The Eagles never-ending coaching search had zeroed in on another candidate. Marquand Manuel.
Who the heck is that? That was probably your first reaction. Well, Manuel has been the defensive coordinator for the Falcons since 2017.
Prior to that, the 40-year-old assistant was in charge of coaching up the secondary in Atlanta. He spent eight seasons in the NFL as a defensive back.
On Saturday, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that the Eagles had indeed hired Manuel to be their next defensive backs coach.
Philadelphia needed a defensive backs coach and Manuel interviewed for the job on Friday, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. The Eagles weren’t expected to waste any time and didn’t by ending their search on Saturday evening.
While Manuel was a pretty pedestrian defensive coordinator, he was always considered one of the better secondary coaches in the league. In 2015, Atlanta ranked 18th in the NFL in passing defense after allowing 242.6 yards per game and 19 touchdowns. Their 15 total interceptions were 10th-best.
The coach saw the numbers drop considerably during the Falcons’ Super Bowl run in 2016 — 266.7 yards per game, with only 12 interceptions. Still, Manuel was respected enough to warrant a promotion to defensive coordinator. His units severely underperformed and the coach was fired on Dec. 31, 2018.
Making Sense of Manuel’s Potential in Philadelphia
Other than the great name — shout out to former Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel — how should Eagles fans feel about Marquand Manuel?
Obviously, his tenure didn’t end well in Atlanta but it wasn’t all his fault. Head coach Dan Quinn has a defensive background and largely dictates the gameplan and play-calling.
Injuries decimated the Falcons’ defense in 2019 as the team fell toward the bottom of the league and ranked 20th in overall defense. Their passing defense was actually better than advertised at No. 10. Either way, Manuel remains a hot name in NFL circles due to his previous stint in Seattle under Pete Carroll.
Manuel was quick to defend his job performance, too. He told the Gwinnett Daily Post in Georgia that his 2019 unit was the best defense he had in 20 years.
The newspaper wrote: “I know one thing, I’ve coached this defense to the best they’ve had in 20 years,” Manuel told reporters. “With that being said, everyone is evaluated, which is a part of why we do this job. And things of that nature will take care of themselves, as they always will.”
Manuel was referring to the 2017 campaign when the Falcons finished in the top 10 in both scoring defense and total defense for the first time since 1998. This season, Atlanta played nearly all of the season without two Pro Bowlers — safety Keanu Neal (knee) and linebacker Deion Jones (foot) — as well as safety Ricardo Allen (Achilles)
Matt Burke Primed to Take Over Defensive Line Coach
Matt Burke remains the front-runner to take over as defensive line coach for the Eagles. According to Eagles Insider Adam Caplan, Burke will be promoted to the new title — barring any last-minute surprises — and he’s even planning to bring a familiar name along with him. Jeremiah Washburn will be assistant defensive line coach under Burke.
Washburn is the son of former Eagles defensive line coach Jim Washburn, a guy who once referred to himself as the “anti-Christ” in Philadelphia. He was blamed for late-season collapses after his fabled “Wide 9” scheme was deemed a failure by many in the media in 2011 and 2012.
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