Slay shares his … interesting analogy for Eagles' DC switch originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
The Eagles defense wasn’t good and then it became a disaster.
When we think back at the 2023 Eagles season, we’re all probably going to remember it as the season they weirdly decided to switch from Sean Desai to Matt Patricia.
And that left the Eagles searching for an identity on defense.
“That’s kind of like two marriages,” veteran cornerback Darius Slay said at locker cleanout day this week. “You know how hard two marriages would probably be in a household? Two personalities of two women? That’s tough. No offense to the women.
“Yeah, that’s crazy talk. One might want a feet rub, one might want a shoulder rub. That’s crazy.”
It’s unclear which one is Desai and which one is Patricia in that scenario.
While that’s certainly a colorful analogy to use for the Eagles’ situation at defensive coordinator from this past season, it’s pretty clear that it was tough for the Eagles to spend all of training camp and the first 14 weeks with Desai in charge and then have to flip to Patricia.
“As you can tell, s—, trying to find an identity with two different coaches is hard to do as a player,” Slay said.
It’s not like the entire defense changed, which made it even weirder. You had Patricia calling plays from Desai’s playbook, while also implementing elements from his philosophy. So you ended up with the worst parts from both, players who were completely confused and a defense that offered little to no resistance down the stretch as the season collapsed.
“I’ve been with Matty P before so I know what kind of guys his mindset is as a defense. He’s an in-your-face, press guy every play,” Slay said. “Desai is more of a, quote, unquote, half guy. Two different type of styles. He tried to blend it in with both of them.
“It’s just hard for guys to adapt to it that late in the season from something they’re doing from training camp all the way to Week 10, Week 11. Shoot, that’s a lot of weeks. I can’t even keep count right now. That’s a lot of reps we done took since camp. For us to try to figure out new stuff to do and build his type of identity in the defense is just hard.”
Slay said he felt like the Eagles were physical on defense this season but they weren’t smart and physical and they weren’t as detailed as they needed to be.
There will be plenty of changes on that side of the ball this offseason and it will likely start with that defensive coordinator position. First, the Eagles will have to figure out whether or not head coach Nick Sirianni will return for 2024.
Either way, the team will have to figure out the DC job. Technically, that title still belongs to Desai but it seems unlikely he or Patricia will be retained.
But some key players will return on that side of the ball. And even though Slay is 33 now, he was still the Eagles’ best corner in 2023 and is expected to return in 2024.
What does he want from the Eagles’ next defense?
“Whatever scheme that helps us win,” Slay said. “Whatever scheme he brings to help us get Ws and help us be a top defense in the NFL, that’s what I want to run. My type of defense will be the same. I’ve always been a man/quarters type of corner. I’m sure whatever happens, that’s probably going to be kind of built in. Whatever they need me to go do, though, I’m going to go do it to my best ability.”