Defensive line coach Tommy Brasher doesn't know what next season holds for him. As he said Thursday, he doesn't even know what lies beyond today. But right now, he isn't worried about that. All he's worried about helping the Eagles' defensive line reclaim its reputation as one of the most feared units in the NFL. The Eagles were tied for the league lead in sacks last season with 50, but have only 20 this year.
"They had a reputation of getting up the field and going after the quarterback," Brasher said. "(Teams) kept a few more people in (against the Eagles), maybe one guy, and they have a little more solid protection. Then the coverage isn't tight sometimes, so it's been an inconsistency."
Brasher is being asked to take over after the team decided to part ways with former defensive line coach Jim Washburn on Monday. While Brasher is a new face to most of the players in the locker room, calling Brasher a new addition to the Eagles wouldn't be completely accurate. After all, this is Brasher's third tour of duty in Philadelphia.
He first joined the Eagles in 1985 as the defensive line coach under head coach Marion Campbell. Brasher then returned in 1999 as part of head coach Andy Reid's inaugural staff. Brasher coached the line until 2005, when he worked with then-rookies
Since leaving, Brasher has stayed involved as a consultant for the team. After parting ways with Washburn, Reid wasted no time in calling Brasher at his home in Seattle early Monday morning to offer him the job. Brasher was immediately interested in coming back to Philadelphia.
"I agreed to come back because I'm a coach, first of all," Brasher said. "Andy wanted my help, so whatever Andy wants, I'll give Andy whatever.
"I told Andy I'd have to talk it over with my wife, but I really didn't because she's been a coach's wife for 51 years. She's one of the best."
So Brasher packed his bags and flew across the country to come coach for the Eagles. Upon arrival, he called all of his new players and met with them one by one. Wednesday was their first day of practice together, and they'll have only a few more days of practice before the team flies to Tampa Bay on Saturday for Sunday's showdown. It's a transition for everyone involved.
"I can say it's kind of like riding a bike, but there is a groove that you get, day after day, week after week, year after year that I had lost," Brasher said. "But it's kind of like re-conditioning an athlete."
That re-conditioning period should be made easier by the players Brasher is working with. Four players were selected in either the first or second round, and the group is led by Cole, a two-time Pro Bowl selection. Brasher has been watching film on these players throughout their careers, so he knows the kind of talent he's working with.
"They're an energetic group; talented group. I think over time they can be something special," he said. "I think there's a lot of room to improve, but I'm the kind of guy who thinks everyone can improve. I don't care how long they've been playing. I don't think the improving process and the developmental process ever ends."
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