NFL Rumors: Eagles Would Be Wise to Hire Ed Donatell as Defensive Coordinator

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2013

Oct. 29, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; San Francisco 49ers secondary coach Ed Donatell against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The 49ers defeated the Cardinals 24-3. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Chip Kelly has a lot of work to do as the new head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, but his job will be easier if he hires Ed Donatell as his defensive coordinator.

The search to fill this position has gone in a number of different directions. Todd Grantham of Georgia has been linked to the team, according to CSN's Derrick Gunn. Jim Herrmann of the New York Giants interviewed butwithdrew his name, according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

However, the latest name to come up might be the best option. Geoff Mosher of Comcast SportsNet reported that Donatell is now a candidate for the job:

Hearing that 49ers DB coach Ed Donatell has surfaced as a potential DC for #Eagles. Obviously, can't happen until after Super Bowl.

— Geoff Mosher (@GeoffMosherCSN) January 21, 2013

After spending the last two years as defensive backs coach for the San Francisco 49ers, Donatell can give the Eagles exactly what they need.

Unlike many other available candidates, he has experience as a successful defensive coordinator in the NFL. He spent four seasons with the Green Bay Packers and three years with the Atlanta Falcons.

During these stints, he showed he can get his teams to improve in two necessary areas—takeaways and sacks.

Last season, opposing quarterbacks loved to play against Philadelphia. Only five teams had fewer sacks than the Eagles, allowing the opposing player all the time in the world to throw. The result was 33 passing touchdowns and only eight interceptions, leading to 99.6 passer rating against—second-highest in the league. 

In order to be successful, the team must put pressure on the quarterback to get sacks and force turnovers.

Donatell's squads were usually ranked in the top portion of the league in both of these categories. The 2004 Falcons led the entire NFL in sacks, while the 2002 Packers had the most takeaways.

Chip Kelly has stated that he wants "an attacking style defense." The experienced coach is the person that can bring him one.

Donatell has also shown his ability to get the most out of his players in his most recent position. No team in the NFL has allowed fewer points in the last two years, and the secondary is a major part of that.

He helped Carlos Rogers reach the Pro Bowl last season after struggling for six years with the Washington Redskins. Dashon Goldson made his first two Pro Bowls as a former fourth-round pick. Donte Whitner also made his first Pro Bowl this year after six years in the NFL.

All of them would likely say that their coach has been a big part of that.

Philadelphia has a lot of talent in the secondary and on the rest of the defense. However, the past coordinators have not been able to utilize them to their best ability.

The 49ers' assistant knows how to turn talent into production. This is the type of person that the Eagles need as a defensive coordinator.

Although it would require waiting until after the Super Bowl, they must do what it takes to bring him on the staff.