Sheldon Brown suggests Eagles didn't buy in to Sean McDermott's coaching

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 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.

32 responses to “Sheldon Brown suggests Eagles didn't buy in to Sean McDermott's coaching

  1. It’s not McDermott’s fault….Father of the Year Andy Reid jumped the shark 5 years ago and the players have tuned his fat ass out ever since. Anyone that would let Brian Dawkins go, a class act, and sign dog killer Vick should be immediately removed.

  2. Duh! Could there be any doubt, given the way that defense played. McDermott was trying to out-clever his mentor. No doubt, his schemes were complicated and there was to much specialization and situational substitutions. Don’t you at some point have to pick 11 guys and let them play and see who emerges and who should sit the bench? McDermott was mixing and matching and never got any continuity going in there. Same with the offensive line. Until they settled on 5 offensive linemen, they were having trouble establishing rhythm on the line, not that it was that good anyway.

  3. Cant say i blame Eagles Defefense here, they had about 12 different combinations for starting linebackers last season. Moving Gocong from Sam to Mike to the bench, Joe Mays from Starting Mike to bench, Will Witherspoon played all 3 at one time or another and Akeem Jordan Bounced back and forth between Will and Mike. Free safety seemed to be whomever played best in the last game between Sean Jones and Macho Harris.
    As far as Asante Samuel not playing press coverage or takling, he wasnt the only Eagle that couldn’t takle last season and I’d rather not see him in press coverage when his strength is playing off and reading the QB ( 9 int’s last year ).
    Kyle Wilson, Everson Griffen and Darryl Washington with their first 3 picks in the draft should help.

  4. in other shocking news…..
    Asante Samuel hits like a wet blanket, and jumps routes too often….

  5. Reid is unwavering in his support of long-term assistant coaches. But Ray Charles could see that McDermott is no Jim Johnson. Johnson commanded respect. Players trusted his judgement implicitly and never questioned his schemes and reasoning. They didn’t have the stones. How, and in what ways did McDermott earn the spot he now holds? Maybe he learned under Johnson tutelidge, but he is in his thirties, never played pro ball and essentially started out on the bottom rung and worked his way up. Reid always wants to promote from when possible, but in this case, don’t you reach out for another grizzled Johnson type who has actually gotten it done as a coordinator at the pro level to fill such big shoes, rather than cut half your defense loose because they are lost in a rookie coordinator’s scheme.

  6. it was the guys first year as a professional defensive coach, granted he’s been on the sidelines helping out and learning under Jim Johnson but it takes time to be a great coach you don’t know everything your first year

  7. Asante samuel is not on the trade block, and never was. and Sheldon STFU…You proved that money was your main passion, not winning.

  8. Sheldon is nothing but a professional, so I doubt his view was “tainted”. I could definitely see certain players not buying into McDermott’s system. Guys like Asante, who gamble constantly on the field, can be curbed to a degree by a someone like Jim Johnson who had complete control over his players. McDermott, who I see as an up-and-coming mind in the NFL, might have had some trouble with these same guys (or guy) because of the fact that he was the new kid on the block. Hopefully everyone buys into the system this year, otherwise Kolb and the offense will have to score more points than expected.

  9. i’m glad the eagles finally brought into the notion that Brown can’t cover and got rid of his ass

  10. As a Pats fan, I was very surprised the Eagles wanted Samuel to begin with. Samuel is the exact same player in Philly as he was in NE. I was asked about him by some Eagles fans at the time they got him and I said if you like a CB who will make 5-8 big plays a year but won’t tackle anyone or cover anyone or play physical at any time and will get burnt by gambling too much…he’s your man. Same guy.

  11. # Akshun says: April 10, 2010 2:27 PM
    it was the guys first year as a professional defensive coach, granted he’s been on the sidelines helping out and learning under Jim Johnson but it takes time to be a great coach you don’t know everything your first year
    I agree. Of course he was going to be under the microscope filling the shoes that he was filling. In the 2nd Cowboys game I as a fan was frustrated with the lack of blitzing.
    I theorize that it rooted from the Cowboys in Week 9 successfully running the WR screen several times, and the Broncos doing in the Week before the 2nd Cowboys game. Sure you have to also ask – did this MO come down from Reid/Banner/the Brass (yes Banner is not a coach, but there were also the rumors that Donovan’s benching against the Ravens came from upstairs as well).
    This of course would make sense that he was also asking Samuel to play press (not his strong point at all).
    But it has to be taken in consideration the constant unsteadiness at all LB positions, LE, FS, nickel, dime, Sheldon was hurt most of the year, and the fact that not only Johnson was gone but also Dawk.
    I’m not ready to write McDermott off yet, and you’ve got to look at it from all perspectives before pre judging the situation – these guys were used to listening to a guy who was considered “master of the blitz”, not to mention getting fired up by Dawkins. For guys like Sheldon to have to move to a guy who is not that much older than they are – well that doesn’t always work without a hitch, especially when things aren’t going all roses.
    Jim Johnson started out in 1977, and didn’t really get recognition until 1998 with the Seahawks, then subsequently joining the Eagles to make this D what it has been for the last 10 years.
    In a league where so many are willing to say “growing pains”, I’m willing to let McDermott have his.

