFC East with the No. 12 defense in the NFL in terms of yards allowed, but they allowed a franchise-record 31 passing touchdowns, plus three more in the playoff loss to the Packers.

Jeremiah Trotter

The Eagles have had just one Pro Bowl linebacker in the last decade — Jeremiah Trotter, a Ray Rhodes draft pick. In three seasons with Shuey as their position coach, Eagles linebackers generated a total of 14 sacks and 4 INTin 48 regular-season games.  Under Jauron, the Eagles secondary had 23 interceptions last season, third best in the NFC. Cornerback Asante Samuel had seven picks and made the Pro Bowl.

There was no comment or statement on the team cutting ties with Shuey. Reid was not at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., on Monday, and although there’s still a chance he could join his remaining assistants and GM Howie Roseman in Mobile, he’s not currently scheduled to make the trip.

So add it up. Andy Reid (or Joe Banner/Howie Roseman) decided a complete defensive overhaul was needed for the coaching staff. All remnants of Jim Johnson disciples have moved on to become head coaches or coordinators elsewhere. Washburn, an old-school defensive line technician with no desire to become a coordinator is firmly in place. It’s difficult to imagine the Eagles would follow up the hiring of a defensive line coach with the hiring of … another defensive line coach.

Mike Trgovac, a line coach here in Philly under Ray Rhodes and the Packers’ line coach the last two years, made perfect sense as a top candidate for defensive coordinator – until Washburn came aboard. Coordinators spend a good portion of their time working with their position of trade, it wouldn’t make sense to hire a second line specialist while leaving the secondary and linebacker spots manned only by position coaches.

Think about the people the Eagles have been known to be at least somewhat interested in so far. The one person they’ve actually interviewed is Dennis Allen, who had been the Saints’ secondary coach and took the Defensive coordinator job in Denver – under John Fox, former Carolina head coach and Giants defensive coordinator. This indicates Allen was not ready to be defensive coordinator in practice, merely in name (a la Sean McDermott in Philly and Carolina) not unlike Mike Trgovac under Dom Capers in Green Bay.

The Eagles had contacted Jim Mora Jr., who came up as a secondary coach with the Chargers, Saints and 49ers before getting his first coordinator job with the 49ers in 1999. Even Dick Jauron, who apparently was never much of a serious candidate for the Eagles, has been a secondary coach.

Does this mean the focus is secondary coach or possibly linebackers coach? The Eagles have one of each currently on the coaching roster – former Eagles Mike Caldwell and Mike Zordich. Even if they are retained, they’re young coaches just starting out in the NFL. With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the top candidates that might be on the Eagles’ radar 12 days after McDermott’s dismissal and 10 days before the Super Bowl, after which guys currently on the Steelers and Packers staffs will finally become available for interviews.

Todd Bowles
Bowles was a hard-hitting safety at Temple in the mid-1980s. He went on to an eight-year NFL career with the Redskins and 49ers and after retiring, went to work on the player personnel side with the Packers. He coached at a couple colleges before serving as secondary coach with the Jets (2000), Browns (2001-04), Cowboys (2005-07) and Dolphins (2008-10).

Eagles connection: Bowles worked for the Packers under Mike Holmgren in 1995 and 1996 while Reid was on Holmgren’s staff.

Tim Hauck
Need somebody to teach a defense to be physical? Hauck just finished his second year coaching defensive backs with the Titans, where he shared a meeting room with Washburn. After retiring following a 13-year NFL career, Hauck coached for four years at his alma mater, Montana.
Eagles connection: Hauck spent the 1999 through 2001 seasons with the Eagles and became one of the most popular defensive players of the past decade because of his huge hits and reckless disregard for his body. Also Washburn is a connection but promoting him to coordinator might be a stretch.

Ray Horton
Horton is in his seventh year with the Super Bowl-bound Steelers (under Hall of Famer Dick LeBeau) and fourth year as secondary coach. He played in two Super Bowls during his 10-year NFL career and is about to coach in his third.

Eagles connection: Horton was secondary coach on head coach and current Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s Detroit Lions staff in 2002.

Winston Moss
The Packers’ linebacker coach was the only defensive coach retained by Mike McCarthy after the 2008 season, and now carries the assistant head coach tag plus coaching linebackers for McCarthy. Moss played 11 NFL seasons with the Buccaneers, Raiders and Seahawks and coached with the Seahawks and Saints before heading to Green Bay in 2006.

Eagles connection: Moss played with the legendary Jerome Brown at Miami and the slightly less legendary Ron Heller in Tampa.

Darren Perry
One-time Penn State DB is finishing his second year as the Packers’ defensive backs coach – having coached with the Bengals, Raiders and Steelers. Perry  experienced an outstanding 10-year playing career.

Eagles connection: In 2007 and 2008, Perry was Nnamdi Asomugha’s position coach with the Raiders, and we all know Nnamdi is about to sign with the Eagles any minute now, CBA or not! Right? Right?

