The Philadelphia Eagles have hired NFL veteran assistant Billy Davis to bring a new dimension to their defense.
CSNPhilly.com first reported Thursday that Davis will be the Eagles' defensive coordinator under new head coach Chip Kelly. Multiple media outlets, including ESPN.com and NFL.com, also reported the hiring.
Under Davis, there is a strong possibility that the Eagles will switch from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4.
Davis, 47, spent the last two seasons as the Cleveland Browns' linebackers coach after working as a defensive coordinator with San Francisco (2005-06) and Arizona (2009-10). Current Eagles cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who is due to become an unrestricted free agent on March 12, played for Davis with the Cardinals and made the Pro Bowl.
Former Eagles linebacker Chris Gocong played for Davis with the Browns. Gocong described Davis via Twitter on Thursday as an "awesome coach, great guy. Learned a great deal form him. Philly should be excited."
Also, several media outlets, including footballscoop.com, CSNPhilly.com and Philly.com said the Eagles are close to hiring Jeff Stoutland as their offensive line coach. Stoutland just finished his second season as offensive line coach for the University of Alabama after in the same capacity with the University of Miami (2007-10), Michigan State (2000-06), Syracuse (1997-99) and Cornell (1993-96). He also was Miami's interim head coach for one game in 2010.
The Eagles hope Davis can bring some stability to the defense. They have gone through three defensive coordinators since Jim Johnson, who guided the unit from 1999-2008, died of cancer in July 2009. Sean McDermott was the defensive coordinator in 2009-10. Former Eagles head coach Andy Reid promoted Juan Castillo to that spot before the 2011 season - Davis also was a contender at the time - but fired him after four games into this past season and gave the job to secondary coach Todd Bowles.
McDermott is now Carolina's defensive coordinator. Castillo was just hired as a consultant for Baltimore and will be the Ravens' running game coordinator in 2013. Bowles was recently hired to be Arizona's defensive coordinator.
Davis inherits a defense that struggled for much of the season. The Eagles ranked 15th in yards allowed per game but fell apart down the stretch. They gave up 30 or more points in seven of their last 10 games. Their 30 sacks were 20 fewer than that had in 2011 and they were last in the NFL with 12 takeaways.
Davis has some ties to the Eagles. His father, Bill Davis, was their linebackers and tight ends coach during the Dick Vermeil era and later worked in their personnel department during Buddy Ryan's tenure.
Stoutland would also have a challenge in rebuilding an offensive line that injuries decimated last season.
Left tackle Jason Peters (ruptured Achilles tendon), center Jason Kelce (torn knee ligaments) and right tackle Todd Herremans (dislocated foot) were all sidelined for at least half of the season. Peters missed the whole year, Kelce sat out the last 14 games and Herremans was hurt at midseason. In addition, right guard Danny Watkins played in just nine games and was demoted near the end of the year.
The Eagles have yet to confirm any coaching additions since appointing Kelly as their head coach on Jan. 16.
Contact David Weinberg: