It’s been a long wait but Thursday provided some significant developments in the shaping of Chip Kelly’s coaching staff for the Philadelphia Eagles.
For one, we know who will be the defensive coordinator for the next era of Eagles football. According to CSNPhilly, Billy Davis, who most recently was the linebackers coach for the Cleveland Browns, will step into the position.
So the Birds weren’t waiting for their man to finish a Super Bowl run after all. So what took so long to secure Davis? Was he the one the team wanted all along or a fall-back plan? It will be one of the first questions asked whenever Davis is formally introduced to the media. Whether a real, plausible answer to the question is received is another matter.
While the defense of the Browns was less than stellar in the 2012 season, Davis comes with a wealth of NFL experience, having worked with the Steelers, Panthers, Packers, Falcons, Giants, 49ers, Cardinals and two stints with the Browns. Davis has previously spent four years as a defensive coordinator with San Francisco and Arizona. However, no defense under him has finished ranked higher than 14th in points allowed or 20th in yards allowed.
Are we impressed yet?
While defenses under Davis have not put in impressive numbers, the legendary Jim Johnson also came to Philadelphia with lackluster statistics under his belt. His defenses ranked 18th and 26th in his two years as DC in Indianapolis prior to joining Eagles.
For more insight into Davis’ previous record as coordinator,
In Davis’s two years running the defense in San Francisco, the 49ers were ranked 30th and 32nd in points allowed and 32nd and 26nd in yards allowed (they were 32nd and 24th the year before he got there).
In his two years as Cards’ defensive coordinator, Arizona ranked 14th and 30th in points allowed and 20th and 29th in yards allowed.
While the perspective provided by that comparison is helpful, it’s currently the only way that any likeness between Davis and Johnson can currently be made.
The new Eagles DC has worked in both 3-4 and 4-3 defenses, so the hiring in and of itself doesn’t yield much insight into the direction the team may be headed.
Interestingly, Davis and his family have ties to the Eagles. He was a ball boy for the Birds under Dick Vermeil, and his father, Bill Davis, was a front-office executive in the Eagles’ personnel department in 1988-1989.
But wait–there’s more news on the assistant front! Reports point to the hiring of a new offensive line coordinator for the Birds, former Alabama coach Jeff Stoutland. The Daily News’ Les Bowen cites a source as saying the hiring is “likely to happen.”
The Crimson Tide had the best o-line in college football last season and really, the SEC’s reputation and success in cultivating NFL-ready talent already gives him even more instant cred in making the switch to the pros. The big question for the Eagles is whether Stoutland will stick with the type of offensive linemen preferred by Howard Mudd–smaller and athletic–and if not, what that means to key players like Jason Kelce and Evan Mathis.
The Eagles have yet to officially announce or acknowledge any coaching staff hirings. However, to keep track of who NFL sources have confirmed have been added in Philadelphia, check out Birds 24/7’s helpful tracker here.