Welcome to another Whisker Wednesday, Fire The Walrus Nation! Football season is officially over – and the pending labor battle is just getting underway (man I can’t wait to watch Billionaires argue with Billionaires!) – but it isn’t snowing in the Delaware Valley… so at least we got that.
- As you’ve probably heard, the Eagles filled out the rest of their coaching staff over the past two days, with few surprises. Former Eagles players Mike Caldwell, Mike Zordich, Duce Staley and Doug Peterson were all promoted (Linebackers, Safeties, Special Teams Quality Control and Quarterbacks, respectively). Longtime Wide Receivers Coach Dave Culley had Senior Offensive Assistant added to his title and James Urban, who has been with the team in various roles since 2004, was elevated to Assistant Offensive Coordinator. The Eagles even threw in a little nepotism, hiring Special Teams Coordinator Bobby April’s son, Bobby April, Jr., as Defensive Quality Control Coach.
The one interesting hire was Johnnie Lynn, as Cornerbacks Coach. Lynn has previously worked as Defensive Coordinator of the Giants, and Secondary Coach of the Ravens, Buccaneers and 49ers – leading some pretty decent units. Aside from his experience, Lynn – like Mudd and Washburn – brings a much-needed outside perspective, and isn’t a typical “Andy Reid guy.
Adding Assistant Coaches and Quality Coaches is not huge news, and none of us can really sit here and say that these moves were good or bad. We’ll just have to wait and see. Thankfully Zordich was the type of hard-hitting, tough-as-nails defender that the current Defense lacks, and maybe can transfer some of that intensity, and Caldwell was a Linebacker who could actually cover Tight Ends (imagine that!). We all remember Pederson – the sacrificial lamb of the 1999 season, prior to McNabb taking the Offensive reigns. He helped mentor McNabb (unimpressive) and, for a short time, Aaron Rogers (impressive), so at least he’s got that going for him.
The only thing that jumps out is that Andy Reid stocked his staff with “his guys.” Nothing surprising, why wouldn’t he? There is a prevailing line of thinking in the NFL ether (courtesy of ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio and NFL Network’s Mike Lombardi) that Reid is putting “his guys” in position to gain as much experience as possible before the whole thing is blown after this year and they’re forced to find new jobs. We can only hope.
- Speaking of Sal Pal… He appeared on his weekly, Tuesday at 5:15 spot with Mike Missanelli on 97.5 The Fanatic (listen here) and noted something very interesting that Ron Rivera – former Reid assistant and new Panthers’s Head Coach/Sean McDermutt’s new boss – was quoted as saying. According to Rivera (via Paolantonio), Reid said the following regarding McDermutt’s exit from the Eagles: “Ron, Sean’s in a tough, tough position, he’s following the late Jim Johnson. We got to make people understand that it was not as much because Sean did a bad job, or anything, it was just going be as much as always going to be tough and unfair for him. We’ve got to create a ‘situation’.” That’s an actual quote. So essentially, Reid and the Eagles created a story (Reid saying McDermutt was staying, waiting a week, then firing him) giving the appearance that the firing came from over Andy’s head. It wasn’t. Instead it was calculated and manipulated by the team.
- One more note from the Paolantonio interview… The notion that the Eagles could simply fire Reid after next season and transition to a Juan Castillo – same basic philosophy and schemes, plus an extension of the plan already in place, just with a new captain of the ship (ala Jim Caldwell taking over for Dungy in Indianapolis). That would certainly garner a similar reaction to what happened last week, when Castillo was moved to Coordinator, but probably with even more vitriol. And, it wouldn’t be unprecedented.
We think we have it bad, Eagles fans? After 16 long-suffering years of Jeff Fisher, the Tennessee Titans promoted their long-time Offensive Line Coach, Mike Munchak, to Head Coach!?! Take that Juan Castillo! The Titans just one-upped the Birds in terms of majorly leapfrogging a guy. At least we’re not Titans fans.
- As the rumor mill turns… The whole Andy Reid-Jon Gruden “thing” is still out in the air and remains a hot topic. Phil Sheridan, of the Philadelphia Inquirer, wrote a great piece yesterday delving into what the rumors reveal about the Eagles current regime.
Make sure you stop back later today to take the Whisker Wednesday Poll!