Sean Desai heading to Philadelphia as Eagles' next defensive coordinator
The Eagles have found their next defensive coordinator originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
INDIANAPOLIS — The Eagles have found their next defensive coordinator.
They’re hiring Seahawks associate head coach and defensive assistant Sean Desai to replace Jonathan Gannon, the team officially announced Tuesday. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll confirmed the move to Seattle reporters earlier in the day at the combine.
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Desai, 39, spent just one season with the Seahawks under Carroll. Before the 2022 season, Desai spent nine seasons with the Chicago Bears, last serving as defensive coordinator for the 2021 season.
“We had a great time. He’s really, really a brilliant football guy,” Carroll said earlier on Tuesday. “The background and the information he holds, his access to information is really special. He helped us a ton getting going and making a year’s transition (the Seahawks changed defensive coordinators in 2022).
“We got along great. It was a good challenge for me. [Desai] comes from a different football background so it was fun to knock heads and always figure it out.”
For several seasons in Chicago, Desai worked under longtime defensive coach Vic Fangio. The Eagles used many of Fangio’s concepts in their defense under Gannon and Fangio even served as a consultant leading up to Super Bowl LVII.
At his end-of-the-season press conference, Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni explained his philosophy on defense.
“You think you're going to see that I really believe in, you know this, that I really believe in the turnover differential, I really believe in the explosive-play differential. There are things of that nature of that defense that I like,” Sirianni said.
“Then there's going to be things situationally that are non-negotiables. I guess, to say with me, whether it's third-and-long, whether it's tight red zone, whether it's two-minute, end-of-game plays, whether it's four-minute defense backed up.
“I’m naturally going to have things that I'm going to require the next defensive coordinator to do. But I also know that I'm hiring somebody to do their job to the best of their abilities, and that's why I'm hiring them.”
The Eagles have now filled both of their vacant coordinator positions. They promoted quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson to offensive coordinator to replace Shane Steichen, who is now the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.
But hiring Johnson always seemed extremely likely. The search for a defensive coordinator was a little more involved. The Eagles clearly wanted to cast a wide net looking for Gannon’s replacement. They interviewed several candidates with varying backgrounds and philosophies before eventually landing on Desai. The Eagles interviewed him in person in Philadelphia on Monday before flying to Indianapolis.
The Eagles statistically had the second-best defense in the NFL in 2022, giving up just 301.5 yards per game in the regular season. The defense also did a great job in the first two playoff games before running into Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in their Super Bowl LVII loss.
There’s a good chance the Eagles’ defense takes a step back in 2023 because of personnel. There are several key pending free agents from that side of the football including Javon Hargrave, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Fletcher Cox, James Bradberry, Brandon Graham, T.J. Edwards, Kyzir White and Marcus Epps.