Philadelphia Eagles Need Rex Ryan
By Nick Takacs
Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
The Philadelphia Eagles need to do something drastic and dramatic on their defensive front – so why not go after a Ryan. Yes, you heard me. Go out and court former New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan. He’s available after being dismissed by the Jets earlier this week. A strong defensive-minded coach, he’s consistently had top 10 defenses and could bring a much needed focus to the Eagles’ D.
While we can argue that the Birds problems this season occurred on both sides of the ball, a few defensive stands or well-defended pass plays would have notched an extra win or two. It may also have shifted the conversation at this point from the 2015 season to how far the team goes in this year’s playoffs. Ryan brings a long a strong personality, with a brashness that Eagles haven’t had for years. While head coach Chip Kelly brings a level of humor not seen during the Andy Reid era, Ryan would add a distinctive tone to a defense looking to forge an identity.
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Current news suggests Ryan will interview with both the Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers this coming week. Both could be interesting opportunities for Ryan. Whether either team could benefit from a defensive-focused coach isn’t worth discussing now. Kelly should at the very least reach out to gauge some interest. Ryan’s Jets visited the AFC Title game in back-to-back years with quarterback Mark Sanchez, a strong power running game, and a stout defense. Retooling the Eagles’ secondary, and letting Kelly get the offense clicking could prove a lethal combination in the NFC East.
Aside from all the defensive talk, Ryan would bring more knowledge of quarterback Mark Sanchez, assuming the Birds keep the quarterback on the roster for 2015. This could help Kelly and quarterback Nick Foles further craft an offense built on innovative concepts that opposing defenses haven’t seen. While I won’t go out and suggest a 2-QB system is the way to go, we saw this season Sanchez doing things that Foles wouldn’t and vice versa. Never hurts to have options.
At this point, it’s tough to see Ryan coming onboard to coach a defense. Perhaps New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan could take the defensive helm in Philly. While he hasn’t had the same level of success as his brother Rex, he has a defensive mind, and could help a defensive that already has some good pieces. Outside of the Ryans, the Eagles could potentially look to former Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen. Without any disrespect towards current Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis, something needs to change. The Eagles still lack a killer instinct, something teams like the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos bring each game. Teams just don’t fear the Birds’ defense.
The next few weeks will be interesting for the Birds. With the Falcons and 49ers eliminated from the playoffs as well as his former Jets, Rex Ryan is free to interview with those teams. Fortunately, with the Eagles out of the playoffs this year, they can get a jump on evaluating upgrades across the board. Kelly needs to make a statement this coming season, his 3rd in the NFL, and bring in someone to balance the humor and offensive genius with a bit of brashness and attitude. The fans want it. The city wants it. And if the Eagles hope to take their success and turn it into a championship, the team needs it now.