For ten years, Jim Johson coordinated the defense in Philadelphia. Last year, as Johnson battled cancer, McDermott assumed the responsibilities.
Though the Eagles qualified for the playoffs, a former member of the starting defense recently said that he believes that players did not buy in to McDermott’s approach.
“I just think, we as a defense in Philadelphia, you just have to believe
in what coach
McDermott preaches and follow the plan,” cornerback Sheldon Brown told Howard Eskin and Ike Reese of WIP radio in Philly this week. “You know, sometimes I look back at last year, the season, I feel that
we had some players that really was questioning some of the things that
were being done. And [we] never had that situation since I’ve been
there. And first and foremost, you have to believe in the system,
believe in the plan, or you lose before you even go out there. And if
the guys can remember to do that, stick together, they’ll be fine.”
Sheil Kapadia of philly.com points out that Brown, who recently was traded to Cleveland, could have been referring to cornerback Asante Samuel, who apparently was unwilling to play press coverage in back-to-back losses to the Cowboys.
Brown had been unhappy before he was dealt, so it’s possible that his discontent tainted his view of the team in 2010. Still, it’s the first time that anyone has suggested that players in Philly possibly weren’t fully supporting the coaching they were receiving — and that could be one of the reasons why Brown, linebacker Chris Gocong, and defensive end Chris Clemons are now gone. It also could be one of the reasons why Samuel at one point was believed to be on the trading block.