Jeff McLane wrote a great a piece in the Inquirer today that sheds some light on why Sean McDermott was fired. He reports that one or two starters on the Eagles defense flat out told Andy Reid after the season that McDermott should be gone. Several people on the site alerted us that over the weekend, former Eagle Jeremiah Trotter said on WIP that an Eagles player told him that McDermott was the worst coordinator he's had at any level. Now I didn't hear that myself, but If it's true, it's damning.
There's one pretty obvious candidate for a guy that might be among those who wanted McDermott gone, Trent Cole. Over the weekend, we discussed how a few weeks ago when he was asked whether he was a a slump as far as sacks go, he responded by saying it was no slump... he was just doing what he being asked to do. Namely, drop into coverage... As McLane points out, that was something Cole had been critical of.
Trent Cole, who could not be reached for comment, told reporters earlier this season that he did not like McDermott's zone-blitzing schemes, which required the defensive end to sometimes drop back into pass coverage.
The piece also pointed out McDermott's failed experiments with different schemes, which despite being a supporter of McDermott, Quintin Mikell admitted did not work.
McDermott, always a fiddler, began scheming radical ways to stop offenses. For instance, against the New York Giants in December, he unveiled a third-down look that had no linebackers and seven defensive backs on the field.
"Going into that week, I thought that was a good idea," Mikell said. "It looked like something that would work against [Giants quarterback Eli Manning]. But it didn't, although we did eventually adjust."
It'll be interesting as the weeks go by whether we'll hear more about the players' feelings on their ex-coach. That said, I can understand if Trent Cole was upset that the he was being asked to play coverage rather than rush the passer, that was certainly something a lot of fans were screaming about... but beyond him there's not a whole lot of players on that defense that have much room to talk. You don't get to have the worst red zone defense in 22 years just from poor coaching or ill-conceived schemes. The players are every bit as culpable as McDermott.