The Titans and longtime coach Jeff Fisher parted ways on Thursday afternoon. There was immediately speculation by Eagles fans that he could be a defensive coordinator candidate. John Clayton reported his hiring was likely. Then local writers Les Bowen and Jeff McLane had to go and ruin our dream with harsh reality. Fisher won't be coming to Philly, unless it is to broadcast a game.
Reuben Frank reported today that he thinks Darren Perry is the favorite to get the job. Perry is currently the safeties coach for the Green Bay Packers. He's coached DBs for the Raiders and Steelers. He began his coaching career with a single season in Cincinnati.
Perry played at Penn State and then for the Steelers in the NFL. He was coached by defensive gurus like Jerry Sandusky, Dick LeBeau, and Dom Capers. As an assistant, Perry has worked with LeBeau, Capers, and Rob Ryan. He also got to learn from two great head coaches, Joe Paterno and Bill Cowher.
I like any coaching candidate who has been around great coaches the way Perry has. He's moved around enough to see things done in different ways, but has mostly been in stable environments where he could really soak up how things are done by a good staff. You don't want someone who has been with one team or someone who has been with 10 teams in 15 years.
Perry does have most of his experience with 3-4 defenses. Penn State ran a 3-4 for much of the 80s. The Steelers and Packers were pure 3-4 teams. The Raiders did a little bit of both (one reason they struggled on defense in those years). I'd prefer a coach with more of a 4-3 background, but as long as he has the right assistants with him, I don't know that it is a huge deal. Perry did spend his last two years as a player on 4-3 defenses. It isn't completely foreign to him. Also, Perry specializes in DBs. He won't be trying to micro-manage the DL and LBs. One other point to consider is that teams play a nickel defense at least a third of the time (if not more). Most nickel looks are 4-2-5, even on 3-4 teams.
I'd have no problem with Darren Perry being the target. I was very impressed by some comments I found from him.
On why he left Pittsburgh when Bill Cowher retired:
"I was ready for a change. I had been under Dick (LaBeau) for a long time, having been in a 3-4 most of my playing and coaching career. I had personal goals I wanted to attain. Being able to get into a 4-3 system, expanding my football background would help me in terms of becoming a coordinator down the line."
On coverage/scheme philosophies:
"You can do both. You mix it up. You can keep your man element of it, but you can also keep the zone elements as well. In Pittsburgh, we had just as much 4-3 elements as we did a true 3-4 look… So just because you have 3-4 personnel out there on the field doesn't mean you can't play a 4-3 front. During my time there (in Pittsburgh), and then coaching in Cincinnati, we were kind of a hybrid 3-4 where we were basically a 4-3 front but we were trying to have our cake and eat it too and still implement the zone blitz. We just didn't get in as much zero-nose, and that's what people think when they think 3-4 ... You can be kind of a hybrid and give that 4-3 look."
"It's still in the early stages. We know what we want to do, but now we have to make sure that we can. And if not, we have to be ready to adjust. The system will be in place, we just might have to be a little more hybrid if it doesn't work out that way. The OTAs, the minicamps, training camp, the preseason games, we'll get a feel for what our guys can and can't do."
He does sound like a bright guy that has learned well from the great coaches he's been around. He seems to get the big picture. He has a good track record. In Pittsburgh he helped develop Troy Polamalu and Chris Hope. With Oakland he helped Namdi Ashomugha become an elite corner. He's done very good things with the Packers safeties. Nick Collins is a star. Perry would be an interesting hire.
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I'm still hearing some things about Mike Trgovac. Let's talk about him for a second. For a while Trgovac seemed like the logical candidate. Then we all read Reuben Frank's piece about Trgovac and his family and we dismissed him as a candidate.
What if...that was done intentionally simply to throw off speculation about him coming to Philly so that he wouldn't have to deal with those questions from the media while trying to help the Packers win a Super Bowl? This wouldn't be the first time a coach mis-led the media on purpose. And I wouldn't blame Trgovac if he did that. Having Philly reporters hound you (on behalf of Eagles fans) would probably be a major distraction.
There still is a lot of logic to Trgovac coming to the Eagles. He is an experienced DC. He's led a defense to the Super Bowl. He doesn't have any desire to be a head coach. Give him the DC job and he's here until there is regime change. You get experience and stability, something Reid loved with Jim Johnson. Reid let Johnson have autonomy with the defense and trusted things to work well. I get the feeling Reid would love to have that type of situation once again.
Think about the coaching staff we have in place. Mike Caldwell was an assistant LB coach last year. Mike Zordich was an assistant DB coach last year. Trgovac was on the Eagles staff from 1995-1998. The starting SS was...Mike Zordich, who could be in line to be the DB coach. We had a linebacker named...Mike Caldwell in 1998. He was also brought to the Panthers in 2003 by Trgovac as a free agent. Caldwell could get the job as our LBs coach. This could all just be a big coincidence, but it is interesting, at the very least.
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The fact that Reid isn't interviewing anyone interests me. That makes me think there is a handshake agreement already in place. I find it hard to believe that Reid would leave the job open this long just hoping to land someone. Then again, we don't know who Plan B is. That coach might also be on one of the Super Bowl teams.
I do know one thing for sure...I'm tired of speculating on the search for a new DC. Hire the guy so we can get on to more important business like arguing about whether Dallas Reynolds should be the third string guard on the left side or right side.