While the Eagles flew home after a devastating Super Bowl LVII loss, former defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon stayed back in Arizona to interview and work out a deal to become the new Arizona Cardinals head coach. The Eagles made a push to keep Gannon around, but the Cardinals made an offer Gannon could not refuse.
From NFL Now: The #AZCardinals have now reached an agreement with #Eagles DC Jonathan Gannon for him to be their new head coach. pic.twitter.com/gN7BMh0UFX— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 14, 2023
From NFL Now: The #AZCardinals have now reached an agreement with #Eagles DC Jonathan Gannon for him to be their new head coach. pic.twitter.com/gN7BMh0UFX
Gannon, 40, was hired in the 2021 offseason to usher in a new Eagles era alongside a new coach and quarterback. In his first season, Gannon took control of the 10th-ranked defense in the NFL. The team posted the second-most defensive touchdowns and allowed the fifth-fewest explosive plays in the league. The defense also finished ninth in opponent rushing yards per game and opponent three-and-out percentage. Following the 2021 season, three players were named to the Pro Bowl – cornerback Darius Slay, defensive tackle Javon Hargrave and defensive end Josh Sweat.
In 2022, Gannon took that defense and made some improvements – though they didn’t come right away. The biggest improvement came from criticisms of Gannon not calling blitzes enough. The Eagles defense became the best passing defense in the NFL. The Eagles also ranked sixth in Total Defense DVOA. In the 2022 season, two defensive players were named to the Pro Bowl – Slay and linebacker Haason Reddick.
Ultimately, fans were very critical of the lack of adjustments Gannon made in some games over his two-season stint with the Birds. They were also frustrated with the lack of blitz calls by the former defensive coordinator.
The Eagles will have to look for a new guy to call the shots on the star-studded defense. It will be a busy off-season working out contracts for the Eagles defensive free agents while searching for their new defensive coordinator.