With some of the “outside the box” staff choices Andy Reid was making towards the end of his head coaching tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles, it’s interesting that NFL newcomer Chip Kelly went the exact opposite direction in building his core of assistants.
Reid’s ultimate Waterloo could be considered the move to switch offensive line coach Juan Castillo to defensive coordinator in 2011, in an assistant coaching market that featured plenty of proven defensive coordinators. A brilliant offensive mind, Reid left his defense in the all-time great hands of Jim Johnson for many years. Since Johnson grew ill and had to step down — and Steve Spagnuolo leaving for the New York Giants — it’s been a constant struggle for the Eagles to find a strong commander of the defense.
Now Kelly gets his crack at hiring a pro coaching staff and, unlike one of Reid’s final major hire, Kelly has gone largely conventional. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor and receivers coach Bob Bicknell are all seasoned with several years in the league and balance out Kelly’s radical high-tempo, zone-read approach.
Kelly’s one coaching hire that seems a little outside-the-box is defensive coordinator Bill Davis, who’s coming from the Cleveland Browns linebacker coach post. It’s not that Davis lacks pro experience but that he has plans to shift a perfectly fit 4-3 front to a 3-4 formation, which many experts are still scratching their head about.
Hopefully for Eagles fans and this talented front seven, the head-scratching will turn into back-patting on this defensive coaching decision.