Notes From The 'Nest

With the Combine, followed by free agency and the NFL Draft, there's plenty going on for the avid football fan. With that in mind, here's a look at some news and notes from

The Eagles still don't have a special teams coach. The team's special teams coordinator, John Harbaugh, took over the defensive backs last month when linebackers coach Steve Spagnuolo left to become the New York Giants' defensive coordinator. Sean McDermott, who had been coaching the secondary, replaced Spagnuolo as the linebackers coach. The Eagles had expressed interest in Chicago Bears' special teams coach Dave Toub, who had spent three years on Andy Reid's staff from 2001 to '03. But Toub signed an extension with the Bears this week. It's unclear whether head coach Andy Reid's one-month leave of absence is delaying the hiring of a new special teams coach.

As for Harbaugh, he wants to be a head coach some day. Maybe in the NFL. Maybe at a Division I school.

With that goal in mind, the 44-year-old Harbaugh, who was one of the league's most respected special teams coaches, made an interesting career move last month. He gave up his job as Andy Reid's special teams coordinator to become the Eagles' secondary coach.

Harbaugh replaced Sean McDermott, who moved from secondary coach to linebackers coach after the previous linebackers coach, Steve Spagnuolo, was hired as the New York Giants' new defensive coordinator.

Harbaugh essentially had to take a step down if he ever hopes to take a step up to a head-coaching job. Few special teams coaches, no matter how well regarded they are, ever get consideration for head-coaching jobs or even offensive or defensive coordinator posts.

"What this does, it allows John to get out of that special-teams mode," head coach Andy Reid said. "His eventual goal is to be a head coach, and this gives him an opportunity to work toward that and possibly a defensive coordinator position."

There's a very good chance that Reid will eventually promote Harbaugh to defensive coordinator when Jim Johnson retires. Johnson, who is 66, has been Reid's defensive lieutenant since 1999. But he isn't expected to coach more than another couple of years.

"Any time you coach just one thing, you're probably just viewed as that," Harbaugh said. "To me, I think there's a lot of benefit to extending yourself and coaching different positions. The more you can do ... it makes you a more well-rounded coach."

The Eagles insist that it's business as usual even without Andy Reid around on a daily basis. Team president Joe Banner insists that Reid's absence won't hinder any preparations or the Eagles work at the Combine that starts this week. He also believes that it won't scare away any potential free agents.

Reid got some unsolicited support from his quarterback this week when Donovan McNabb stepped up to say that he "has coach Reid's back."

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