Eagles Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermott Under Pressure?

Usually in the NFL, the vast majority of the pressure on a coaching staff falls on the head coach.  While Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid is under his fair share, defensive coordinator Sean McDermott has to be feeling the need to prove himself heading into this season.  In his first year running the defense, McDermott’s Eagles gave up 21 points per game, ranking 19th in the NFL.

In the case of McDermott though, it’s hard to place blame for the struggles of 2009.  McDermott took over the squad on an interim basis in May due to the declining health of Jim Johnson, then took over on a full-time basis on July 24th, four days before the passing of Johnson.  In addition to the emotional roller coaster, McDermott had very little time to work with the defensive schemes heading into the season.

The second year coordinator knows that could make a big difference this season, “The neat thing about it is we’re approaching a year being together now, so there’s some familiarity from that standpoint. The players that have been here are familiar with the coaches and the coaches are getting more and more comfortable with the scheme.”

With that in mind, one would think that 2010 would be a big year for the coordinator who has been on the radar as one of the top up and coming coaches in the NFL.  But with an infusion of youth taking place on the defensive side of the ball this year, it’s reasonable to expect this Philadelphia squad to struggle on D.

After all, five or six opening day starters this season figure to be changes from last year’s lineup.  Therefore, McDermott wants the focus to be on teaching fundamentals, “Over half of the players I believe, or close to half of the players, have never played a snap in the NFL and a couple more…have never played a snap for the Eagles defense. It’s important that we teach the right way.”

But all of that teaching might not lend itself to winning, and NFL fans aren’t a patient bunch, particularly in the City of Brotherly Love.  That makes McDermott’s job a tough one, as he tries to live up to his reputation as one of the next young phenoms in the coaching ranks while working with a defense that will need time to develop chemistry.

Given the situation, McDermott needs to have a strong training camp and lessen the learning curve for some of the rookies he plans to use regularly.

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