Chip Kelly has picked Bill Davis to be the new defensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles! Finally, the long grueling search is over, we have found the man who will return Philly’s defense to it’s once dominant ways…right?
Bill Davis (or is it “Billy”?). Wait, who? We’ve waited this long to find out it was going to be Billy friggin Davis? The linebackers coach for Cleveland whom the Eagles initially interviewed on January 27th, almost two weeks ago?
Yep, Bill Davis.
My first thought upon hearing this news was that Chip and the Eagles did not get the guy they were aiming for. We knew Davis was technically a “candidate” because of the interview, but apparently he didn’t “wow” them enough to be hired back then.
Seems to me that Davis was an “okay, maybe…let us check on a few other candidates and we’ll get back to you” type of guy.
The timing of this news certainly appears tied to the fact it’s after the Super Bowl and after National Signing Day. In other words, there was someone else the Eagles were eying-up but couldn’t get an official answer until this week.
Ed Donatell was blocked by the 49ers and Todd Grantham is supposedly in New Orleans today interviewing with Sean Payton.
It was also reported that nobody contacted the Ravens about permission to interview any of their coaches, so it appears the Eagles never had any interest in Ted Monachino or anyone else on Baltimore’s staff.
Therefore, I tend to think they were looking at Donatell, Grantham or some other member of the 49ers…though no reports have come out that the Eagles requested permission to interview anyone from San Fran.
There was, however, a report that said the Eagles tried to interview Grantham at least twice over the past two weeks but were denied because of the impending signing day. Then, he chooses to go to New Orleans today.
Sounds like Grantham simply didn’t want to come to Philly and the Eagles were waiting until they were “sure” of that before hiring Davis.
So, Davis doesn’t appear to be Kelly’s first choice, but rather the backup plan.
On the surface, this is definitely not an exciting hire. He does meet Kelly’s description of having “vast NFL experience” though. Davis has coached on eight NFL teams since 1992 and has included two 2-year stints as a defensive coordinator (San Fran and Arizona).
Here is a quick run-down of how his defenses ranked when he was the coordinator:
With San Fran –
2005: 32nd in yards, 30th in points, 18th in red zone TD scoring percentage, 24th in takeaways
2006: 26th in yards, 32nd in points, 18th in red zone TD scoring percentage, 19th in takeaways
With Arizona –
2009: 20th in yards, 14th in points, 18th in red zone TD scoring percentage, 11th in takeaways
2010: 29th in yards, 30th in points, 1st in red zone TD scoring percentage, 9th in takeaways
His statistics, particularly in total yards and points, are horrible. The odd thing is that, with those terrible stats, he still found a way to get his defense to rank first in opponent red zone TD scoring percentage and crack the top 10 in takeaways.
Besides being a defensive coordinator, most of the rest of his experience in the NFL is as a linebackers coach. His longest stints as a linebacker coach were in Carolina (1995 – 1998) and Atlanta (2001 – 2003).
As best as I can tell, he hasn’t appeared to develop and groom any young talent at the linebacker position. If anything, he has appeared to prefer veteran guys (players over 30 years old).
In Carolina, he had Sam Mills and Kevin Greene. In Atlanta, he had guys like Sam Rogers and John Holecek (though his star player was Keith Brooking in his prime). Then in Arizona he had Chike Okeafor and Clark Haggans.
Davis has virtually no college coaching experience, which likely explains a potential preference for veteran NFL players. In today’s game, one needs to be able to develop young talent so I hope we don’t see an influx of “old guys” this offseason.
Davis’ career has also been spent mostly with losing teams. However, he did make it to the Super Bowl with Arizona in 2008, the year before he became their defensive coordinator (he was the LB coach in ’07 and ’08).
The best thing I can say is that this guy should be hungry and motivated to build a successful team. He’s failed twice at being a DC, maybe the third time will be the charm?
Overall, I’m underwhelmed by this hiring.
However, past stats don’t necessarily indicate future failure. This is the guy Chip Kelly has chosen to run his defense because he apparently likes his experience and the scheme he runs.
At this point, we just have to trust in Chip. Trust that he is choosing the right coaching staff and building the right kind of environment. We have to give him the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.
Being a successful coordinator (or head coach for that matter) has a lot to do with the right blend of people at the right time. Basically, if the coaches and players mesh extremely well and the organization can create a positive environment, that can go a long way towards building a winning team.
Davis is a veteran NFL coach that has pretty much seen everything. If you want a good read and some insight into his defensive philosophy, check out this posting on a site called “Chiefs Planet Mobile.”
He talks about how his defenses aren’t exactly a 3-4 and aren’t exactly a 4-3. He talks about what he terms a “4-3 under” defense. Give it a read, it’s pretty interesting.
I just wish that his scheme had produced better overall results!
At the end of the day, Billy Davis is now our defensive coordinator and there’s nothing we can do about it. Hopefully, he finally figures out how to design a defense that gets results and ultimately gets us more W’s.