  12. ever consider it takes a rookie coach more than one year of experience to get to the level of one of the best coordinators ever in Jim Johnson?
    we didnt get rid of anyone because they didnt believe in McDermott, like some of you more uninformed posters are suggesting. Gocong was BENCHED, he degressed at SAM and was a weak point, Chris Clemons had 2 good games in his career here and was way overpaid—-the fact that we got value in return for those 2 players is terrific because they were borderline useless.
    Sheldon was traded because he is getting older and grumbling about his contract. It was smart to get value for now, instead of holding on a year, when he would be 32 and who knows what kind of year he would have. Those players were moved because they needed to be.

  13. I said this right after the Eagles said Mcdermott was the new D Cord. “will they trust him”. Now I say this about Kolb, when he has a bad game under him and the fans and the media gets on him and also he knows Vick is waiting in the wings how will he respond, can he handle being a franchise QB?

  14. This was the softest, most non-aggresive defense I can remember. I think part of it had to be the scheme and coaching. Plus, Reid’s penchant for bringing in soft players like Asante and slow-footed safeties.
    Stop it with Vick, he’s a total non-factor. There is as much chance as Rodney Peete coming back as Vick playing more than 3 snaps a game.
    It’s ridiculous to even talk about a guy who plays

  15. The whole team is getting younger by the day, it wont be hard to get all the guys on the same page
    Asante is the only “good problem” that have.
    The whole D is in shambles with no clear cut picture as to who’s going to start…..let alone at what position…
    The only benefit from all this chaos is that when things are re-settled everyone will have to buy into the scheme or they are gonna be gone. Kinda makes them go with the flow

  16. Defense matched their offensive play-calling.
    Take risks at random times and hope to capitalize.
    Shotgun on 3 & 1. Blitz everyone on 1st and 10.
    Looked brilliant at times and just plain odd at others.

  17. Considering Philly got demolished by some teams, I can see this
    It usually happens when an ultra-successful coach leaves and a new guy comes in

  18. wolfgang1983 says:
    April 10, 2010 3:58 PM
    ever consider it takes a rookie coach more than one year of experience to get to the level of one of the best coordinators ever in Jim Johnson?
    Sometimes it takes no more than a year to find out your D has tuned the DC out. Not so sure that hasn’t happened to Reid too. Let’s see if this is a born again groupo with all the changes, or it goes like I predict it will and they go 8-8 or worse, due to a putrid defense, poorly coached. Reid will have to eat a heaping helping of humble pie if his DC was the wrong choice. Too green to rebuild a defense with players selected by an offensive head coach and a lawyer.

  19. Sheldon is stating the obvious. JJ was a genius when it came to Defense. Sean McD, just had a taste this year, Plus with all the Injuries it was hard for him to run the traditional JJ scheme. We should see a much better Def this year!

