The Eagles' great defensive coordinator, Jim Johnson, died today after a battle with metastatic melanoma that was first diagnosed during last year's NFL playoffs. Jim Johnson was one of the very best of the NFL's defensive wizards, and he made his mark on many a field. Nobody knew or understood the power of the blitz like Jim Johnson, and he was an innovator who leaves a huge pair of shoes to fill. Just as Brian Dawkins embodied the Eagles defense, so did Jim Johnson, and now they're both gone.
"For ten years, Jim Johnson was an exceptional coach for the Philadelphia Eagles, but more importantly, he was an outstanding human being," said Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie. "As an integral part of the Eagles family, Jim epitomized the traits of what a great coach should be--a teacher, a leader, and a winner. He positively touched the lives of so many people in and out of the Eagles organization. Our hearts go out to his wife, Vicky and his wonderful family. We will miss him greatly."
Indeed, the twin losses created by the departure of Dawkins and the unfortunate, untimely death of Jim Johnson may well leave a hole in the Birds' defense that can never be filled. That's a tribute to Dawkins, as the protege, and of Jim Johnson, the teacher, who was truly the heart and soul of the Eagles defense. Johnson turned down numerous head coaching offers to remain Andy Reid's defensive coordinator, and Philadelphia was lucky to have him.
Rest in peace, Jim Johnson. You will be missed.