Jim Johnson Was The Mastermind – Philadelphia Eagles News

Jim Johnson Was The Mastermind – Philadelphia Eagles News

The Eagles have had some great defensive coaches over the years. Buddy Ryan drafted and developed linebacker Seth Joyner, defensive tackle Jerome Brown, defensive end Clyde Simmons, linebacker Byron Evans, and cornerback Eric Allen. Bud Carson took that group of players to new heights in 1991 when Gang Green was No. 1 in run, pass, and overall defense. Marion Campbell helped the team get to the Super Bowl in 1980 and had the Eagles as the top-ranked defense in 1981. Ray Rhodes and Emmitt Thomas had top-five defenses in 1995 and ’96.

As great as those coaches were, Jim Johnson is the most beloved defensive coach in Eagles history.

Johnson ran the defense from 1999-2008. Amazingly, the Eagles were never first in yards or points allowed under him. They were No. 1 in a number of areas when you judged them over a long span. From 2000-04, the Eagles allowed the fewest points, had the most sacks, and led the league in both third-down and red zone defense. There was also postseason success, including a trip to the Super Bowl after the 2004 season.

One of the things that makes that run so special is that it happened in the era of free agency. The Eagles lost impact players like defensive end Hugh Douglas, and linebackers Jeremiah Trotter and Shawn Barber in that span. There was turnover in the secondary as cornerbacks Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor were replaced by Sheldon Brown and Lito Sheppard. Players came and went, but Johnson remained at the top, adjusting his scheme to the players he had and finding the best way to get them to attack offenses. Johnson’s final season with the Eagles was 2008 and that defense was one of his…

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