Eagles Wake-Up Call: ‘You Always Walk the Plank’

Philadelphia Eagles secondary coach Todd Bowles.Jerry Glanville taught us that NFL stands for “Not For Long,” and everyone who signs up for the lifestyle knows it.

If you’re a coach, you’re going to get fired. If you’re lucky you’ll get another gig in another city, and you’ll move your family there and hope the stay is long enough to grow some roots. But it probably won’t be.

Given the transient nature of the profession, it is understandable that a coach would insulate himself and zero in only on the Sunday in front of him until he is told that there will be no more Sundays with his current team.

“I have no idea. I have no idea. I hope it’s good,” said special teams coach Bobby April, when asked what the future holds for him in Philadelphia. “I like living in the neighborhood over here on 20th Street. It’s a good place, plus the city’s a great place and the organization’s great. But I don’t know. I have no idea. I couldn’t tell you.”

Of course, most who follow the situation could tell April that his chances of staying on the Eagles coaching staff beyond this season are remote. Same for Marty Mornhinweg and Todd Bowles and their leader Andy Reid. All of these men have to recognize the reality of the situation, but they seem programmed in such a way where the valve that allows that type of thinking is turned off.

“I haven’t gone there. Sometimes, the end is the beginning of something new. However, I don’t think any of us have gone there,” said Mornhinweg. “We are trying to get – my responsibility is these players and making sure that we’re getting better every day. That is our whole focus here. This is what we do for a living and one of the only things I have ever done except for working at the gas station there in South San Jose in high school. This is what we do. It’s not very hard, I think, to keep our focus on this next ballgame and the game plan, making sure that we get better every day. This is an important time for many of our players, some veterans and some young guys. Very, very important for them this week. I take that part very, very seriously there.”

While the rest of us have moved straight past the Giants and onto the bigger issues at hand, players and coaches find real value in every game they play, regardless of whether it has playoff implications or not. A chance to teach, a chance to play, a chance to put quality work on tape. A chance to absorb some knowledge to help you in your next stop.

“I’ve learned a ton of football from Reid. I’ve learned a ton about treating people, about management,” said Bowles. “I’ve learned a ton from my players. I’ve learned different personalities. I’ve learned different schemes. I’ve learned different parts of the game, as far as people and how to use them and different pieces.”

Nobody has faced more questions about the inevitable end than Reid, who has fought hard to keep those thoughts out.

“It looks to me like he is thinking about nothing else other than this next ballgame. I’m saying he’s a rock. He pretty much motors through anything,” said Mornhinweg.

Reid will have to motor through a good deal more in the coming weeks. Like many of his assistants, he in all likelihood will be forced to relocate and start over. But in a coach’s mind that’s never far from your reality, so why not focus your energy on the task at hand while you’re still here?

“You always walk the plank as a coach,” said April. “No one’s infallible.”


Sheil takes a deeper look at Mike McCoy.

In the latest Twitter Mailbag, we throw some cold water on the idea that Michael Vick is dying to play for Chip Kelly.

Kapadia breaks out the All-22 tape to dissect Nick Foles‘ final performance of the 2012 season.

The Eagles were shut out in the Pro Bowl voting. Many believe that Evan Mathis deserved to make the team.

DeMeco Ryans explains why the label that he can’t play in a 3-4 is false advertising.


Don Banks of SI.com has a “Black Monday Primer” and gives  some names that the Eagles could target:

If Kelly doesn’t materialize in green, some within the league expect Lurie to take a page out of his past and try to identify the next Andy Reid: A young position coach or coordinator with obvious upside potential. Denver’s McCoy, Atlanta offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter or Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell might make the radar screen in Philly. And don’t overlook one of the league’s better special teams coaches, like San Francisco’s Brad Seely, Dallas’ Joe DeCamillis, San Diego’s Rich Bisaccia or Atlanta’s Keith Armstrong. Remember, the Eagles had John Harbaugh on their staff for years, and the former Philly special teams coach has led the Ravens to five playoff berths in his first five years on the job.

Alex Marvez of FoxSports lists 12 potential head coaching candidates, one of which is Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer:

The man knows defense. Cincinnati ranks second in the NFL in sacks with 47 and has 92 over the past two seasons. That total is only eight less than what the Bengals produced in their previous four seasons combined. Zimmer has achieved defensive success largely through the development of draft picks — led by Geno Atkins, whose 12.5 sacks lead all NFL defensive tackles by a wide margin.


