Philadelphia Eagles: Does It Even Matter Who the Next Defensive Coordinator Is?

Chris LangilleContributor IJanuary 27, 2011

The Eagles Aren't Physical Enough on Defense
The Eagles Aren't Physical Enough on DefenseAndy Lyons/Getty Images

Let me answer that for you: No. It doesn't matter. 

For patting themselves on the back as much as they have, the so-called "gold standard" front office of ours has really botched this one. I don't know if I've ever seen a team hire a position coach before hiring the coordinator.

That's like Joe Biden being named as the vice president before Barack Obama wins the election.

Just to clarify, though—I'm not complaining about the hiring of defensive line coach Jim Washburn. If he is as good as everyone says, he should make an instant impact, but how is the new defensive coordinator supposed to feel when he finally gets hired and has no say over his own staff?

Maybe he'll feel like Andy Reid felt last week, vacationing while someone else makes his decisions for him.

But the reason why the coordinator won't matter is simple. The Eagles don't have good enough players, and players win games, not coaches. Do you think the Eagles would have been a 10-6 playoff team without Michael Vick playing quarterback?

The reality is—and no one is saying it—the Eagles are poor talent evaluators, particularly on defense. Some might even call them clueless when it comes to building a defense, and that is a problem that extends far beyond who the defensive coordinator is.

Sean McDermott is no Vince Lombardi. I get that, but look at what he had to work with. By the end of the season, he had a practice squad cornerback in Dimitri Patterson, three seventh round picks (Moise Fokou, Jamar Chayney, Kurt Coleman) and two undrafted free agents (Quentin Mikel, Colt Anderson) in the secondary.

It's not Sean McDermott's fault that Andy Reid routinely trades out of the first round so he can stockpile fifth, sixth and seventh round draft picks.

Speaking of draft picks, I realize that the draft can be hit or miss, but the Eagles have missed on more defensive draft picks and have had more players not live up to expectations than any other team I can think of.

To compound that problem, they are too small on that side of the ball and are constantly playing people out of position. They don't know a defensive lineman from a linebacker, or a corner from a safety. They have undervalued key positions for years, only to realize it when it's too late.  

The best players they've had on defense were brought in by the prior regime. Jeremiah Trotter, Brian Dawkins, Ike Reese, Bobby Taylor and Troy Vincent are just a few.

I know Andy Reid brought Corey Simon, Trent Cole and Asante Samuel to town, but the rest of his track record is terrible.

Remember Matt McCoy, a second round pick who couldn't even hack it on special teams? How about Jerome McDougle? The 15th overall pick played just 37 games in his career with a whopping three sacks. Broderick Bunkley, the 14th pick in the '06 draft, has six career sacks in five seasons and routinely gets blown off the ball in the run game. Mike Patterson, another first round pick, has 13 career sacks in six years.

This is a team that drafted a rotational guy in Trevor Laws, before drafting the most explosive player in the league in DeSean Jackson! Are you serious? They drafted Jake Ikegwuonu in the fourth round, just eight weeks after he tore his ACL. I know it's still too early to pass judgement on Brandon Graham, but don't they remember the last time they bet big on an undersized defensive end? Remember him? Mike Mamula.

Jamaal Green, Bryan Smith, Quentin Demps, Omar Gaither, Victor Abiamiri, Sean Considine, Quinton Caver, Lito Sheppard and Michael Lewis. These guys were all supposed to be players right?

To make it worse, when they actually have a difference maker, they let him walk. Derrick Burgess, Al Harris, Jeremiah Trotter and most recently Jason Babin and Chris Clemmons all had Pro Bowl-caliber years after leaving Philadelphia. And I don't care what they say, a 32-year-old Brian Dawkins would have been better than Macho Harris at safety in 2008.

The Eagles can interview all the unproven linebackers and secondary coaches they want for their defensive coordinator job, but the bottom line is, until they get someone in their front office who can judge defensive talent and make better use of their draft picks, it really won't matter who that person is.