ARLINGTON, Texas -- I expected Packers and Steelers assistants to play it pretty close to the vest regarding the defensive coordinator vacancy with the Philadelphia Eagles. And I was wrong.
I had a 20-minute visit with Steelers secondary coach Ray Horton, a former Cowboys safety. He wouldn't say whether the Eagles had contacted his representative, but it's pretty clear the prospect of switching to a 4-3 defense with the Eagles doesn't bother him at all. In fact, he played on a Cowboys Super Bowl team (XXVII) that used the 4-3. Horton's not a fan of the NFL's policy that assistant coaches from the Super Bowl teams have to wait until after the game to interview for vacancies.
"It punishes you for having more success," he told me. "The system actually rewards the coaches who don't make the playoffs or get knocked out early."
Horton hopes one of the three teams that haven't hired a defensive coordinator gives him a shot. He has a great deal of admiration for the late Jim Johnson, and he talked at length about how coaches around the league still use a lot of Johnson's concepts.
I also talked to Packers defensive line coach Mike Trgovac about the Eagles' opening. He'd been quoted saying he planned to return to the Packers next season, but he told me that he wanted to leave the door open to a coordinator position. Trgovac said he'd promised his high school-aged daughter that he would remain with the Packers for at least three years if possible, so that's something that's also on his mind.
The Inquirer's Jeff McLane spent a lot of time talking to Packers inside linebackers/assistant head coach Winston Moss on Tuesday. Moss wasn't shy about his admiration for the Eagles.
"The Eagles have some established talent there right now," Moss said. "It would be fun to work with that group. They work extremely hard. They play on a fanatical level. They have some playmakers on that defense. In carefully looking at them and then competing against them twice [this season], that would be a fantastic opportunity."
He said he likes the mindset of the Eagles organization.
"It's a very tough culture there," he said. "It's a very aggressive culture there. It's a very fearless culture. You can tell how Andy Reid attacks people from his offensive scheme that that's what he wants. And I believe that I have that same passion. I have that same relentless, fearless desire to get a defense to want to be able to compete at that same level."
And we haven't even mentioned Darren Perry.