  20. @tombrookshire
    Why would reid have to eat “humble pie” if McDermott doesnt pan out?? I could see that being true if Reid forced out Jim Johnson, or fired him, but no, sady JJ passed away and reid was suddenly and unexpectedly left without a DC. Based on wht Jim Johnson has done with his under-studies before (for example Jim Harvaugh, Steve Spagnoulo, Leslie Frazier and Ron Rivera) it would be smart to think McDermott could be a great coach—-and it was smarter for Reid to promote within and get a guy who knows the players and scheme instead of hiring a new guy that would change everything and didnt work under JJ. You act like Reid did something crazy here, but he didnt. If McDermott doesnt work out that will suck, but it WILL NOT be some big knock on Reid, he made the logical hire when suddenly presented with a huge unexpected hole on his coaching staff.
    On top of that, last season’s Eagles defense was one of the lesser talented groups in the past 10 years. Sheldon played hurt almost all year, Brian Dawkins and his leadership were gone and there was no real FS to take his spot—–which then hurt Q Mikell big time, Dawkins leaving turned the safety duo from one of the best to mediocre at best. The LB group lost its best player and leader before the season started in bradley and starting SAM Gocong took a huge step backwards. They were in shambles all year and the Eagles lacked a real MIKE or SAM all season. The failure of Victor Abiamiri to progress hurt bigtime, because Cole is amazing but he ot doubled EVERY play and opposing teams could do that because Parker/Abiamiri didnt scare anyone. Last year was a huge season of transition—–losing Dawkins and Bradley, plus Jim Johnson hurt bigtime, add that with injuries and expecting McDermott to do any better than he did in his first season as DC is just ridiculous.
    Now, looking forward, McDermott will have a season under his belt and will be much more confident and comfortable in his role. The front 7 already is in much better shape and we havent even got to the draft yet. the addition of Darryl Tapp inmproves DE greatly, and when teams try to focus on Cole now Tapp will be able to exploit that. Tapp immediately improves the run stopping, hustle, drive and pass rush at LDE, plsu Juqua Parker now can be used in a rotational role where he will be much more valuable. Also having Stewart Bradley, the young leader and talented MIKE, improves the front 7 greatly. Also, the addition of Alex Hall in the trade with the browns gives the Eagles another much needed player at SAM. Hall has tremendous athletic ability but he is raw. At times Hall outplayed Kamerion Wimbley, a former 1st rounder, while at Cleveland. Hall will have to transition to 4-3 SAM but imo he has a ton of ability and could be a imporvement over Gocong if he wins the job. If we can draft a solid SAM prospect, then let that rookie battle with Moises Fokou and Hall at SAM our linebackers are already much improved which was our biggest weakness last season
    Looking towards the draft the Eagles have picks 24+37+55+70+87……if we can add Sean Weatherspoon at 24, Devin McCourty at 37, Nate Allen at 55, Corey Wootten at 70 and AJ Edds at 87 then our defense could be really set up to be terrific in the future. Sean Weatherspoon would immediately be a huge improvement at WILL and would provide that leadership and playmaking ability that the Eagles need since Dawkins leaving. Add in AJ Edds at 87 who is a great SAM prospect and the LB group would be INFINITELY more talented than in 2009. The Eagles would have Edds/Fokou at SAM, Bradley at MIKE and Weatherspoon at WILL—-that would be a awesome oung group with 2 top level leaders. Then adding McCourty at 37 would add a terrific man to man cover corner that could play nickel and compete for no.2 CB as a rookie—provide depth and be a great starter imo in the future. Nate Allen imo is the 3rd best safety prospect without a doubt, and would give the Eagles a real free safety with a complete game—-not only would that improve the FS play alot, it would also help Quinten Mikell return to all pro form like he was in 08. Mikell was asked to do too much and didnt have any help in 09, but Allen would give him a super talented center field mate. Then, adding a big, strong pass rusher like Corey Wootten would give the Eagles the depth and rotational value the Eagles need on the d-line. Wootten could immediatley fill the Darren Howard role, he could rotate in at LDE and RDE, and also line up at under tackle on passing situations. Wootten is a big DE that is versatile and very strong at the point of attack but also is a terrific pass rusher.
    so, when you look at it, with McDermott coming back and being better suited in his 2nd year, the additions the Eagles have made via trades and getting injured players back, and having a good draft and this defense could be WAY improved in 10 and set up for a long time with the foundation of a great defense being drafted in this draft

  21. Yea…the eagles are gonna draft defense 5 straight picks….Come on man! I would be happy as hell if he did but Reid will not be able to resist drafting an O-lineman…

  22. PFT – what’s up with the man love with the Burger King? Eskin’s been irrelevant in Philly for years. 97.5 The Fanatic is where the sports talk and info is in Philly. Missanelli’s got it all over the wannabe.

  23. It’s astounding to me that a player who makes as much money as Samuel does will dictate to his coach what sort of defense he is and isn’t willing to play. We need more Sheldons and less Asantes.

  24. Eagles are done. Their front running fans, like Lowell Rikert, will never enjoy a super bowl victory. Welcome to last place Philly.

  25. Philly has gotten rid of all its Super Heroes the last 2 years.
    Weapon X- Brain Dawkins is gone
    Ultimate Warrior- Sheldon Brown is gone
    Super 5- Donovan Mcnabb is gone
    I think if the can convince Desean to change his name to the Flash they will be fine other wise this team is gonna have trouble.

  26. Floriosadouchebag says: “Eagles are done. Their front running fans, like Lowell Rikert, will never enjoy a super bowl victory. Welcome to last place Philly.”
    Yes, Eagles fans are front-runners. They all jumped on-board when the Eagles won all of those Super Bowls.

  27. Hmmm…I didn’t know Jim Johnson was battling cancer last year…I could have sworn he passed away before the season started (R.I.P JJ). Hate to nitpick but that is too big of a slipup to start an article with.

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