Barring something unforeseen, Reid’s last practice as head coach of the Eagles.

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  • Johngiam

    The person who got screwed over in this entire mess is Todd Bowles. before coming here he was one of the highest brightest young minds in the league..he came highly touted from the big tuna himself. BOwles was regarded as a very good defensive coach, but he wasn’t allowed to even run anything close to the type of defense he was praised for…mid season they told him, you are the defensive coordinator, actually they told him you are the linebacker and secondary coordinator…..The Dline is going to use a GIMICKY system, that Bowles had no experience in whatsoever, and Bowles would have to coordinate around it…like that mite onestly bethe most dysfunctional situation I have seen in the NFL….Bowles hasn’t been able to run anything close to the defense that he has made a name off of. This isn’t the defense he would run if he was a real Dcoordinator with total absolute power that the other coordinator have…so we brought in a very bright young mind, and now he will leave, reputation DESTROYED and we have no idea what a real Todd Bowles defense is like. Gotta feel for the man. Andy has completely destroyed his career. Hopefully he gets the temple job

    • UncleCarm

      I agree that Bowles got a bad deal: asked to lead the defense without being allowed to actually run the defense the way he wants. I don’t agree that his career is destroyed. The folks in front offices that hire coaches, and head coaches around the league know the score, and propbably won’t hold it against him. He is probably knocked down a peg or two, but not knocked out.

      • Johngiam

        Hopefully you are right. he shouldn’t have his entire life’s work ruined because our genius head coach put him in a terrible position to coach around a defensive line scheme, that No coordinator in the league wanted to do, and something he had no expertise in….like you said, hopefully front office types no the deal…the as part is we had a bright young mind in pHadelphia, and he will probably leave.l.and we have no clue who he could have been as a coach…..please let’s not hire any more coaches or bring in any more players unless you are going to allow the to do what they do best, and what has made them successful for us to want to bring in to Philly!!! Hopefully Howie and Lurie learn from this

        • 1972

          i agree with your moves. i would rather have vaccoro over elam but he’ll be gone.. thats a hard hitting tough d for 2013

  • Johnny_P

    Simply put, the Eagles need to hire a Defensive Minded Coach. Mike Zimmer is my prohibitive #1 choice and I will explain why: Cincy D has consistently been good year after year since he’s been at the helm. Their play this year speaks for itself. I watched him on Hard Knocks a few years ago and players RESPECTED the guy, he commanded attention, he didn’t mess around and was not afraid to cut someone if they were effing up. l mean look at what he did with a guy like Adam Pacman Jones. A defensive philosophy is what the Eagles have been missing since the Buddy years and remember how fun it was? I fear that Chip Kelly hire is Andy Reid 2.0, gimmicky high flying offense, spreading ball out, call me oldschool but I think defense for organization, at this time, is a bigger concern.

    • Johngiam

      yeah but I was always under the impression that when you hire a defensive guy as your head coach, he focuses on the offense. Buddy was the only HC who said screw the offense, I will worry about the defense….if mike simmer is going to one in he and not focus on defense, then what’s the point? Rather have jay gruden coaching our offense then zimmer. But I would absolutely love zimmer as our dcoordinator

  • Sensei

    There aren’t a lot of people I don’t like for the job right now at least the guys being thrown around most on this site who is everybody else feeling?

  • daggolden

    I have a draft question. Im leaning towards Dee Milliner CB Alabama. My reasons are IMO only QBs, LT, CB and DT are top 5 picks for the most part. Since no QBs are worthy, Peters by all accounts will be ready to go and we just drafted Cox, CB is a glaring need. DRC will walk and Nnamdi stinks no matter if he takes a paycut or not. We need a stud CB. Hes is the best CB in draft, big, physical, likes to TACKLE. They compare him to Charles Tillman from Chicago. Build the defense. We need a stud CB.

    • Johngiam

      Star is my guy! Cox and sTar would be a true cornerstone to build a defense around. Those two applying pressure up the middle and gobbling up about 4 blockers, will make life so much easier for the ends and linebackers to fly around u touched and make plays, and for the ends to Putthe pressure and start teeing off on qbs forcing him to rush throws, which then makes life easier for the secondary.

