Eagles DC Jonathan Gannon has the weapons and scheme to frustrate 49ers’ QB Brock Purdy

Successful NFL defenses rely on talented playmakers and versatility across the board, something Jonathan Gannon has implemented during his two seasons with the Eagles.

After a 2021 season that saw Philadelphia gashed via a passive scheme and a lack of talent, GM Howie Roseman made severe upgrades to the roster, adding Haason ReddickKyzir White, Jordan DavisNakobe Dean, Linval Joseph, Ndamukong Suh, Reed Blankenship, and James Bradberry among others.

Roseman then acquired C.J. Gardner-Johnson via trade from the Saints, and the perfect ‘GUMBO’ recipe was developed, allowing Gannon to cook this season with a top-five defense in several key categories.

Fans and media pundits criticize Gannon for his perceived lack of aggression, but there’s no denying that Philadelphia’s defensive coordinator has pushed all of the right buttons this season.

With an NFC Championship matchup against the 49ers looming, Fran Duffy looked at the versatility Gannon’s scheme employs, and the confusion it caused for the Giants and quarterback Daniel Jones.

If Gannon can get into a similar rhythm against the Niners, the Eagles will be headed to the Super Bowl with a recipe that could stifle Patrick Mahomes or Joe Burrow as well.

Haason Reddick-Josh Sweat in coverage

Much was made earlier this season about Jonathan Gannon dropping star pass rusher Haason Reddick into coverage from his SAM linebacker spot.

During training camp, Gannon took heat for dropping Reddick into space but gave a solid explanation in his own defense.

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In Gannon’s defense, as a SAM linebacker, you could never just line Reddick up and have him rush the passer as a standup defensive end. At that point, the Eagles would be telegraphing their defense while also putting their coverage and secondary at risk.

Gannon’s job was to put his most talented personnel in the best position to be creative and impactful without sacrificing defensive discipline.

An appearance in the NFC Championship game proves that he did just that.

Zone coverage schemes

(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

A lot has been made of perceived struggles in coverage for Darius Slay, but C.J. Gardner-Johnson’s return to the lineup has allowed Philadelphia to efficiently play their man-zone combinations underneath.

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Jonathan Gannon does a great job of disguising his coverages and his players do it while on the move and in real-time.

There were initial breakdowns in the coverage with Josiah Scott in the slot, but the defense has improved with Gardner-Johnson inserted, and Reed Blankenship at safety.

Stunts and Games

(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

When it comes together, it comes together, and Gannon has done a great job down the stretch of utilizing stunts and games up front with the Eagles’ defensive line.

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SAM linebacker Haason Reddick was able to put immense pressure on Giants quarterback Daniel Jones by looping into the middle after initially lining up as the left edge rusher.

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Story originally appeared on Eagles Wire