Jeff McLane poses a question today that I asked immediately upon the hiring of former Browns linebackers coach Billy Davis to coordinate the Eagles defense–was Davis the team’s first choice?
It’s a fair question given Davis’ struggles during both of his previous stints as a defensive coordinator in San Francisco and Arizona.
Here’s what I wrote yesterday:
It will be interesting at the least to see if and how the Eagles explain the delay in the coaching search, particularly considering the announcement comes one day after college football’s national signing day. If Davis was their man on Jan. 27, then what was the hold up? Were there other college coordinators in play?
Only Kelly can answer that question, but the rest of us can speculate.
McLane echoes that question this morning–why did it take this long to make this hire?
Davis was available as soon as Browns coach Pat Shurmur – who will be the Eagles’ new offensive coordinator – was fired on Dec. 31. The Eagles were granted permission to interview Davis not long after Kelly was hired Jan. 16 but did not meet with him until Jan. 27.
The team waited 11 days before deciding on Davis, presumably because they were waiting for one of the Ravens or 49ers assistants. Baltimore linebackers coach Ted Monachino and San Francisco defensive backs coach Ed Donatell were the two most prominently linked to the Eagles.
Donatell wasn’t granted permission to speak with other teams and Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome said no team ever formally inquired about Monachino, so unless someone is lying (which they could be), then the delay is puzzling. The only plausible explanation was that they were waiting to hear from a college coach, but were ultimately turned down.
Even if they were, it’s likely to remain a mystery because the team would have no incentive to reveal such talks.
The how and why will be the story in the short term, but the attention will soon turn to the next question–can this guy get it done?