Some surprising news on Monday morning, as the Eagles are reportedly losing another key assistant coach.
This time, the Detroit Lions are poaching defensive backs coach Cory Undlin to become their defensive coordinator. The Eagles’ secondary has been decimated by injuries in the last two years and has been mostly disappointing, but filling this position will be very important.
Here are a few of the Eagles’ options to replace Undlin:
Dino Vasso: Of the internal candidates, Vasso seems to be the most likely guy to get the job. He has been a defensive quality control coach/assistant secondary coach for all four years under Doug Pederson and Jim Schwartz. Before that, he was with Pederson in Kansas City as a coaching assistant for three years. A graduate of Ridley High School, Vasso played at the University of New Hampshire but then began his coaching career as an offensive intern at Temple in 2011. Vasso coached the DBs at the East-West Shrine Game a few years ago and has been thought of as a rising coach.
Last season, the Eagles filled their two position coach opening with the assistant position coach. One worked (Phillip Daniels at DL) and one didn’t (Carson Walch at WRs). After the Eagles fired Mike Groh and Walch, who were both internal promotions, there’s been a clamor to hire outside coaches. I understand that but it doesn’t mean all internal hires are bad. Vasso should at least get consideration.
Tim Hauck: Another obvious internal candidate is Hauck, who has been the Eagles’ safeties coach since 2016. Hauck, 53, is certainly more experienced than Vasso. He had a long playing career in the NFL and has been coaching since 2004. Before he came to Philly in 2016, Hauck was UNLV’s DC/CBs coach and held the DBs coach title in Cleveland in 2012.
Matt Burke: The last internal candidate is Burke, who joined Schwartz’s staff as a defensive special assistant in 2019. While he’s been sort of in an advisory role, this is a move that could get him onto the core coaching staff. A longtime Schwartz assistant, Burke was the Dolphins’ DC in 2017-18. His history as a position coach has come as a linebackers coach but he played safety at Dartmouth and would likely be able to make the transition.
Kris Richard: The Cowboys are reportedly going to let the 40-year-old walk. He’s a hot name in the NFL. Richard was the secondary coach in Seattle during the Legion of Boom years and then became the Seahawks’ DC in 2015-17. He had been with the Cowboys since 2018 as their DBs coach and passing game coordinator. The problem with someone like Richard is he’s likely going to keep rising. So he could theoretically be a great DBs coach for one year in Philly and then move on to a DC or HC job.
Ray Horton: The 59-year-old coach spent the 2019 season with Washington but Ron Rivera isn’t keeping him on the staff. Unless the Browns want to bring Horton back for a third stint as their defensive coordinator, he’s available. He has significant experience as a secondary coach and a defensive coordinator.
Donnie Henderson: Henderson is 62 now but he was once the DC for the Jets and Lions back in the early 2000s. In Schwartz’s one season as DC in Buffalo in 2014, Henderson was his defensive backs coach, so there’s familiarity here. Henderson most recently was the defensive coordinator for the Salt Lake Stallions of the AAF.
Perry Fewell: The veteran coach finished the 2019 season as the Panthers interim head coach and even interviewed for the real job before Carolina hired Matt Rhule. Another coach with an impressive resume as a DBs coach and a defensive coordinator.
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