General Patton tried to learn everything he could about his enemy. There is a great scene in the movie Patton after the general anticipates and counters Field Marshal Rommel's offensive attack; Patton exclaims, "Rommel, you magnificent bastard, I read your book!"
We know that coaches study game film and will review the same play over and over again, looking to gain an advantage by noticing tendencies or tip-offs from their counterparts. You can bet that Jason Garrett is pouring over game film now but he's going to have difficulty finding any game film on two of his division opponents.
The Redskins defensive coordinator Greg Blache is the only returning DC in the East. (If you count Wade as a change for Brian Stewart). He's in his second year as the defensive coordinator for the ‘Skins and he has another five years in charge of the Bears defense from 1999 to 2003. The Redskins have had solid defenses since Blache took the helm. The year before he took over (2006) the Redskins defense ranked 31st, in Blache's first year (2007) they climbed to 8th and then to 4th in overall defense in 2008. With his leadership and some offseason acquisitions the ‘Skins defense will be a challenge for Garrett this season.
The other two coordinators in the East won't have any actual game film as coordinators for Garrett to work off.
Make the jump.
Philadelphia's Sean McDermott and New York's Bill Sheridan are both in their inaugural seasons as defensive coordinators.
The Eagles Jim Johnson has been a master of the game for a long time. He is battling cancer and we all hope and pray for his recovery but I think the team appointment of Sean McDermott as interim DC indicates that Johnson is expected to be out for a considerable amount of time. McDermott has served as the longest tenured Philadelphia defensive assistant coach on the team. In his ten years working closely with Johnson, you have to expect that McDermott learned quite a few things. Before the Cowboys officially named Wade as their DC I was suggesting that we go after Sean McDermott as our defensive coordinator. With McDermott's long experience working under Johnson, he's well-positioned to carry on the Eagles defensive philosophy.
Bill Sheridan was most recently the linebackers coach for the Giants, working under former DC Steve Spagnuolo who took over as the new head coach of the Rams. Sheridan is fifty years old and although he has 29 years in coaching most of his career has been in college. Coach Sheridan is only in his fifth season in the NFL and his first ever as a defensive coordinator. I am sure Sheridan is a sharp guy with a lot of talent, but McDermott will have the shorter learning curve of the two rooks.
Both rookie coaches will find themselves on the hot seat this year. The temperature level goes up significantly when you are responsible for calling the correct play. Just as a rookie cornerback gets singled out and tested, you can bet the rookie coaches will too.
It is Garrett's third year as Cowboys OC. Will he be able to handle Greg Blache and the two rookies, or will they take him to school?