This defense needs a lot of work. There is no question about that. However, when Andy Reid had nothing but praise for defensive coordinator Sean McDermott:
“I thought that guy, my hat is off to him. That’s a tough thing that he did. He’s not into excuses. I’m not into excuses, but just looking at it realistically – to replace a legend in Jim Johnson at the time that it took place, with a very limited offseason and doing what he wanted to establish in his way, and then with some of the coaching changes and new staff members and then with the players, some of the injuries that they had there. I just thought that he handled that whole thing so well and gracefully.”
You do have to agree with this to an extent. First of all, he was thrust into the position after the death of Jim Johnson. When this happened, you knew you couldn’t expect the Eagles defense to be made much better. Johnson was one of the best in the business and McDermott had tough shoes to fill. Speaking of tough shoes to fill, the Eagles were forced to find someone to step in for Brian Dawkins. This guy was a leader on the defense for over a decade and should find himself in the Hall of Fame someday. We all know how tough it would be to replace him, and then we saw first hand how tough it really was. It took three guys to try to fill the position and none of them were a long term solution. Looking at it now, you still have to wonder how the situation is going to play out.
Shoes that turned out just to be as hard to fill were Stewart Bradley’s. When he went on IR before the season started, I knew it was a big loss. However, I don’t think I realized just how bad it could be. McDermott fooled around with a million different lineups, brought back Jeremiah Trotter, and none of it worked. Bradley’s return to the middle next year will be huge and there will need to be some decisions made on how to fill out the other two spots.
McDermott was forced to deal with a lot of adversity this year, but I think he handled it all quite well. The last two games of the season definitely put our sour taste in our mouths but winning 11 games in the regular season is pretty impressive. You do have to give McDermott credit for the season he had; however, I’m interested to see what he can do to improve the unit for next seasons.