WHILE Defensive Coordinator Bill Davis hasn’t been fired yet, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where he gets to return for the 2016 season. For that reason I’m as giddy as a kid on Christmas Eve. I’m generally the last person to advocate for anybody getting fired, but we can’t get any better as long as he’s hanging around here. Every year we’re a joke versus the pass, and many fans (as is common with sports) blame the players.
Last year I made it a point to say that our Cornerbacks weren’t the problem and that the real problem was our defensive scheme, which I mentioned last November, and even Brian Dawkins took issue with it a month later. I specifically pointed out our flawed cover coverage concept. I said our pass defense problems would persist until the defensive scheme was changed. Many disagreed and clamored for a new Secondary.
Lo and behold fans got what they wanted. If you were one of the fans screaming for a new Secondary, congratulations. How did that work out for you? What did I tell you would happen? The Eagles even went so far as to overspend on the top Free Agent on the market in CB Byron Maxwell. They were aggressive and didn’t cheap out. There were about a million and five things wrong with that signing. I even went so far as to point out some of what they were.
Side question: Who leases a shiny, new, 12 mil a year CB, and then uses a rookie back-up to cover WR Calvin Johnson with no Safety help? Answer: Someone who should be fired.
If Davis is fired we’ll need a replacement. QUICK! Of all of the assistants on this staff who would you like to see take over for him? (Cue the sound of crickets). And other ideas? Please don’t say Brian Dawkins. I love the guy but he hasn’t even been a position coach yet. Asking him to come off the street and put together a defensive scheme and game plans that worked, is to set him up for failure.
And please, no one say Rob Ryan. I’m so sick of hearing his name. He’s been awful everywhere he’s gone. If he wasn’t Buddy’s son and Rex’s brother, he’d be one more fat guy buying two buckets of KFC while saying “It’s not as good as it used to be when it was Kentucky Fried Chicken. Hey, you remember Gino’s?” So please don’t mention him.
If Chip Kelly were to be fired, I don’t really know who I’d want to replace him yet, but I already have a short list of people who I’d like to see replace Davis. You’ve likely never heard of any of them before and that’s part of the point. These are guys hungry to prove that they’re ready for the job. There’s also no book on their tendencies that would help opponents early on.
If say…Rob Ryan, came here, you already know it’s a 3-4 with a blindside rush LB, a NT that plays over the Center, and multiple ineffective coverage looks. The NFL would have to learn a new guy just as he’d have to learn the NFL. If you get a position coach already in the league, he has several legs up on any collegiate coach that we could bring in, and so the NFL is where I focused my search. Here’s my short list:
Kris Kocurek: Currently the Defensive Line coach for the Detroit Lions. He has a knack for getting production from young players, which hints at him being able to motivate people on their lown evels. It would be nice to have a coordinator who could also develop players we draft instead of wasting pick after pick like we’ve been doing.
Bryan Cox: Currently coaches the Defensive Line for the Atlanta Falcons. He also coached the front seven for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’s a former player, who brought his lunch pail and intensity on Sundays. That doesn’t always make for a good coach, but Cox seems to have made the transition. The positions he coaches tend to be solid but not flashy. It would be interesting to see what a whole defense coached with that solid, intense, hard-nosed attitude would look like.
Adam Zimmer: Currently the Linebackers coach for the Minnesota Vikings, over his 9 year career he’s had success both working with and without his father (famed DC now Vikings HC Mike Zimmer). While he’s never held the reigns as a DC, he may be itching to be more than a position coach, and has a GREAT brain to pick for advice.
Andre Patterson: Currently the Defensive Line coach for the Minnesota Vikings, he has plenty of NFL coaching experience but none as a coordinator. He’s been collegiate DC, and twice he was a collegiate Assistant Head Coach. Having coached at the high school, college and NFL level, he’s yet another candidate that has shown that he knows how to get young players to produce early.
These guys also have one very important thing in common (as far as I’m concerned). They all come out of 4-3 systems. While the 3-4 is faster and more flexible, it’s also less stable and easier to exploit. There is no point in shipping out Davis for a less good version of the same thing. I’m no Kelly fan, but I think with a 4-3 defense this is a team that has a shot at winning playoff games. A 3-4 serves as a poor counterbalance for the offensive system we run.
Time to make a change.