Eagles’ Nick Sirianni has a plan if he loses Jonathan Gannon, Shane Steichen

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Sirianni has a plan if he loses his coordinators to head coaching jobs originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Nick Sirianni always tries to take things one day at a time.

But he also has to look into the future.

The Eagles have a 14-3 record and are the No. 1 seed in the NFC after a magical regular season. So it’s no surprise there’s interest in both offensive coordinator Shane Steichen and Jonathan Gannon for vacant head coaching positions.

And Sirianni has contingency plans in his head.

“As the head coach, I still have to think about those things because that is a very important part of being a head coach, is who you replace guys with,” Sirianni said this week. “You're hoping that you have success. You're hoping you lose guys for the benefit of them and their career and their family. You hate to lose guys because the reason they're here in the first place is because I felt like they were really good coaches.

“Just like you go into a job interview and you say, ‘I want this guy, this guy, and this guy.’ That’s not always the reality that you're going to get all those guys. It’s the same scenario here.

“Of course, I want to keep these guys, they're great coordinators, but in the event that I lose them, I have an idea of what I want to do at both spots. The answer is sometimes, yes, it's in the building, sometimes it's outside of the building. But I feel like we have a lot of good options, and I feel like we have a lot of good options in the building that we'd be excited about if that were to happen.”

It’s a bit of a double-edged sword for Sirianni. Because part of the reason the Eagles have been so successful in his two years as a head coach is because of his coordinators. He obviously doesn’t want to lose them but it’s a byproduct of the success.

And he’s rooting for Steichen and Gannon as people to achieve their own personal goals. It’s why Sirianni has worked to prepare those guys for their next jobs in a similarly fashion to how Frank Reich once prepared him in Indianapolis.

Sirianni said candidates really prepare for head coaching interviews for years; it’s not something that happens in a week. Their whole coaches careers have prepared them for this point. Although, he did joke that Gannon will probably rock a nicer suit than Steichen in his interview.

“I know that first and foremost, that these guys are committed to this team,” Sirianni said. “You have some time off here later in the week as far as we're not grinding until 10 o’clock, maybe every night. There is some time that's happening later in the week for them to be able to do that.”

If the Eagles lose either Steichen or Gannon, Sirianni has a plan and that’s a good thing. While he said those answers could come from internal or external hires, here’s a quick list of internal candidates who might make sense as coordinator replacements:

Brian Johnson (QBs coach): This would be the most obvious succession plan from Steichen. Johnson is extremely close with Jalen Hurts and it’s hard to argue with the results. Hurts has continued to improve under Johnson’s tutelage and was an MVP candidate this season. And it might be the only way to keep the 35-year-old Johnson, who will likely be a hot offensive coordinator candidate. He already interviewed for the Packers’ OC job last season.

And if the Eagles were to promote Johnson, they have his replacement waiting already. The Eagles think very highly of assistant QBs coach Alex Tanney and would likely promote him in this case. Tanney had a nine-year NFL career and is seen as a quick riser in coaching ranks.

Kevin Patullo (Passing game coordinator): Remember last season when Sirianni nearly missed a game with COVID? It was Patullo who would have taken over head coaching responsibilities in that game. Patullo, 41, has been Sirianni’s right-hand man since they arrived together in Philly after Sirianni was hired as the head coach. Patullo is probably the one coach on this staff we don’t talk about enough. Patullo’s name was brought up as a possible OC in Chicago under Matt Eberflus before the Bears hired Luke Getsy last offseason.

Dennard Wilson (DBs coach): If Gannon were to leave, the top internal candidate should be Wilson, who was given the added title of defensive passing game coordinator last offseason. Wilson is widely respected by his defensive backs and he’s worked under guys like Gregg Williams and Todd Bowles throughout his career. Wilson, 40, has been a big asset for the Eagles over the last two seasons.

Nick Rallis (LBs coach): Rallis won’t even turn 30 until July and when he was hired at 27 was the youngest position coach in the league. But he has a ton of energy and is one of those coaches who eats, drinks and sleeps football. Maybe it is too soon for Rallis to be in charge of an entire defense but he’s been very impressive in Philly and becoming a DC is probably in his future.

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