Nick Sirianni shouldn’t even have to defend Jonathan Gannon.
The Eagles are 9-1, the defense is ranked No. 2 in the league and since Sirianni and Gannon got here last year, the Eagles’ defense is 5th-best in the NFL. The Eagles have held 13 of the last 15 teams they’ve faced to 17 or fewer points.
They’re first in takeaways, first in interceptions, third in sacks. And they’ve allowed the fewest plays of 30 yards or more in the NFL.
You’d think Gannon would be revered around here, and he should be. But Sirianni often finds himself in the position of having to defend Gannon, and he gave the 39-year-old defensive coordinator as strong a vote of confidence as you could on Wednesday.
“I believe in Jonathan Gannon, I believe in Jonathan Gannon,” Sirianni said. “He's a great football coach, and you have continued to see the defenses get better and better and better as he's been here.
“I get it, we all get it, we're in a week-to-week league when it comes to some of these things, right? We know that after a bad performance they're going to be calling for us. After a good performance, right, whatever. So, we understand the waves of the season. (But) I believe in him, and he knows that, I tell him that all the time.”
Every defense in history has had a bad game or two, and Gannon’s unit struggled at times in the loss to Washington, although the Commanders needed 55- and 58-yard field goals just to reach 26 points.
Still, it wasn’t a very good performance. But the defense bounced back in a huge way Sunday in Indianapolis, pretty much keeping the game from getting out of hand until the offense finally got going in the fourth quarter.
“Think about where we are in all the major statistical things and the turnovers and the explosive plays,” Sirianni said. “Really, all I care about statistically are turnovers, explosive plays and points, and we're doing a really good job in all those things.”
There are some big challenges coming up for Gannon’s group.
Aaron Rodgers comes to town Sunday night, Derrick Henry the following week, Saquon Barkley is up in a couple weeks and Dak Prescott, Tony Pollard, CeeDee Lamb and Co. are looming in North Texas on Christmas Eve.
There’s nobody Sirianni would rather have running his defense in any of those games.
“I just have so much faith in him, I have so much faith in his staff, so much faith in those players,” Sirianni said. “They play for him. I just think he's a special coach.
“I would love for him to be here the entire time I'm the head coach here, but I know that that's probably not reality. I love Jonathan Gannon, how he coaches, and just who he is as a person. I'm so glad he's our defensive coordinator.”