Philadelphia Eagles: 5 Coordinators Who Could Replace Juan Castillo
Last winter Andy Reid thought he had revolutionized the coaching world. Reid had hired his offensive line coach to be his defensive coordinator. Who better to understand how to get after a quarterback then the guy who draws up the protections schemes.
Fast forward to the end of the 2011 season and Andy Reid has revolutionized nothing. Actually Reid is fighting for his job. Most fans are calling for his head after his most talented team in recent memory has fell to 4-8 following a blowout loss to the Seattle Seahawks on national television.
Juan Castillo will be fired eventually, and Andy Reid will be given more year to prove he win a Super Bowl. They key to Andy Reid's future success in Philadelphia will be the move that nearly cost him his job this season, defensive coordinator.
It will be a great year to need a defensive coordinator. Several former head coaches with a defensive background will be unemployed and looking at defensive coordinator job opening, including one with a Super Bowl ring as a defensive play caller.
2012 has a chance to be a truly special year for the Eagles but Andy Reid has to get has defense in order. These five candidates are more than capable of doing just that.
1. Steve Spagnulo
Steve Spagnulo will be the most wanted man in Philadelphia this offseason. Andy Reid will most likely keep his job for one more year. Spagnulo will not have that luxury with new ownership in St. Louis expected to clean house following an awful season for the Rams. One man's misfortune is another man's gift.
Spagnulo spent eight seasons from 1999 to 2006 working under the late great Jim Johnson in Philadelphia as a defensive assistant, defensive backs coach and linebackers coach. Then in 2007 he became the New York Giants defensive coordinator, just two season before Jim Johnson passed away and the Eagles replaced him with Sean McDermott.
Now Andy Reid has a chance to bring coach Spags back as defensive coordinator. Spagnulo's defense was the key to the New York Giants defense in their Super Bowl XLII win. He learned under the great Jim Johnson and proved himself to be a great defensive playcaller in the Giants Super Bowl winning season. If he is indeed let go after the Rams season ends, expect Reid to go all out to bring back Spagnulo to Philly.
2. Leslie Frazier
Leslie Frazier isn't a lock to hit the employment line this winter, but after the Vikings feel to 2-10 on Sunday following a loss to the Denver Broncos it appears more and more likely that he could be fired by the Minnesota Vikings.
Frazier is another pupil of the late great Jim Johnson. He was the defensive backs coach from 1999 until 2002 under Johnson in Philadelphia. He did a great job coaching up great defensive backs like Brian Dawkins, Bobby Taylor and Troy Vincent.
Frazier is a defensive backs guru that could do wonders with the likes of Dominique Rodgers-Cromarite, Nnamdi Asomugha, Nate Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett. The coverage schemes have been a major problems for the Eagles. Players who looked confused on who they are supposed to cover and too many plays have gone for big yardage mainly because a receiver was left uncovered.
You can bet that Frazier would fix that and still allow defensive line coach Jim Washburn's Wide 9 scheme to be successful in the trenches.
3. Jack Del Rio
The first of many coaching casualties this season, Jack Del Rio was fired following the Jaguars Week 12 loss. Del Rio finished with a record of 69-73 with two playoff appearances. Del Rio has a defensive background in the 4-3 defense as both a former Pro Bowl player and as a coach.
He only has one season as a defensive coordinator, but it was a good one. He lead the Carolina Panthers defense, which finished second in the NFL in total defense. He was hired as the Jaguars head coach the following season.
Del Rio has always gotten the most of out his defense in Jacksonville. He never had the type of players that you build a good defense around, but he always had a competitive defense. If he got the job in Philadelphia he would have that problem.
With three draft picks in the first two rounds and an already talented defense, Del Rio has a chance to be really successful as a defensive coordinator in Philly if he gets the job offer.
4. John Hoke
Jon Hoke was interviewed for the Eagles defensive coordinator opening last February. The Eagles passed on Hoke and decided to promote from within their own offensive staff. The move didn't pay off and the Eagles will be right where they were last winter searching for a defensive coordinator.
Hoke is an established defensive backs coach with the Chicago Bears and the Houston Texans who also served as a defensive coordinator in college as well. Hoke knows how to get the most out of his defensive backs, just ask Charles Tillman.
Hoke would utilize the cover 2 scheme that employs a lot of zone coverage. Juan Castillo has tried to implement a similar type of defense this season but has failed to get all of his players on the same page. Hoke's experience in the cover 2 scheme in Chicago would give him a better shot at getting this talented Eagles defense to play as one cohesive unit.
5. Jeff Fisher
If the previous coaches are unavailable or don't take the defensive coordinator job in Philadelphia, there is still one coach available with a pretty solid track record. Jeff Fisher has been a defensive coach in the NFL since 1985, where he was a defensive assistant on a pretty impressive Chicago Bears defense.
Since then Fisher has served as the Eagles defensive coordinator in the late 80s, Rams defensive coordinator and 49ers assistant in the early 90s before eventually being named the Titans/Oilers head coach in 1994. Fisher was let go from the Tennessee Titans following the 2010 season.
Fisher is a veteran of the 4-3 defense and a linebacker and secondary guru. He will worked with defensive line coach Jim Washburn so there is no candidate out there better served to make the Wide 9 system thrive.
Fisher has had a very successful coaching career, piling up 147 wins as a head coach but never winning a Super Bowl as a head coach or defensive coordinator. He will have an excellent chance with the Eagles should he join forces with Andy Reid and company.
Whatever the Eagles decide at defensive coordinator, they will have plenty of options. It will truly be a buyers market for Andy Reid.