Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni defends Jonathan Gannon following defensive let down in Dallas
Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon is no stranger to scrutiny in this city.
Ever since he was hired by Nick Sirianni during the 2021 offseason, Gannon has been the subject of nearly every criticism revolving around the Eagles defense – fair or not. For the majority of the 2022 season, Gannon has been able to skate by without the heat of Philadelphia fans. Mostly because his defensive unit is top-5 in the league in almost every major category.
On Christmas Eve, when the Eagles traveled to Dallas to take on the Cowboys, Gannon’s defense unraveled a bit. Aside from the pick-six on Dallas’ first possession, Dak Prescott and Co. moved the ball with relative ease against Gannon’s group.
Prescott was on point for most of the afternoon, completing over 77 percent of his passes for three touchdowns and 347 yards. Dak also completed all 24 of his passing attempts against zone coverage on Saturday, including this gut wrenching 3rd and 30 conversion.
That’s the definition of nightmare fuel.
Following the loss, Gannon has once again been thrown under the bus by Eagles fans and Philly media. Despite the heavy criticism, Sirianni stuck up for his defensive coordinator during his weekly appearance on the 94WIP Morning Show Tuesday morning.
“I have a ton of faith in Jonathan Gannon,” Sirianni told Angelo Cataldi and the morning team. “He keeps answering the bell. I know there’s scrutiny on him, especially on your show, of if he’s a good coordinator or not. And he is most definitely a great coordinator who is giving us a chance, helping us develop the defense. We have good players and he is a good coordinator. I stand on the table for him and I am convicted in Jonathan Gannon. I know how good of a football coach he is, I know how high of a demand he’ll be this offseason. I know how high of a demand he was when we got him here as a coach. I love him. He’ll rebound from a tough game that we have as a defense, that we had as an offense, we will completely as a team rebound from this.”
Sirianni has always been a staunch defender of Gannon, so this shouldn’t surprise Eagles fans.
The head coach went on to describe the 3rd and 30 play, stating, “So we’re in a cover-2 zone defense right there and so what happens there on that one, is [Darius] Slay is responsible for the flat and then Josiah [Scott] is responsible for the deep pass… Josiah has to make that play in that scenario, yeah no doubt. Again, we’re going to all want plays back from that game. I want plays back from that game. There were plays where I came out saying that wasn’t good enough coaching, I said that a lot. And Josiah is going to want that play back.”
Personally, I’ve shied away from hopping on the ‘bash Gannon’ train over the past two years. Last season, he barely had any talent to work with. This year he does, and the results speak for themselves.
The NFL is an offensive driven league. Defensive coordinators have to constantly adjust to what offenses are showing them. Rarely will you see a defensive coordinator devise a defensive scheme so great that opposing offenses have to adjust to it. It’s about the talent you have at your disposal on the defensive side of the ball. It’s about adjusting to that talent, not the scheme as a whole.
Gannon obviously deserves some scrutiny after what we witnessed on Saturday. Allowing a 3rd and 30 conversion and allowing Prescott to have his way against the Eagles defense is unacceptable. But if we’re looking at the bigger picture, we know Gannon is well equipped personnel-wise to correct the mistakes we saw on Saturday.
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Mandatory Credit: PhillyVoice