Cory Undlin Takes DC Job in Detroit

Ed Kracz

Cory Undlin is no longer the defensive backs coach for the Eagles.

It is not because he is being let go by head coach Doug Pederson, but because he was named the defensive coordinator of the Detroit Lions on Monday.

Undlin, 48, will join Lions head coach Matt Patricia in Detroit. The two men worked together on the staff of the New England Patriots in 2004, with the Patriots team that beat the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX.

It could be considered a bit of a surprise hire by Detroit given the way Undlin’s defensive backs have underperformed the past two seasons. This season, the Eagles secondary was prone to big plays, allowing eight touchdowns of 50-plus yards.

The group finished 19 in the NFL against the pass this season.

There was some thought among those who cover the team that Undlin’s job could be in jeopardy heading into the offseason given the play of the defensive backs.

Of course, there are other factors to playing well in the secondary and that includes a pass rush that must cut down on the time a quarterback has to throw. The Eagles’ pass rush was inconsistent this season, though it did finish in the middle of the pack in sacks with 43.

Undlin had spent the previous five seasons with the Eagles after being hired away from the Denver Broncos by Chip Kelly in 2015.

His most notable accomplishment came during in the Eagles Super Bowl-winning season of 2017.

That season, the Eagles secondary gave up just 24 touchdown receptions and the defense recorded 31 interceptions. The defense also ranked third in third-down defense.

The defense hasn’t duplicated those numbers since.

Undlin’s departure leaves open three assistant coaching jobs head coach Doug Pederson must fill.

In addition to the DB opening, Pederson must hire an offensive coordinator to replace Mike Groh and a wide receivers coach to replace Carson Walch after both men were let go last week.

An experienced name with an Eagles background shook loose on Monday when the Jacksonville Jaguars parted ways with offensive coordinator John DeFilippo. In his only season in Jacksonville, DeFilippo’s offense produced just 18.8 points per game, which was ranked 26 in the NFL.

DeFilippo was Carson Wentz’s first quaterbacks coach, spending the 2016 and 2017 seasons with him before moving on to the Vikings as their OC. DeFilippo spent only one season as Minnesota’s offensive coordinator before moving on to Jacksonville.

What the Eagles choose to do with the defensive backs opening is anybody’s guess at this point.

In-house candidates could include safeties coach Tim Hauck or assistant secondary coach Dino Vasso.

Hauck, who served as the defensive coordinator at UNLV from 203-14 and played 51 games with the Eagles (1999-2002) as part of a 13-year NFL career, has done well with Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod.

Vasso is a local product, having played for Ridley High School in Delaware County, and has been with the Eagles for the past four seasons after working primarily with defensive backs in Kansas City from 2013-15.

An outside candidate the Eagles could show an interest in is former Cowboys assistant Kris Richard, who is reportedly being let go by Dallas.

Richard spent eight years with the Seattle Seahawks from 2010-2017, the final two as the defensive coordinator. He coached Seattle’s cornerbacks, however, and helped develop the Legion of Boom. In two years with Dallas, he was the defensive backs coach, helping develop Byron Jones, and passing game coordinator. 

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