Early indications so far on assistants for Chip Kelly, including the ever-so-important position of defensive coordinator, are all college guys. A report by an Oregon graduate assistant named Jen Beyrle stated that the following assistants of Kelly’s at Oregon are coming to Philly:
Jerry Azzinaro, Greg Austin, Matthew Harper and Todd Lyght. Per a tweet by Howard Eskin, Azzinaro is supposedly going to be the DL coach as that was his position in Oregon.
Both Austin and Harper are offensive graduate assistant football coaches while Lyght is a defensive assistant and a former pro bowl NFL cornerback for the Rams.
There have also been a few reports saying that Kelly is looking at either Todd Grantham or Kirby Smart for the defensive coordinator position. Grantham is currently the DC for the Georgia Bulldogs and Smart is the DC for Alabama.
Out of all these guys, the only one with NFL coaching experience is Grantham. He has 10 years of NFL experience after serving stints as mostly a DL coach for the Colts, Texans and Cowboys, but did include a three-year stint as a DC with the Browns.
Fortunately, Grantham is also considered to be the front-runner for the DC job. After taking a quick look at him, it appears his best season as a DC came in 2011 when the Georgia defense finished 5th in the nation in total defense (11th against the run, 10th against the pass), 3rd in third-down defense, 5th in interceptions, and 7th in total turnovers with 32.
Grantham’s defense took a step back in 2012 but at first glance he appears to be a decent candidate. He has experience in both the 4-3 and 3-4 alignments, but most recently he’s been running a 3-4.
My only concern with all of this is that Kelly might be building a pretty “green” staff, and I don’t mean Eagle green or Kelly green. There will be more coaches to come, but at the start it seems as if the Eagles will have quite the college feel to them this year.
A report also surfaced this morning that the Eagles are interested in interviewing ex-Cardinals DC Ray Horton for the defensive coordinator position. Now, this I can jump on board with immediately and think it would be a fantastic hire.
However, Cleveland is after Horton too and they seem like the front-runners to land him.
Once Kelly’s staff is officially named, we’ll delve more into what that could mean for the 2013 season.