The Philadelphia Eagles have spent the last month putting together a new coaching staff. The last piece of the puzzle for the Eagles was for defensive coordinator, with speculation centering on two coaches that just appeared in the Super Bowl. Yet instead of hiring San Francisco’s Ed Donatell or Baltimore’s Ted Monachino, Philadelphia is poaching another coach from Cleveland.
According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport on Feb. 7, the Eagles have hired Cleveland Browns’ linebacker coach Billy Davis to run their defense. Yet unlike Donatell and Monachino, Davis was actually interviewed for the job before the Super Bowl.
In addition, the Eagles made a run at Georgia Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, yet he was busy concentrating on college football’s National Signing Day. Therefore, that left Davis as the best option for Philadelphia, or at least the most readily available.
The Eagles had most of Chip Kelly’s new staff in place beforehand, although nothing was made official yet. But all indications are that Pat Shurmur will also lead the staff as the new offensive coordinator. Weeks ago, Shurmur was the head coach of the Browns while Davis was working under him, but now they will be reunited -- albeit with Davis getting promoted as Shurmur gets demoted.
Davis comes from the lowly Browns and was the defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals for just two years each. That kind of resume may make Eagles fans scratch their heads at this decision, especially since Donatell and Monachino just went to the Super Bowl.
Philadelphia’s coaching staff is now led by a college coach who’s never been to the NFL, and by two coordinators who couldn’t win in Cleveland. In that context, things don’t look that promising for the Eagles going into their new era.
Still, Kelly has enough hype on his side to get some leeway at the start, but he’ll need a legitimate quarterback to make his offensive schemes soar. Shurmur only won nine games in two years leading the Browns, but he spent years on Andy Reid’s old Philadelphia staff. Davis is unheralded, but he has experience running the kind of 3-4 defensive scheme the Eagles want to implement next season.
There is high risk in trusting the Eagles to this collection of coaches. However, Philadelphia seems to trust that it will bring high reward as well.