Some defensive coordinators may have been turned off by a team that hired its entire defensive coaching staff prior to naming its leader. It’s an understandable position–many coordinators want the ability to dictate who is on staff because of the complicit trust necessary to succeed.
What’s more, the team struggled over the past two seasons when it hired defensive line coach Jim Washburn ahead of coordinator Juan Castillo. The results were nothing short of a disaster.
But new defensive coordinator Billy Davis has no such concerns. Davis expressed confidence in his staff Monday, one composed of diverse backgrounds of both collegiate and professional coaching experience.
Davis cited the increasingly common NFL trend of hiring position coaches prior to naming a coordinator and was impressed with the staff he’ll have at his disposal.
“I don’t think I could have hired a staff this good,” Davis quipped.
Davis, who has experience with both the 3-4 and 4-3 fronts, didn’t reveal the team’s plans for the defense, but head coach Chip Kelly did elaborate on why he believes the former 49ers and Cardinals defensive coordinator is the right man for the job.
“One of the things that really attracted me to Billy was his versatility and being able to coach in both systems,” Kelly said. “He’s a 21-year veteran of this league, and has coached under guys like Dick LeBeau, Bill Cowher, Wade Phillips and Vic Fangio and just spent time in Cleveland with Dick Jauron. So he’s got a good background. And that’s what I wanted in a coordinator, is a coordinator with versatility. Then it’s our job as coaches to figure out what is the best scheme for the guys we have in place.”
As for what Davis hopes to accomplish on defense this season?
“We’re going to try to keep the opposing offense on their heels instead of sitting back and letting everything be dictated to us,” Davis said. “We will, as a staff, find a way to keep them off-balance. “We’re not going to sit back and let them dictate what personnel we’ll be in. We’ll aggressively keep them off a rhythm.”
Whether or not he can accomplish this remains to be seen, but Davis believes he has the right coaches on staff to help get the job done.