Today, the Eagles announced the hiring of Jim Washburn to the open defensive line coach position. He is widely regarded as one of the premier position coaches in the league, and specializes in the 4-3 defense. There’s a reason Albert Haynesworth was nearly the league MVP with the Titans in 2008 and has done nothing with the Redskins the past two seasons. He’s also developed many late round picks into solid players such as Jacob Ford and Tony Brown. He will be an immense addition to the Eagles, who boast many defensive linemen who have flashed great potential. Youngsters Brandon Graham, Ricky Sapp, Jeff Owens, and Daniel Te’o-Nesheim could all be effective players under Washburn’s coaching. Te’o-Nesheim and Sapp are the two players who really seem to fit the mold of average college players who have found success under Washburn, and Victor Abiamiri is another player who I would not count out.
Since Washburn is so highly regarded around the league, will some players who need a change of scenery be intrigued by the possibility of playing for the Eagles? Jason Babin, who nearly tripled a career high with 12.5 sacks in his first season under Washburn and is scheduled to be a free agent, admits that it would be tough to turn down an opportunity to play for Washburn again.
“There’s been no ‘Hey Jason, We want you in Philly’ discussions, but it would be hard for me not to contemplate it,” Babin said. He’s one possibility. Another is trading for Albert Haynesworth, who was so dominant for Tennessee, and so ineffective for Washington. Bringing him to Philly would only require a third round pick in all likelihood, but the really tough part to swallow would be Haynesworth’s contract. He’s only due up to $12.6 million over the next two seasons, but in 2013, he is scheduled to make $29 million, a staggering total. Therefore, unless he is willing to restructure his deal to continue playing for Washburn, we are essentially trading a very young player who has his whole career ahead of him for two seasons of Haynesworth. However, the Eagles have not hit on many third round picks from Tony Hunt to Bryan Smith to Billy McMullen. So, the deal has little risk and very high reward in my opinion, and the Eagles should pull the trigger should the opportunity arise. Haynesworth, Mike Patterson, Antonio Dixon, and Brodrick Bunkley on the inside with Trent Cole, Brandon Graham, Darryl Tapp, and Juqua Parker off the edge makes for one of the best and deepest defensive lines in the league.
With all the speculation aside, Jim Washburn is the right man for the job in Philly. The Eagles need more production out of such a critical group in today’s game. They also have a lot of youngsters who have a lot of growing to do in the scheme, and I feel much better about their progression now that the Eagles have netted Washburn.