Kincade & Salciunas: Weekdays 6am – 10am

Kincade & Salciunas: Weekdays 6am – 10am

Kincade & Salciunas: Weekdays 6am – 10am

Nick Sirianni panicked by demoting Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Sean Desai after 13 games. His adjustment only made a strugglinng defense worse.

The decision to expand Matt Patricia’s responsibilities as the primary decision-maker on defense was a knee jerk move. It turned a bad two-game stretch against good opponents into a complete disaster that sunk the team all the way down to the brutal embarrassment in their final three games.

Andrew DiCecco identified the decision as the “turning point” of the Philadelphia Eagles collapse down the stretch. He spoke about the future of the DC position when he spoke on The John Kincade Show

The Eagles can’t enter the 2024 season with Desai or Patricia as the DC. DiCecco proposed four external candidates who could take the position.

Eagles Defensive Coordinator Decision

An announcement on Nick Sirianni’s future will precede any decision the Eagles make to hire a defensive coordinator. Their lack of success on the defensive side of the ball, however, means they need to take action during the offseason.

If Sirianni does return in 2024, it’s likely that Howie Roseman and Jeffrey Lurie will take a more active role in choosing the new DC. Their defensive philosophy in recent seasons has aligned with the Vic Fangio scheme focused on limiting explosive plays.

The philosophy has its flaws. However, the Eagles experienced relative success through the NFC Championship Game under Gannon in 2022. A tremendous pass rush and opportunistic turnovers carried them to an impressive statistical finish and the Super Bowl appearance.

The evaluation of a potential new DC will likely depend on how the candidates feel about employing a similar approach to accomplish the organization’s objective.

  • Dennard Wilson

    Nick Sirianni fired Dennard Wilson after the 2023 season in a questionable move just after his former defensive backs coach was one of the leading candidates who missed out on a promotion to the DC position to replace Jonathan Gannon.

    DiCecco suspects that Wilson would only return if Sirianni isn’t the head coach. Darius Slay spoke to The Philadelphia Inquirer about his respect for Wilson, who spent the 2023 on the Baltimore Ravens staff under John Harbaugh.

    “I think he would have made a lot of difference…He was loved by us. I thought, for sure, he should have stayed…It would have been better, regardless (if he was the defensive coordinator or the defensive backs coach).” –Darius Slay

    Sydney Brown, Eli Ricks, and Kelee Ringo will factor heavily into the future of an aging secondary. Younger players could benefit from tough coaching and accountability as they develop into key pieces of a restructured defense.

  • Al Harris

    The Eagles boasted the best secondary in the NFL in the early 2000s when Brian Dawkins patrolled the field during his prime years. Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor covered the outside, but Al Harris was a less-celebrated contributor.

    Harris spent the first five of his 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles from 1998-2002, playing mostly under Andy Reid and Jim Johnson. He has worked as the defensive backs coach for the Dallas Cowboys since 2020.

    The Cowboys developed Trevon Diggs as one of the most dangerous ballhawks in the NFL during his first three seasons. After a torn ACL ended his 2023 season early, DaRon Bland stepped in seamlessly. He led the league with nine interceptions and set an NFL record returning five of them for touchdowns.

    Philadelphia fans who previously wanted to say Diggs’ big-play ability was somewhat fluky must acknowledge that the Dallas coaching staff plugged in a second ballhawk with even more success.

    The Eagles finished tied for 25th in the NFL with nine interceptions in 2023. They picked off opposing quarterbacks 17 times in 2022 on their way to a 14-3 record.

    Al Harris, Philadelphia Eagles Defensive Coordinator Candidate

  • Jesse Minter

    The University of Michigan just won their first NCAA National Championship since 1997. Jim Harbaugh has dominated the headlines as an NFL head coaching candidate. However, a powerhouse program with a fierce defense that led the nation allowing just 10.4 points per game also points to a possible promotion for their DC.

    Jesse Minter will be a hot commodity this offseason. NFL prospects like Kris Jenkins, Rod Moore, and Junior Colson flourished for the Wolverines in 2023. The Eagles have spent significant draft capital in recent seasons on defensive players (mainly from Georgia).

    Could a new DC from the college ranks translate to the NFL level?

  • Ryan Nielsen

    Journeyman coach Ryan Nielsen earned his first opportunity as a solo defensive coordinator in 2023 with the Atlanta Falcons. He bounced around through the NCAA and professional ranks since age 23, shortly after he stopped a playing career that included signing a contract as an undrafted free agent with the Eagles in 2002. 

    The Falcons finished 24th in defensive DVOA in 2023. The Eagles finished 29th despite a roster with more talent, especially along the defensive front. They were one of only six teams in the NFL that forced fewer turnovers than the Eagles. 

    If a candidate like Nielsen got the opportunity to work with more talent, could he lead a unit back into the top half of the league? The NFL might find out after the Falcons let go of Arthur Smith. Nielsen’s future isn’t certain yet with a coaching staff in flux. 

    Ryan Nielsen, Philadelphia Eagles Defensive Coordinator Candidate

  • Watch the Full Interview With Andrew DiCecco


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