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Andy Reid must rebuild coaching staff following Howie Roseman promotion

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Andy Reid now gets to do one of the things he does best.

When Brian Stewart left the Eagles to become defensive coordinator at the University of Houston it opened a void on the defensive coaching staff. andy reid and brad childress

There are two ways to fill it. Go out and hire someone with experience, or promote from within.

Reid has done both, but the former has worked much better than the latter.

Go back to 1999 when Reid hired his first staff. Knowing that he was young and lacked experience of a head coach, he hired two veteran coordinators in Jim Johnson, on defense, and Rod Dowhower, on offense.

Those two provided strong shoulders for which Reid could lean and he did so often.

He also hired a staff that included on the defensive side alone, Steve Spagnuolo, now the head coach of the Rams; Ron Rivera, now the defensive coordinator of the Chargers and a head coach in waiting; Leslie Frazier, the coordinator of the Vikings and another head coach to be; and Johnson’s right-hand man, Tommy Brasher.

That was one hell of a staff.

The offensive side wasn’t bad either under Dowhower with Brad Childress, the current Vikings head coach, and Pat Shurmur, the Rams coordinator.

Reid was also smart enough to keep Juan Castillo as his offensive line coach and to retain John Harbaugh as his special teams coach.

So now Reid gets a chance to hire again. He already made one move this offseason when he canned Ted Daisher, who he just didn’t see eye-to-eye with on special teams, and brought in veteran coach Bobby April.

He needs to go that route again for the secondary.

The current defensive staff consists of a bright, young coordinator in Sean McDermott, and a bunch of other young, inexperienced coaches.

What Reid needs is to go out and get that grizzled veteran for McDermott to lean on the way he did with Johnson and Dowhower back in 1999.

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Howie Roseman’s promotion to general manager was not only one of the worst kept secrets in the business, but it may have occurred a year ago.

People in the know say Roseman was making decisions above Tom Heckert for over a year. It’s one of the reasons the Eagles didn’t block Heckert’s move to Cleveland, and actually encouraged it.

And if Roseman was, as all indications point, more involved in last year’s draft than that might not be a bad thing. The Class of 2009 was one of the Eagles’ best, thanks to top two picks Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy.

For those who feel Roseman isn’t a “football man’’. Please explain what that means? Or why it is important?

Matt Millen was a ‘football man," right. And how did he turn out as general manager of the Detroit Lions?

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Here’s an early line on some players the Eagles could, or at least should, be looking at in the draft to improve their defense.

DE Brandon Graham, Michigan, 6-1, 270 – Graham could be there when the Eagles select at No. 24 in the first round and wouldn’t be a bad choice. He’s an ideal left end, although he is a tad short for the position. Still he is a good against the run and has some pass rush.

DE Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech, 6-4, 272 – The Eagles would have to move up to get Morgan, but they have plenty of picks and maybe even some players to make the move. Morgan would be the ideal compliment to Trent Cole.

DE Greg Romeus, Pitt, 6-6, 270 – Not as polished as the other two, he is still a solid LDE, which is what the Eagles need. If they don’t get their man in the first round, he might be there in the second for them.

LB Dekoda Watson, Florida State, 6-1 ½, 232 – Watson is an ideal weakside player in a 4-3 defense and would give the Eagles a playmaker at a position where they desperately need one.

LB Sean Lee, Penn State, 6-2, 234 – Classic Penn State linebacker, Lee will probably last until the second round, but if the Eagles want him they may have to move up a couple spaces in the round to get him.

S Taylor Mays, USC, 6-3, 231 – Probably the only safety to go in the first round, Mays was a killer for the Trojans as a junior, but like the rest of the team slumped off a bit as a senior. Still, he has all the tools to be a big-time player.

S Chad Jones, LSU, 6-3, 231 – Depending on what they do in the first round, Lee could be the man in the second round.

Contact Mark Eckel at meckel@njtimes.com

Photo of Andy Reid and Brad Childress from http://assets.espn.go.com