Flying The Coop
Birds OC, DC Leave For HC Jobs
Less than 24 hours after losing in Super Bowl LVII, the Eagles have already lost two of their most vital pieces of their coaching staff.
Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen and defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, both handpicked by head coach Nick Sirianni in 2021 to start a new regime, are each leaving to become head coaches.
Steichen, who was in charge of the NFL’s third-ranked scoring offense, was announced as the new head of the Indianapolis Colts.
Signed. Sealed. Delivered. pic.twitter.com/1inKUARa1x
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) February 14, 2023
Gannon, who presided over the league’s second-ranked defense, was hired to be the Arizona Cardinals’ next head coach.
Welcome to the Valley, Coach!
We’ve agreed to terms with Jonathan Gannon to become our next head coach! pic.twitter.com/jDp9MezorO
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) February 14, 2023
Gannon’s next home field is the same stadium in which the Eagles just lost, 38-35, to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl.
The Eagles allowed just 20.1 points per game this year, seventh-best in the league, and finished with the top-ranked pass defense while also setting a franchise record with 70 sacks.
Defensive pass game coordinator Dennard Wilson, also defensive backs coach, could be an in-house candidate to fill Gannon’s void if the Eagles opt to stay in-house.
Under Steichen, the Eagles averaged 28.1 points per game this year – tops in the NFC, behind only Kansas City and Buffalo – and finished top-five in total yards, rushing, third-down efficiency, fourth-down percentage, red zone and goal-to-go. They were top-10 passing and tine of possession.
The likeliest replacement for Steichen is quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson, per Inside The Birds’ Adam Caplan.
Brian Johnson is the likely promotion to OC, #Panthers are also interested in him for that role. https://t.co/gM3S6nxmk3
— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) February 12, 2023
Johnson is another Sirianni hire who joined the team with Sirianni before the 2021 season. Johnson is largely credited with Jalen Hurts’ development this season into an overnight MVP contender.
Steichen, who calls plays, also helped the 2021 offense reverse course after a 3-5 start, refocusing the team’s philosophy into a run-first approach.
Sirianni handed play-calling over to Steichen around that time, and the Eagles won seven of their last nine games to make the playoffs at 9-8. The Eagles scored 30 or more points in four of those seven wins down the stretch in 2021.
The Eagles added Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Brown in the offseason, enabling the Eagles to open the passing game this past year behind an improved Hurts, who passed for 22 touchdowns and registered a 101.5 passer rating.
This is the second time in five years the Colts have plucked their new head coach from the Eagles’ staff. Indianapolis hired former Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich as its head coach after Reich helped the Eagles win Super Bowl LII over the Patriots.
Gannon’s defense took a major step forward this year thanks to the additions of edge defender Haason Reddick, safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, cornerback James Bradberry, linebacker Kyzir White.
All of those newcomers except for Reddick are on expiring contracts and stand to hit free agency next month.
– Geoff Mosher (@geoffmoshernfl) is co-host of the “Inside the Birds” podcast and staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.
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