Philadelphia Eagles News

Ex-Eagles Provide Different Voice For Defense

There are some players who have no interest whatsoever in coaching. One of them is cornerback Ellis Hobbs, who ruled out coaching as a profession due to the hours, lifestyle and time away from the family.

"Happy wife, happy life," Hobbs said.

Then, you have guys like Mike Caldwell and Michael Zordich. Both of them played in Philadelphia, Caldwell during head coach Andy Reid's tenure. Both had long, successful NFL careers. But they yearned to still be a part of the action.

Caldwell and Zordich began their pro coaching careers as interns with the Eagles from which they became quality control coaches. A few weeks ago, they were both promoted to position coaching assignments - Caldwell is now in charge of the linebackers and Zordich oversees the secondary/safeties.

They are not the first to cross this bridge in Philadelphia. Back in 1999, on Reid's first staff, Leslie Frazier began his pro coaching career as a defensive backs coach. Frazier was a cornerback who won a Super Bowl with the Chicago Bears. In January, Frazier was named the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings after serving as the interim coach for the final six games of the 2010 season.

It is one thing to have been a successful player in the NFL, but that doesn't automatically mean a good player will be a good coach. But Caldwell and Zordich showed enough to Reid to earn their new titles.

"I think our playing experiences certainly can relate to what (the players) are doing," Zordich said. "We've walked these halls, we've been in these seats and we've been in those uniforms and we both played a pretty long time. I think that experience alone with help us relate to them and we've been working with them for the last two, three years and we have pretty good relationships with everybody."

One of the young safeties Zordich helped mentor in 2010 was Kurt Coleman. A seventh-round pick out of Ohio State, Coleman was thrust into the starting lineup at the end of the season after Nate Allen, another rookie, suffered a season-ending knee injury. Coleman said that early in the season during games he would stand next to Zordich on the sidelines as the former pro was able to effectively communicate what was happening on the field.

"He knows how players think, how players react to things. You can relate to that a lot more and get a lot more out of your players when you're able to do that," Coleman said. "I think he was destined to be one of our coaches. He played in our system. He knows what it takes to win. He's a great coach and a great person. He's very passionate about what he does and the players."

Caldwell was also able to exhibit that same type of teaching ability. Like Zordich, Caldwell also helped a seventh-round pick in Jamar Chaney become the starter on defense at the end of the 2010 season. In fact, two of the three starters at linebacker were seventh-round picks. The other, Moise Fokou, said that Caldwell's playing experience helped him earn the respect of the players in the meeting room.

"He's been here. He understands what we're going through ... The rest of the guys on the team definitely respect him, all the linebacking corps loved him," Fokou said. "I learned little things from how to use my hands to how to get off blocks and how to drop into coverage from that nine-technique SAM linebacker spot that he's played a couple times in the league also. The tremendous amount of knowledge that he has in the linebacker position is just only going to help him more in his coaching of it."

Caldwell and Zordich have proven they can take the step from being players to coaches. Now they have to show that they can consistently develop and deliver the best out of the young talent on this team.

-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 2:00 p.m., February 19

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