Dennis Thurman
Thurman spent most of his nine-year NFL career with the Cowboys, coached with Rex Ryan with the Ravens before accompanying him to New York as Ryan became  head coach. Thurman is currently Ryan’s defensive backs coach. With both the Ravens and Jets, he led secondary units that were perennially ranked among the best in the NFL.

Eagles connection: Last time the Eagles brought in a defensive coordinator who was a former USC safety it worked pretty well – that was Jeff Fisher 22 years ago. Thurman and Fisher were teammates for one year at USC and just like Fisher coached under Buddy Ryan, Thurman has coached under Rex Ryan.

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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 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

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In response to “WANTED: Defensive Coordinator”

  1. James Centifonti Jan 25 20116:53 pm


    I would suggest myself just based on the fact could I really do any worse?

    It’d be nice to know some names but whoever it is has to fit the 4-3 system and make whatever style they bring would with the players currently here.

    1. Christopher Rowe Jan 25 20117:59 pm


      That’s it James, you’ve got the job!

    2. Christopher Rowe Jan 26 201112:48 am


      Actually in total seriousness… Trgovac fits the system, has been in this system for years and has some nice coaching credentials (Familiar Names for Defensive Coordinator 1/182011) … if you discount coaching with Ray Rhodes of course…

      1. James Centifonti Jan 26 20118:59 am


        Trgovac does but it’s been said by him that his daugther will be going into her senior year of high school and he may not move his family again till she completes high school.

        I have long wanted this team to switch to the a 3-4 scheme but with the likely hood of no free agency that won’t happen. Some names off the top of my head that could be considered but probably won’t Al Grogh (Georgia Tech DC), Herm Edwards, or Eric Mangini (not a 4-3 guy though)

        It’s not easy to think of names when a 3rd of the league runs a 3-4 and those who don’t you probably wouldn’t be looking to take any coach they have away from that team.

        1. Christopher Rowe Jan 26 201112:44 pm


          350% agree. We can’t stick two decent LB together and playing a 3-4 means we need four starters plus backups. Jim Johnson used to talk about the possibility of switching (as NFL defenses are evolving because it affords more options in the zone blitz and pass coverage… but you have to have the talent. As you say, with potentially no or limited free agency and the dearth of solid LB around the league, that might be a stretch. However, Green Bay and Pittsburgh don’t seem to have a lack of quality LB and they’re in the Super Bowl.

          As fo Herm and Groh and Man-genius… interesting choices. I love Herm (“You Play to Win the Game”… or “If I tell you it’s Easter you better look for eggs”) but I’m not sure he will coach again. As for Groh and Mangini… both left their last NFL jobs with bad taste in their mouths.

          1. James Centifonti Jan 26 20112:08 pm

            i am in the minority but I think if we got a decent NT we have the players run a 3 – 4 now just lack the backups.

            you could move bunkley and patterson or even laws to ends for now dixon in the middle. bradley and chaney in the middle with foku on the outside and cole as the blitzing backer (sorta james harrison like)

            it might be crazy or maybe it’s just me but i believe it could work.

            those are just names but if one thinks they are considering a coach on the packers or steelers well they run the 3 – 4 or versions of it. some of their coaches may have some time in a 4 – 3 but i’d be left to believe they mainly are involved in the 3 – 4 scheme.

  2. greg Jan 26 20114:59 pm


    Pees would have been good. David would have been a disaster. Waiting for Trgovic might not be good if he doesn’t want to come here. Seems like Horton, Moss or Hauck are all good options. Surprised there isn’t more interest in Pettine or Babych. Gotta pick one of these guys. If they haven’t approached anyone new they must be waiting for Packers or Steelers assistants

  3. Christopher Rowe Jan 27 20119:42 pm


    Did I hear that they really are talking to Jeff Fisher?

    1. James Centifonti Jan 28 20117:11 am


      A few articles this morning say they won’t be adding Fisher and that they are intent on talking to people currently on the Packers and Steelers staffs respectively.

  4. James Centifonti Jan 29 20112:39 pm


    If it is true that Reid and company are waiting to speak with member of the Steelers and Packers coaching staffs I can’t but think they may try to make the switch to the 3 – 4.

    Maybe not right away but maybe even at points during the season just to break it is slowly and see what they have that they will end up keeping while making the rough transition.

  5. Christopher Rowe Jan 30 20115:12 pm


    Well we now know that they can’t talk to the top candidate until after the Super Bowl. Would it surprise fans to know that 3 or coaches on the Super Bowl staffs are in the Top 5?

  6. Christopher Rowe Jan 23 20122:15 am


    Bowles was a hard-hitting safety at Temple in the mid-1980s. He went on to an eight-year NFL career with the Redskins and 49ers and after retiring, went to work on the player personnel side with the Packers. He coached at a couple colleges before serving as secondary coach with the Jets (2000), Browns (2001-04), Cowboys (2005-07) and Dolphins (2008-10).

    Eagles connection: Bowles worked for the Packers under Mike Holmgren in 1995 and 1996 while Andy Reid (QB Coach) was on Holmgren’s staff.

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