Philadelphia Eagles: Billy Davis Trying To Find His Niche

By Joseph Hickman
Santana Moss Washington Redskins touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles
Howard Smith-USATodaySports

As we all know, there has been a ton of turnover on the Philadelphia Eagles‘ defensive side of the ball, not to mention a totally different scheme. The Eagles’ defense needed a change in the worst way. Last year’s defense ranked 29th in points allowed and 15th in yards against.

In the past two seasons (2011-12) they ranked 30th (2011) and 31st (2012) in takeaway/giveaway ratio. Yup, not so good.

You will likely have a completely different secondary, unless Nate Allen and/or Kurt Coleman sneak in and start again. I just got sick to my stomach writing that. All of the linebackers are basically rotating right now to see who fits where. Plus, you may have Clifton GeathersFletcher Cox and Isaac Sopoaga as the Eagles’ three down linemen (3-4 base) starters.

I am not sure if the Eagles’ defense will be any better this year. What I do think is that they will be more physical. The players they have brought in the offseason on the defensive side of the ball are known to be very physical. Now, it’s the new defensive coordinator Billy Davis’ job to bring all the pieces together. Can he do it?  Who knows.

Davis, who has 21 years of NFL coaching experience and was the linebackers coach of the Cleveland Browns the past two seasons, also has been a defensive coordinator for Arizona Cardinals (2009-10) and San Francisco 49ers (2005-06).

He struggled in San Fran. In 2005  his defense ranked 30th in points allowed and 32nd in yards against. In 2006 his defense ranked 32nd in points allowed and 26th yards against … but at that time, the 49ers were a depleted franchise in terms of talent. I am not sure if any defensive coordinator could have changed that.

When he was hired in 2009 by the Cards, he fared much better. The Cards (2009) had the highest mark in interceptions (21), which was their highest mark as a franchise since 1994. Also in 2009, his defense allowed 325 points (one of the lowest totals in the history of their franchise).

Then in 2010, the Cards had 12 return touchdowns (seven fumble returns, three interception returns, two kickoff returns), which is the second-highest single-season total in NFL history. However, they also ranked 29th overall in defense in 2010, though that could be because of Kurt Warner retiring after the 2009 season.

The Cards had the 31st-ranked offense in 2010 and we all know what a terrible offense can do to a defense.  It leaves a defense facing extra possessions through out a game.

So its seems as if the jury is still out on Davis, and that seems very fitting for this Eagles team this year.

Joseph Hickman is a Philadelphia Eagles writer for Follow him on Twitter @phillytugger, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+.

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