A few names of possible candidates to replace Sean McDermott have begun to leak out. The first is former Falcons and Seahawks head coach Jim Mora Jr. He certainly does bring the experience that Reid seems to be looking for having been both a head coach for 4 years and a defensive coordinator for 5(49ers). He's been coaching in the NFL since 1985 when he was only 24 years old. Plus, he's worked under Mike Holmgren, so there's a "family" connection there. [Update by JasonB, 01/16/11 2:33 PM EST ] Domo reports that Andy Reid has already spoken with Mora about the position and that Mora is interested, but no offer has been made.
Let's take a look at his performance as a defensive coordinator in San Francisco. He took over an abysmal defense in 1999 that ended up being the second worst in football. The following year, the defensive improved from 30th to 28th, nothing special. In 2001 things got much better as they nearly cut their points allowed in half and improved to 9th overall. They slipped a bit in 2002, but still made the playoffs and were strong in the takeaway dept. In 2003 there was a head coaching change in San Fran and the defense slipped to #21, but they were only allowing 21 points per game. This season, that would have been just outside the top 5 in the NFC. Here are the numbers from Mora's tenure in San Fran:
Also, how bizarre would it be for both Mora and Vick, the head coach/QB combo that the Eagles defeated in the 2004 NFL title game, to be both here with major roles in Philadelphia?
The other name is former Cardinals defensive coordinator Billy Davis. Funny enough, Davis became defensive coordinator of the 49ers just a year after Mora left. Davis had been coaching the Giants LBs in a 4-3 scheme, but went to San Fran to a 3-4 under head coach Mike Nolan. We'll get in to how that went after jump.
It went bad. Really bad. In his first year the 49ers were ranked dead last in points allowed and showed only modest improvement the following year finishing 26th overall. He drew heavy criticism from local reporters, one of which wrote, "the defensive coordinator Billy Davis, who drifts between the 4-3 scheme and the 3-4 scheme, not only has been incapable of masking these deficiencies but also seems to find ways to accentuate them."
Davis was fired by the Niners, but hired two weeks later by the Cardinals as a linebacker coach. Two years later he was elevated to defensive coordinator. In 2009 the Cardinals defensive was average, but obviously this past year they were the 3rd worst in the NFL.
In short, if Davis is a good coordinator or defensive mind... there's really not much if any evidence to show it.