By Aaron Wilson
The Baltimore Sun
6:00 PM EST, January 31, 2013
John Harbaugh and Dean Pees have never hesitated to praise linebackers coach Ted Monachino, both expressing confidence recently that he's ready to run an NFL defense.
Although Monachino has been repeatedly linked to the Philadelphia Eagles' defensive coordinator vacancy, the NFC East franchise has yet to contact him to set up an interview. And he's not necessarily expecting them to make contact after the Super Bowl on Sunday.
Under new coach Chip Kelly, the Eagles have interviewed Cleveland Browns linebackers coach Billy Davis and are apparently interested in San Francisco 49ers secondary coach Ed Donatell.
"It is flattering," Monachino said. "I'm really excited that's out there, but right now the story doesn't have any legs. I don't expect it to. I don't know anyone in Philadelphia.
"I know they haven't contacted anyone on our club. It is exciting to have your name out there for an opportunity like that, but right now our sole focus is all on Sunday."
Monachino is enjoying his current responsibilities since being promoted to linebackers coach from outside linebackers coach last February.
He's in charge of overseeing everyone from Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs, whom he also coached at Arizona State, to Dannell Ellerbe and Paul Kruger, working in tandem with inside linebackers coach Don "Wink" Martindale.
"The best thing about this group is the diversity in the group, having young guys who understand how important it is to be good followers and veterans who understand what it means to be good leaders," Monachino said. "It's been a blast. You learn just as much from them maybe more than they ever learn form you The job 'Wink' has done with the inside guys is over the top."
The emergence of Ellerbe as a three-down linebacker in his fourth NFL season has been a major development for the defense.
The pending unrestricted free agent is shaping up as a must-sign for the Ravens after recording a career-high 89 tackles and 4 1/2 sacks while also battling ankle, toe, thumb and back injuries.
"It's hard to find guys who have enough talent to do everything that you need, to do it on all three downs," Monachino said. "Dannell has always had it. What he's done to really change himself is he's become so much of a better pro than he was as a young guy.
"That's a normal evolution of the game. From study to sleep to diet to training in the offseson to studying on his own, he's really ramped up his game. He's a special athlete that is becoming a special footbal player."