After it was revealed on Saturday that Sean McDermott will not return as the team's defensive coordinator in 2011, the question was who would guide a young but talented nucleus of players on the Eagles defense next season?
Speculation immediately focused on senior assistant/defensive backs coach Dick Jauron, a two-time NFL head coach as recently as 2009. However, multiple media outlets are reporting that while Jauron is a candidate he is not going to be automatically promoted to the position. Jauron is also a candidate for the Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator position and reports indicate that the Eagles have given Cleveland permission to talk with him.
Multiple media reports indicate that Jauron is the only in-house candidate being considered at this time. Bill Shuey, the linebackers coach, is the longest-tenured defensive coach on the current staff. With such a young group of players on defense, the key ingredient that the Eagles could very well be searching for in a new defensive coordinator is experience. Go back to when Andy Reid was named the head coach in 1999. He wanted someone whom he could hand the defense over to and he found that person in Jim Johnson, who was a defensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts as well as a two-time defensive coordinator in the USFL before joining Reid's staff. McDermott, who started with the organization as an intern and climbed the ladder all the way to defensive coordinator, learned from Johnson but was thrust into the spotlight shortly before Johnson's passing in 2009.
But when it comes to experience, will it be as a coordinator (in college or the NFL) or simply years of experience in the NFL as a position coach? Will the Eagles find someone to continue the 4-3 scheme or will the Eagles be open to a complete philosophical change just one year after spending nine draft picks on the defense? The big name on the market that came to everyone's mind was Rob Ryan, son of former Eagles head coach and defensive mastermind Buddy Ryan. However, sources indicate that Dallas is close to coming to an agreement with him. Another popular name that has surfaced was recently fired 49ers head coach Mike Singletary, but media reports state that he is not considered a leading candidate.
In the days to come, when surveying the options for a new defensive coordinator one of the biggest things to consider may very well be experience. Can this coach develop and build this young group of players into a top-flight defense and provide proof of doing so in the past?
UPDATE: On ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown, Adam Schefter threw another name into the mix - former Falcons and Seahawks head coach Jim Mora. Yes, the same Mora who coached Michael Vick in Atlanta. Check out one of the best sitdown interviews of the year between Vick and Mora, who has done work for NFL Network this season.
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 11:52 a.m., January 16