Posted on: July 29, 2009 12:20 am

Eagles DC Jim Johnson Belongs in the Hall of Fame

The NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio currently does not allow coordinators into its doors.

I have a feeling that will change after the passing of Eagles defensive guru Jim Johnson, who passed away today after a long battle with cancer at the age of 68.

Normally top coordinators get head coaching jobs and eventually get their shot at Canton. But Jim Johnson was a different breed. When Andy Reid hired him as Defensive Coordinator in 1999, Johnson relished in that role. He took many of his top and up and coming assistants under his wing and that gave them oppurtunities for coordinator and head coaching positions in the NFL. His coaching tree as a defensive coordinator is as large as any coach's in the NFL today.

John Harbaugh led the Baltimore Ravens to the playoffs last year in his first year as a head coach. Steve Spagnuolo became the DC for the Giants before becoming the head coach of the Rams. San Diego's Ron Rivera and Minnesota's Leslie Frazier are both DC's for their respective teams. If you add current Eagles DC Sean McDermott, who replaced Johnson officially earlier this week, that's five coaches.

I'd like to see how many other coordinators have that kind of resume/coaching tree. Jim Johnson loved to teach and mentor his assistants and so many became successful because of him. But few could ever beat the master at his own game.

But as of right now, this master can not enter the Hall of Fame. Coordinators aren't allowed in, only head coaches. There's an exception for owners/team contributors which would include front office staff, but right now, I don't see a way the Johnson can get into Canton, and that's a real shame. In my opinion, forget the fact that I'm an Eagles fan, no coordinator in the history of the NFL had a bigger impact with a team than in Johnson's ten years with the Eagles. Without Jim Johnson, the Eagles mini-dynasty never happens, because that defense hasn't lost a step in 10 years, no matter who is on the field.

Jim Johnson's gravestone should have something about blitzing on it if the fans had their way. I think his family will forego that idea, but his legacy in Philadelphia will always be centered around his blitz-packages that confounded offenses and coaches for a decade in Philadelphia. Even in the non-playoff years for the Eagles, his defenses were still among the best in the NFL. He was well-liked throughout the NFL and the media alike, and this day will bring sadness to many hearts across the nation, not just in Philly.

So here's to the greatest coordinator in the history of the NFL. Here's to a genius that will still manage to put a weakside linebacker in your backfield, no matter where he is. Here's to a great person who will be missed by family, friends, players and fans alike. Here's to another reason why we should find a cure for cancer. But most importantly of all, here's to Jim Johnson, one of the great icons of Philadelphia football, who legacy and memory will never leave Philadelphia.

RIP Jim Johnson, 1941-2009

- Eagle

Category: NFL
Posted on: April 25, 2009 11:32 pm

NFL/Eagles Draft Recap - Day 1

I am more than willing to admit that I am not Mel Kiper Jr. However, that's not going to stop me from trying. First, a few thoughts on my team, the Philadelphia Eagles.

Rd. 1, Pick 19 (19 OVR): Jeremy Maclin, WR, Mizzou

As the Eagles moved up to 19 to make this pick, I figured they were going after an offensive weapon and they landing Maclin. It's hard to not like this pick if you're the Eagles. While it might be a luxury pick with the Eagles current depth at WR, giving Donovan McNabb the weapons he's been asking for is probably not a good thing. I was thinking the Eagles might take UConn RB Donald Brown here (or perhaps Ohio State's Wells, who I don't like. Not that I'm a homer or anything...) but the only real need for the Eagles would be possible at CB/S, which is something I'm sure they will address on Day 2 (Rounds 3-7). Again, Maclin is one of the best receivers in the draft in terms of speed, and the Eagles desperately need a downfield threat to complement their current receiving corps. GRADE: B+

Rd. 2, Pick 21 (53 OVR): LeSean McCoy, RB, Pitt

Okay, so the Eagles didn't get my boy Donald Brown, but they did get the next best RB in the Big East in McCoy. I liked this pick for the value in the 2nd round. McCoy is likely a top 5 back in this year's draft, and he falls to the Eagles in the middle of the 2nd round in what is not a deep class of running backs. Surely the Eagles could have moved up to get him as they did with Maclin, but they stayed put and got thier man. This was a need for the Eagles behind current starter Brian Westbrook and McCoy has a very similar body type to Westbrook, but played more of a power runner in college. McCoy should be a great replacement for RB Correll Buckhalter. GRADE: A

Also, don't forget that the Eagles turned their second first round pick (28th overall) into Pro Bowl LT Jason Peters from the Bills. Again, the Eagles still have needs to address, especially on the defensive side of the ball, but this is only the first two rounds.

Now, around the NFL, here's a few things that I liked.

The Jets moving up to No. 5 to get Mark Sanchez. Loved the move. They knew once Seattle selected Aaron Curry from Wake, that they needed to make the deal to move up. The Jets lacked a sure-fire QB after signing Brett Favre to a deal last season and know I think that Sanchez will start immeadiately for the Jets this year and I think that as long as he manages the games, similar to Joe Flacco with the Ravens, the Jets could have a decent season.

Orakpo to the Redskins at 13. No idea how he slid that far, but I knew that Washington had selected him when they got their pick in after about 15 seconds. I mean there's no way Washington thought he'd be there at 13 and now they have a seriously talented player to anchor their defensive line.

Oher to the Ravens at 23. If you were under a rock and missed ESPN's story on this guy, go back and look him up. This is the type of player that you want on your team.

Things that I didn't like:

Moreno at 12 to Denver. The Broncos had other needs and Moreno is a solid back, but that seemed a little early for him to get picked.

Pettigrew to the Lions at 20. I don't mind selecting a complete TE, but I think the Lions should have taken OT Oher here. You just selected your franchise QB for the next 5 years in Stafford and it might be a good idea to protect him.

Harvin to the Vikings at 23. My roommate loves this pick. I don't, for the simple fact that the Vikings just cleaned house of a lot of bad character guys, then take a risk (and maybe a reach) on a guy that just failed a drug test. I think they could have done better.

Nicks/Brett to the Giants/Titans at 29/30. I just am not a fan of either player. I'm sorry, I've seen both of them play and I'm underwhelmed by the hype. I think they'll be solid players, but I don't think either of them are low-first round players.

I'll be back tomorrow with the full Eagles recap and possibly a breakdown of the NFC East as well.

- Eagle
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com