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Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Search: John DeFilippo is the hot name, but is he the right fit for the long term?

The Arizona Cardinals are interviewing a quarterback guru, but is he the right man for the entire team?

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles-Minicamp Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Whenever you get into the coaching carousel, the ride can make you a little sick. You have the ups and downs, the arguments, and in the end, you have no idea whether you’ll be right or wrong, but you sure as hell have an opinion and want to be heard.

That’s where many are with Philadelphia Eagles quarterback coach John DeFilippo.

JDF is the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback coach. Selfishly, I don’t want the Cardinals to hire him because I don’t know how long it will take me to get into the habit of spelling his last name right, but through a lot of background search, that’s the biggest negative I can find on him.

DeFilippo will be 40 by the time the 2018 regular season rolls around, but that is extremely young in the coaching field.

After being a career backup for James Madison University, DeFilippo knew his path to the NFL was not through playing.

During his time at JMU, he did two NFL internships, one with the Carolina Panthers in 1997 and with the Indianapolis Colts in 1998.

Upon graduation, he started at Fordham as the quarterback coach, but would enroll as a graduate assistant at Notre Dame in 2001.

In 2001 and 2002 DeFilippo worked under Bob Davie and Tyrone Willingham, not necessarily the cream of the coaching crop for the legendary Notre Dame, but he clearly made a mark as it led to another quarterback coaching job, this time Columbia. Of course, being a quarterback coach for Division I-AA schools is not the pinnacle, yet DeFilippo was doing enough to get noticed and made his way to the NFL.

Tom Coughlin gave him his first NFL job, as offensive quality control coach for the New York Giants from 2005-2006.

From there, he worked in the Oakland dumpster fire known as the Lane Kiffin era, working with a bounty of bad quarterbacks from 2007-2008. He then moved onto the Jets in 2009 as the quarterback coach.

If you’re keeping tabs, DeFilippo worked with:

Giants: Eli Manning (year two and three)
Raiders: JaMarcus Russell (year one and two)
Jets: Mark Sanchez (year one)

There is something about DeFilippo that draws him or people are drawn to him as working with young quarterbacks.

He left the NFL coaching ranks for two years to go coach at San Jose State from 2010-2011, then came back with the Raiders in 2012, working with none other than Carson Palmer.

Palmer on DeFilippo in from Nate Ulrich of

“You knew it right away. You could see it right away. You could see a potential head coach,” Palmer said of DeFilippo during a conference call in October. “Just his whole philosophy and the way he saw the game, you could tell he is going to be a great coordinator. I have had a chance, just because we are playing against a bunch of AFC North teams, I have seen Cleveland on offense a number of times.

“He is doing a great job. He gets the ball out of the quarterback’s hand. He does lots of screens. They run the ball effectively. He takes his shots. Always been a big fan since we had the chance to work together, and I have enjoyed watching them play on offense because he is doing a great job.”

Now, that could just be praise of a former colleague (Are they colleague’s, how does that work?) but clearly Palmer enjoyed working with and playing for DeFilippo.

DeFilippo spent 2012-2014 in Oakland before getting his first chance, in 2015 at the age of 37, to run the Cleveland Browns offense.

It was a bit of a disaster, as it always seems to be in Cleveland, and DeFilippo was let go along with Mike Pettine, the head coach and the rest of the Browns staff.

Despite working well with Johnny Manziel and being one of his fiercest defenders, DeFilippo went back to being a quarterback coach with the Philadelphia Eagles and this time, was paired with young Carson Wentz.

From our own Blake Murphy:

When I asked around Biggest thing I heard back was that he was considered the real genius in Philly and that Reich was just a guy as a coordinator. Flip was in charge of the Redzone offense & had ton of influence. Philly blocked him from other OC interviews last year to keep him 1 more year & knew they were gonna lose him.

There has been a lot of praise and it seems like each job has been a move up in the pecking order or working with talent, outside of the disastrous Browns year, so is DeFilippo ready?

It is interesting that he is getting the pub while the offensive coordinator, Frank Reich, he himself a long time NFL coach, is getting bypassed, but DeFilippo’s reputation as a coach is outstanding.

It means that teams may be willing to overlook the only one season as a coordinator to get a guy who knows and understands how to work with young quarterbacks, the most important position in sports.

Is that enough?

Will DeFilippo’s reputation and success influence you to overlook the lack of work as a coordinator, or are you worried he’s just a flash in the pan?


Is John DeFilippo the right man for the job?

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  • 44%
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