On the last day of the season when the Green Bay Packers were beating the Eagles, I had heard that the Birds front office had their doubts about defensive coordinator Sean McDermott. Two charges were made against McDermott and that’s what ultimately cost him his job.
The complaints centered around him making his schemes “Too Complex”.
They didn’t like the way he had made the defensive coverages so complicated that some of the rookies couldn’t get on the field. Rookie cornerback Trevard Lindley was a key to the argument. He had been kept on the bench because of the complexity of the coverages, as veteran corners Ellis Hobbs, Joselio Hanson and Dimitri Patterson were roasted at the right cornerback position.
Although most of us look at the Eagles secondary and say they didn’t have enough talent, the front office thought McDermott didn’t get that talent, in this case, Lindley, on the field. Would Lindley have been the answer at right cornerback? I don’t know but we’ll probably find out next season.
You can read between the lines, that obviously the front office felt that the young defensive talent is better than it looked and will improve under somebody other than McDermott. Could it be that some of the people in the front office who voted to get rid of McDermott and believe the defensive talent is better than it looked, had a hand in drafting that defensive talent?
The second charge the front office made against McDermott was his habit of dropping defensive ends and other pass rushers into pass coverage. They thought he was trying to do too much with his defensive schemes. Again they thought he was making the schemes too complex. Pro Bowl defensive end Trent Cole did express a problem with the way he was being used and that surely didn’t help McDermott’s case during the meetings to decide his fate.
As I see it, McDermott was constructing all of these blitzes to put pressure on the passer and coverages to confuse them because his front four couldn’t get there on its own. Brandon Graham, Daniel Te’o Nesheim and Ricky Sapp may one day put pressure on quarterbacks, but they weren’t ready to do it yet. The front office felt these youngsters were ready to get the job done, but they weren’t utilized properly, so they held McDermott responsible for the lack of a pass rush.
I don’t think those are strong arguments against McDermott, but there are reasons you could give him his walking papers.
I think the biggest problem McDermott had and the reason nobody could save him was the 370 points that his defense allowed and the nearly 80% of successful touchdown drives which his defense surrendered when teams got into the Eagles red zone. I didn’t think they were attacking enough in the red zone.
Too many times the defenders were playing passively. You must attack in the red zone and give the offense only a split second to make a play. I would agree with the “Too Complex” argument against McDermott in the red zone. Clearly this charge sticks in this case.
The Eagles defensive players were thinking and reacting far too much with their backs to goalline, as opposed to attacking and forcing the offense to make quick decisions.
Nobody can deny that the defense struggled in the red zone when they allowed offenses to get into the end zone at a pace not seen in the NFL in three decades. Anytime you start setting records for futility, somebody has to walk.
My question is, how could veteran coaches like Reid and Dick Jauron fail to make the corrections in the red zone.
This is the second season in a row that the front office had a problem with one of Reid’s players or coaches. Last year it was Donovan McNabb who was sent packing. This year it’s McDermott. Next year if the Birds make the playoffs and lose their first game, somebody else will take the fall and he’ll probably weigh a lot more than Sean McDermott.
It seems that in the past the front office believed everything that Reid told them, that’s not the case anymore and Reid’s decision-making authority is decreasing year by year. Next year he might not even get a vote.
On a side note: McDermott’s defense doesn’t look too bad when you compare the job the Eagles defense did against the Packers and the 31 for 36 for 366 yards and 3 touchdowns, which Aaron Rodgers and his receivers put on Atlanta. 21-16 looks a lot better 48-21.
What do you guys think about the firing? Make sure to join me on 610-WIP tonight Sunday 7pm-11pm. I’ll be talking about the firing of McDermott and the NFL playoffs.