The Philadelphia Eagles have had some kind of weird connection with the Cleveland Browns for some time. It started when Andy Reid’s old mentor Mike Holmgren became Cleveland’s president, then spread to former Eagles figures Pat Shurmur and Joe Banner joining the Browns. Now after an offseason in which the Eagles and Browns competed for the same coach, Philadelphia is now taking two of Cleveland’s old staff members.
The Eagles reported hired Browns’ linebackers coach Bill Davis as defensive coordinator on Feb. 7, according to NFL.com. This comes after Philadelphia allegedly hired Shurmur as its new offensive coordinator. While that news hasn’t been made official yet, it likely will after Davis is signed and the entire Eagles’ staff is fully formed.
That staff will now be led by two old coaches for the Browns, despite how Cleveland barely won with them in the last two years. This makes it extra puzzling that the Eagles are poaching from the Browns, as their unlikely ties get even closer.
Former Eagles president Joe Banner is now the Browns’ CEO and part of their ownership group. What’s more, Philadelphia and Cleveland briefly fought each other over Chip Kelly, until Kelly seemed set to stay at Oregon. The Browns forgot about him after that, but the Eagles kept coming and got him to join them anyway.
As such, it makes some sense that the Eagles are taking the Browns’ old coaches to round out their staff. However, Cleveland didn’t exactly want Shurmur or Davis anymore, which made it easier for Philadelphia to take them. That might have been cause to give the Eagles pause, but it didn’t deter them.
No one has been winning at Cleveland -- not even Holmgren and Banner despite their lofty resumes. Therefore, just because Shurmur and Davis couldn’t do much for the Browns, it doesn’t mean they won’t make a difference for the Eagles. Yet if they don’t, Philadelphia will have to reassess whether hiring coaches from a perennial doormat was really the right choice.
The 2012 season began when the Eagles narrowly rallied over the Browns on Sept. 9. Fittingly, the 2013 season will begin with the Browns hanging over the Eagles in some way. Can Philadelphia get the best out of Shurmur and Davis in a way that Cleveland didn’t, or did the Browns have the right idea to let them leave?