UPDATE: Jim Washburn has agreed to a three-year deal to become the Eagles' defensive line coach. The following is what I thought about the hire before it happened.
Right now, all the talk about the Eagles is who will be taking over the defense. But with Rory Segrest getting the boot shortly after former defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, the team is also in need of a defensive line coach.
The first real candidate for the job, Tennessee Titans' defensive line coach Jim Washburn, is expected to accept an offer from the Eagles shortly, according to Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.
"After talking to sources tonight," Wyatt said via Twitter, "I'll be surprised if Titans defensive line coach Jim Washburn doesn't leave for Eagles."
Whether or not Washburn leaves for Philadelphia is pure speculation at this point, but Titans' head coach Jeff Fisher has confirmed Washburn has definitely been in contact with Eagles' head coach Andy Reid about the opening.
"The only thing I can confirm is [Washburn] has been talking [to the Eagles]," Fisher said. "We are in the middle of it and going back and forth. I would think we'd find out in the next day or so."
It's worth noting that Washburn is being considered only to come in and coach the defensive line and is not a candidate to become the defensive coordinator. That spot remains in limbo and likely won't be resolved for another week or so.
But a guy like Washburn taking over the defensive line could have more of an impact than anyone the Eagles could bring in to run the defense at this point. The biggest problem has been the lack of a pass-rush from the front four and teaching how to get a pass-rush happens to be Washburn's specialty.
However, as noted by Tommy Lawlor, it could mean a change of philosophy in how the defensive ends are taught to play. Under McDermott, and even dating back to Jim Johnson, the defensive ends have always been told to play the run first and get to the quarterback second.
Washburn, however, teaches the exact opposite.
His ends are taught to get to the quarterback, and if they happen to sniff out the run, go ahead and play it the best they can. It's worked for the Titans over the past decade or so, but that line of thinking might not mesh with the new defensive coordinator.
Either way, Washburn is, by far, the best defensive line coach in the league and should be able to help Brandon Graham and Antonio Dixon realize their potential, as well as guys like Mike Patterson and Brodrick Bunkley who have largely underachieved despite strong play.
Washburn's best quality is his ability to get everything out of his players. I thought it was worth keeping Jason Babin around this season—especially at such a cheap price—but it's entirely possible Babin would not have been the same player in Philly this year as he was in Tennessee because of Washburn.
With Fisher's contract running out in Tennessee and his future very much in jeopardy, job security alone might be enough to get Washburn to jump ship. Add in the extra money the Eagles should be throwing at him, and by this time next season, we could be talking about a defensive line full of Pro Bowlers.
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