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Billy Davis says Philadelphia Eagles will run a "multiple" defense

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Much like Chip Kelly's offense here in Philadelphia, there's been a lot of speculation about what his defense will look like without a whole lot of concrete answers.

Yesterday was the first time the Eagles have made their assistant coaches available to the media since they were hired and immediately defensive coordinator Billy Davis was pressed on exactly what his defense will be? 3-4, 4-3?

"Multiple is the best way of saying it, and I know you guys are tired of hearing about it," said Davis. "What we're doing here, guys, is we're taking that Wide 9, 4-3 and we're moving in the direction of the 3-4, but where we stop has yet to be determined by the players we have."

"We're not eluding the question. I'm not trying to. But that really is the fact of maximizing the players we have and what they do best."

His answer is consistent with most of the speculation. Chip Kelly's preferred defense is a 3-4, but the fact is that the Eagles aren't going to be assemble all the pieces to run a 3-4 in a single offseason. In the meantime they're not going to try and shove a square peg in a round hole with the personnel they have.

That said, this year isn't about just waiting until they can clear out current vets and bring in more 3-4 guys. It's also about seeing if these guys who have only played in a 4-3 can make the transition. The two most notable of those are the starting defensive ends from last season Trent Cole & Brandon Graham. They're now being expected to go from hand in the dirt defensive ends to stand up outside linebackers.

Davis he's seen them improve the more work they've gotten.

"I've seen seven weeks of them standing up and going in a three-point [stance] and they can do either one," Davis said. "At first, it looked unnatural to them because it was, because they haven't done it. Now they have done it for a couple weeks."

Fixing this defense is a big job. The unit was just as bad as the offense last year, but it didn't really have injuries to blame and it doesn't have the same base of talent. You can see how with some better injury luck and smarter scheming, the Eagles offense can be turned around quickly. That was certainly never something I thought watching the defense last year.

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