IT'S LATE MAY and we're bored and impatient. The Monday night season opener against the Redskins still is 3 1/2 months away, but we want answers. Now. We want to know who the Eagles' starting quarterback will be. We want to know when the hotshot first-round offensive tackle will start taking snaps with the first team. We want to know how much they will run the ball and how much they will pass it. We want to know what Chip Kelly is putting in those damn smoothies. We want to know whether Danny Watkins is a dead man walking. We want to know whether DeSean Jackson will return punts. We want to know whether Trent Cole and Brandon Graham will be hand-in-the-dirt ends or stand-up linebackers. And we want to know exactly what kind of defensive scheme the Eagles will run this season. Yesterday seemed a perfect opportunity to get a definitive answer to that last question. The Eagles, per NFL rules, had to make their assistant coaches available to the media. That included defensive coordinator Billy Davis, who hadn't spoken to reporters since January. So, Bill. A 3-4? A 3-4 hybrid? What exactly would you call that thing we've been getting a peek at every third OTA? "Multiple is the best way to describe it," Davis said. "I know you guys are tired of hearing that. You want to hear that it's one or the other. "But really, what we're doing here is we're taking the wide-nine 4-3 and we're moving in the direction of the 3-4. But where we stop is yet to be determined by the players we have." The last time the Eagles used a 3-4 alignment as their base defense was 1985. Marion Campbell was the head coach. Davis was a freshman quarterback at the University of Cincinnati. My wife gave birth to our second child. Davis, now 47, spent his formative years as an NFL assistant working for longtime 3-4 maestros Dick LeBeau and Dom Capers. He's had two previous stints as a defensive coordinator with the 49ers (2005-06) and Cardinals (2009-10). Ran a 3-4 with the Niners and 3-4 hybrid commonly referred to as the 4-3 "Under" with the Cardinals. Even before OTAs began, many of the Eagles' offseason moves, including the free-agent signings of defensive lineman Isaac Sopoaga and outside linebacker Conner Barwin made it pretty clear the Eagles would be playing some version of a 3-4. But how much? Davis said we'll probably have to wait until a couple of weeks into training camp to find out that answer because, well, he doesn't even know yet. "Everybody out there has a system that has four down [linemen] and three down [linemen]," he said. "They use them at different times. How much we use any of them will be dictated by a) who we're playing and the offense we're trying to stop that week, and, first and foremost, who our guys are and what they do best."
Too soon to tell what kind of 'D' Eagles will have, says coordinator
Philly.com | May 24