      I’m no GM, but I would love to walk away from the first 3 rounds ofthe draft with:
      1) star Latululei
      2) Matt Elam (safety)
      3)Chase Thomas outside linebacker out of Stanford.

      I wold re-sign DRC…I believe much of his inconsistency comes from never being in a stable environment. I’m not ady to give u on a supreme young talent like him..and I would try to sig the corner TRUPHANT away from Seattle for a 1 year deal, throw a nice amount if change at him….to get us to next offseason when we can invest early drafticks in that stud corner of the future and the Offensive tackle…l

      • Johngiam

        It’s Friday, let’s play fantasy GM! Use plays that are available in this years draft, and players who cou,d be available in free agency and everyone post what their dream but realistic(Revis at cornerback is not alistic lol) defense for next year would be and how you got each player :
        Line: Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, sTar Latululei(1st rd draft pick), Cole/Curry
        linebackers| (Sam) Chase Thomas, stanford(3rd round draft pick), Dameco, Kendrick’s
        Secondary: DRC, Matt Elam safety(2nd round draft pick), Jarius Byrd (Free agent,Truphant (Free agent corner from Seattle)

        Believe me, iM not vain enough ti believe I can predict what our defense would like like next year..but it would be fun to see how everyone ideally envisions our defense to be…Indulge me!

        • 1972

          love the trufant pick up, then maybe we can get one of these lame corners off my team. i love thomas too. he was a beast in that oregon game

          • Johngiam

            I don’t know Truphants age. I know he is a very physical corner from a Seahawks team that I would love us to play like..oN offense and defense they Visciously Hit every single object that moves! That’s how football should be played in Philly…not sure how old Truphant is, but I don’t think he is young anymore, which is why I suggest a 1yr deal for him til we can get to the following offseason where we invest in a young corner…but If I’m wrong and Truphant is only like 27yrs old…I gladly sign him for 3 or 4 years!!!…I like Chase as a consolation prize for not getting Manti or Jarvis…more so then I like any defensive tackle as a consolation prize for Not getting Star Latululei, who I think we absolutely have to pair with Cox to form a special duo in the middle?…then in a dream land if you can pair Elam with Jarius Byrd at safety….you are a good defensive coordinator away from having a viscious young defense! Just my umbel oppinion. I’m no GM

    • Mike

      I can’t say I’ve watched a lot of college ball this year. Even though I don’t like that snake oil salesman Saban, he does not permit CBs to start forhim unless they are complete players- no guys who would rather run away from tackling. The problem from what I read, it doesn’t sound like Milliner is a stud CB necessarily, but he is the best of this year’s bunch. Don’t think he’s as highly rated as, say, Claiborne, and he hasn’t been that great for Dallas as 1972 pointed out below. Worry that he might not be a first day lock-down guy that you’d expect from a top-5 CB. At pick #4, I think they should have the choice at more impactful guys. Don’t get to pick top 5 very often- hopefully- have to make it count.

      • Mike

        Ha- guess I’m just assuming Eagles lose on Sunday and pick #4. If they do win vs. Giants then forget what I said.

        • 1972

          if we win i’ll be so disgusted. that ll ruin the entire draft for me

    • Septhinox

      Depends on how he looks at his combine/pro day, but yea, I generally agree.

  • 1972

    Taking dee milner as the first pick doesent work for me. i dont think he’ll be a instant impact. check out claiborne for dallas.I like star, or joekel at #1 maybe teo.

    • daggolden

      If we were picking 10th he would be a great pick but not at 4. I never understood that. Hes projected to go 4-10. Saying all that I would have no problem with any of the 3 you mentioned. Star, Joeckel or Teo.

      • 1972

        i get what ur saying dagg , 4 -10 isnt a big drop off it just doesnt feel right to me picking a corner that high . i have no explanation lol

  • glennboe

    If Bobby April has “no idea” if he is staying or not, then he is either not being honest, or is a bigger idiot than I thought. The special team coaching was the worst that has been seen here in well over 30 years.

  • daggolden

    After further review Joeckel is being considered the best LT to come out in the last 10 years. He may even go #1. Hes considered a cant miss. So if he is available I would definetly take him. But is thier one fan on here that doesnt know the Eagles will win tomorrow and draft 8-9.These players all have respect for AR and will try to send him off with a victory. grrrrrrr