Eagles News: 8 defensive coordinator candidates if Gannon gets hired elsewhere
Despite a rocky season, Eagles DC Jonathan Gannon has garnered significant interest from teams looking for their next head coach.
According to a report from ESPN, Gannon is considered to be a front-runner for the open job in Houston after a strong interview:
“One of the hottest names out there is that of Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, who I’m told made a very strong impression in his interview with the Texans and is considered by some in that building to be the current front-runner for the job.”
Gannon, who came over from Indianapolis with Sirianni, adjusted well down the stretch after struggling to find the right fit for his personnel. Excluding the final game against Dallas, his defense allowed just 16.5 points per game since Week 8.
If Gannon does get hired to lead another franchise, Philadelphia will be in the market for a new defensive coordinator.
Let’s take a look at eight potential candidates:
The popular candidate amongst the fanbase, Fangio was recently let go as Broncos head coach after winning just 19 games in three seasons (the carousel at QB probably didn’t help).
Before being hired for the job in 2019, Fangio spent a combined 19 years as defensive coordinator with the Panthers, Colts, Texans, 49ers and Bears. Denver’s defense ranked in the top 10 in both yards allowed per game (8th) and points allowed per game (3rd) this season.
Fangio won’t be unemployed for long.
If Jon Gannon gets a head coaching gig at 12:00, Nick Sirianni needs to be on the phone with Vic Fangio at 12:01.— Paul Domowitch (@pdomo) January 21, 2022
An under-the-radar candidate for a coordinator position, Williams has done stellar work as the cornerbacks’ coach in Arizona. Before joining the Cardinals in 2019, Williams coached defensive backs in Indianapolis and Denver.
After losing Patrick Peterson and Dre Kirkpatrick, Williams led his secondary to the 7th ranked passing defense this season. CBs Byron Murphy Jr. and Robert Alford thrived in a season where much wasn’t expected of them, a testament to Williams’ coaching ability.
This candidate is a long shot based on the simple fact that Flores is likely sprinting to Houston to be with the quarterback he tried to acquire. Miami finished 9-8 this season under Flores after starting 1-7. He was fired soon after — following what was described as a power struggle.
A vital part of the Super Bowl 53 victory over the Rams, Flores spent the prior ten seasons as a defensive coach in New England before being hired by the Dolphins in 2019. There’s a reason why he already has head coaching interviews lined up.
Giants are expected to request permission to speak with former Dolphins' HC Brian Flores for their HC position, per sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 21, 2022
Flores is from Brooklyn and Giants would represent a homecoming.
Giants also expected to speak with Dan Quinn and Brian Daboll, amongst others.
After a stellar run in Baltimore, Wink Martindale will be one of the most sought-after coordinators available.
Having 17 years of defensive coaching experience, Martindale joined the Ravens in 2012 as a linebackers coach before being promoted to DC in 2018.
Even without several starters at times, his units have consistently ranked near the top of the league in multiple categories. With the surprise firing of Martindale, one of the greatest coordinators of the last decade may have just fallen into Philadelphia’s lap.
Statement from Head Coach John Harbaugh on Don Martindale. pic.twitter.com/j0zkpgmX1I— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) January 21, 2022
The Eagles interviewed Mayo for their head coaching job last January before eventually hiring Nick Sirianni.
As the current inside linebackers coach for New England, Mayo’s defense has ranked near the top of the league in each of his three seasons in points allowed and yards allowed.
Mayo is currently getting head coaching interest from a number of teams. Even if he took a DC job in Philadelphia – it wouldn’t be long before he moves on.
Recently fired by Minnesota, Mike Zimmer is still viewed as one of the best defensive minds in the NFL.
From 2014 to 2019, Zimmer consistently had the Vikings’ defense in the top 10.
The question becomes if Zimmer is willing to take a coordinator job at this point in his career. There are also rumors circulating of a potential reunion in Dallas if current DC Dan Quinn moves on. Something to keep an eye on.
If anybody can take credit for the development of Jaire Alexander, it’s Packers defensive backs coach Jerry Gray. Joining the team in 2020, Gray immediately helped coach Alexander to his best season as PFF’s top-graded cornerback.
After losing their prized corner early in the season, the Packers picked up Rasul Douglas off Arizona’s practice squad. Under Gray’s tutelage, Douglas revived his career with 13 passes defended, five interceptions and two touchdowns.
Gray will be rising up the ranks soon enough.
If Sirianni is looking to promote from within, Dennard Wilson is a tremendous candidate. Wilson joined the Eagles last offseason as the defensive backs coach under Jonathan Gannon.
Having previously coached defensive backs with the Rams and Jets, Wilson has yet to get a DC job. Eagles CB Darius Slay thinks he deserves one:
“Dennard, man, he’s been a great coach. He helped me elevate my game to a whole ‘nother level. He ain’t never steered me wrong, not once yet. I’m just surprised he’s been in the game 15 years and not had a DC job because he’s a smart dude. And he played in this league before so I won’t be surprised if sooner or later he has one of them jobs.”
Perhaps the Eagles will give him a chance if Gannon gets hired elsewhere.
Darius Slay this season:— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) December 4, 2021
• 39 catches allowed
• 30 yards allowed per game
• 74.4 passer rating when targeted
• 3 INTs
Jalen Ramsey this season:
• 40 catches allowed
• 35 yards allowed per game
• 71.4 passer rating when targeted
• 3 INTs
Slay keeping up with the best. pic.twitter.com/M8BO6BNLAm