Turns out there's another bullet in the chamber.
Three days after new Denver Broncos coach John Fox tabbed New Orleans Saints defensive backs coach Dennis Allen as his defensive coordinator rather than wait a couple weeks to talk to Green Bay defensive line coach Mike Trgovac, Packers safeties coach Darren Perry has emerged as a candidate to be Andy Reid's defensive coordinator in Philadelphia.
The Eagles fired Sean McDermott on Jan. 15, a week after the Packers went 3-for-3 in the red zone in their wild card victory. McDermott was a protégé of the late Jim Johnson, whose attacking schemes helped lead the Eagles to five NFC Championship Games in his 10 seasons.
Johnson's scheme was a 4-3 and Perry is a 3-4 guy through and through. Perry played safety for defensive coordinators Dom Capers and Dick LeBeau in Pittsburgh and got his start in coaching under LeBeau with Cincinnati in 2002. From 2003 through 2006, he was defensive backs coach under coordinator LeBeau with the Steelers. He did spend the 2007 and 2008 seasons with Oakland, which ran a 4-3 under coaches Lane Kiffin and Tom Cable.
The personable and intelligent Perry was considered a rising star in the profession when he was hired as part of the defensive staff overhaul in February 2009. He's done nothing to change that up-and-coming label. Perry worked diligently to get third-round pick Morgan Burnett read to be a starter, and when Burnett went down with a torn ACL in Week 4, Charlie Peprah stepped into the lineup and has been a consistently strong performer. Nick Collins has been selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his seasons with Perry.
"He's a very smart coach," safety Atari Bigby said on Friday. "He's been with Dom, been with LeBeau, so X's and O's, he's got that down. The good thing about him is, he knows what it feels like to be inside the helmet. He knows exactly firsthand what we go through. That's a good thing. I think (being young) helps him because as far as being upbeat, being fired up, this being his first job, I know he's going to be excited about that when he ends up somewhere."
Still, going to a 3-4 scheme would be an about-face from Reid. The only coach known to have interviewed for the job was Allen, who has a 4-3 background. Moreover, the Eagles recently hired esteemed defensive line coach Jim Washburn, who had spent more than a decade in Jeff Fisher's 4-3 scheme in Tennessee. Not that Washburn couldn't adjust to a 3-4 scheme — Trgovac did just that in Green Bay after being Fox's coordinator in Carolina for six seasons — but some reports that Perry is the Eagles' choice seem premature.
Trgovac seems to be the better fit for the Eagles on paper. Trgovac knows both schemes — though he told Packer Report last week that he now favors the 3-4 — and has a history in Philadelphia after coaching defensive line for the Eagles from 1995 through 1998.
While Packers coach Mike McCarthy didn't allow quarterbacks coach Tom Clements to interview to be Chicago's offensive coordinator last offseason, McCarthy called career advancement a "positive" when asked by Packer Report about a month ago. While Philadelphia is an NFC rival, it's not a division rival and McCarthy probably would allow Perry (or Trgovac, if he emerges as a candidate in Philadelphia) to interview.
Both coaches are under contract for next season.
Clements' name, meanwhile, has been linked to the vacant offensive coordinator post in Cleveland under new coach Pat Shurmur.
Interview requests can't be made until after the Super Bowl.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.