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The Eagles have reportedly found their new defensive backs coach.
Former Jets defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson is taking the same position with the Eagles, according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini.
Wilson, 38, had been the Jets’ defensive backs coach since 2017. In 2019, the title of passing game coordinator was added to his title. But with Robert Saleh taking over in New York, he’s bringing in his own staff, which made Wilson available.
In Philadelphia, Wilson will take over for Marquand Manuel. The former Falcons defensive backs coach and defensive coordinator lasted just one year under Jim Schwartz, who stepped away after the season. Manuel last year replaced Cory Undlin, who took the DC job in Detroit but just recently accepted a position with the 49ers.
Wilson has been a coach in the NFL since 2012, when he joined the Rams as a quality control coach. In a few seasons (2015), he was promoted to defensive backs coach and held that position for two years before joining the Jets.
The Jets obviously haven’t been very good in recent years, but here’s where they ranked in pass defense since Wilson took over:
Again, I wouldn’t read too much into that. And it’s also important to note that when Adam Gase took over for Todd Bowles in 2019, he kept Wilson on staff.
Wilson went to DeMatha Catholic before playing safety at Maryland. He went undrafted and spent some time with Washington in 2004, but never built a long NFL career.
After his short-lived NFL career, Wilson coached Rodney McLeod at DeMatha and then later coached McLeod with the Rams from 2012-2015 before McLeod joined the Eagles in 2016.
There are plenty of questions about the Eagles’ secondary heading into 2021. Darius Slay will be back for Year 2, but will they really run back Avonte Maddox at CB2? At safety, McLeod is coming back from an ACL tear and Jalen Mills is scheduled to be a free agent. Oh yeah, and the Eagles don’t really have any cap space for free agency. But this group is still very likely to change.
Before becoming a coach, Wilson was a pro scout for the Bears from 2008-11. Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon was a college and pro scout during the same time frame with the St. Louis Rams. But that’s about where the obvious connections end.
While many of these new coaches have close ties to Nick Sirianni or Gannon, it doesn’t appear that Wilson does.
At least Wilson is under 30, which also seems to be a new requirement for the Eagles. They are building an incredibly young staff. The only known coaches over the age of 40 are OL coach Jeff Stoutland, TEs coach Jason Michael and DL coach Tracy Rocker.
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