The Eagles Need a Strong Defensive Coordinator

by Marc Narducci | Jan 20, 2021
The Eagles Need a Strong Defensive Coordinator
While all the attention is rightly going toward the Eagles head coaching search, it will be interesting who they hire as defensive coordinator. 
 
Jim Schwartz’s five-year contract has expired, and he said he was taking at least a year off from coaching. 
 
Schwartz was hired before head coach Doug Pederson was in 2016, which is not how most teams do things. Usually the new coach picks his own assistants.
 
Whether that happens this time with the Eagles remains to be seen, but eventually, they will need a defensive coordinator and a strong one for a defense that is beginning to show some age.
 
Even though Schwartz had his critics, and there were times where he seemed to take too long to make adjustments, the Eagles defense had decent success in his five seasons, which included three playoff berths and of course the Super Bowl win following the 2017 regular season.
 
(While the Eagles didn’t have a great defensive game in the 41-33 Super Bowl win over New England, the defense was dominating in a 15-10 opening playoff win over Atlanta and simply smothering in a 38-7 NFC title victory over the Minnesota Vikings. 
 
In his five years, here is how the Eagles finished among NFL teams in scoring defense. 
 
2020: 20th 26.1 ppg.
2019: 15th 22.1 ppg.
2018: 12th 21.8 ppg.
2017: 4th 18.4 ppg.
2016: 12th 20.7 ppg.
 
This year the Eagles defense (and offense) was decimated by injuries. Schwartz had to play at the end of the season with a depleted secondary.
 
Even with the injuries, the Eagles had a late-season 24-21 win over the New Orleans Saints and one of the best offensives in the NFL. 
 
So Schwartz definitely had his moments.
 
There should be no shortage of candidates. The Eagles have two former defensive coordinators on their current staff.
 
Defensive line coach Matt Burke is a former defensive coordinator with the Miami Dolphins.
 
Eagles defensive backs coach Marquand Manuel is a former defensive coordinator with the Atlanta Falcons. He played eight years in the NFL, giving him even more credibility. 
 
A couple of big names have already been signed. Gus Bradley, a former head coach in Jacksonville, was the defensive coordinator with the Los Angeles Chargers and he was recently hired by the Las Vegas Raiders.
 
Dan Quinn, who was fired during the season as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, where he had a 43-42 record in five plus seasons and had a Super Bowl appearance, losing to the New England Patriots after the 2016 season, was named the Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator. 
 
Quinn had a successful two-year reign as defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks in 2013 and 2014. He should be a big improvement over Mike Nolan, who lasted only one season in Dallas. 
 
Whoever is hired by the Eagles will be taking over what was a banged-up unit last season. Especially toward the end of the season, Schwartz did a decent job covering up for all the injuries in the secondary. 

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Schwartz became a lightning rod for criticism, but now the Eagles hope to hire somebody who is an improvement and at this point, it is not an impossible task, but not an easy one either.

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Author: Marc Narducci

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