February 28, 2023   4 MIN READ

‘Best Guy For The Job’

Sirianni Pumped For Sean Desai As DC


INDIANAPOLIS  The Eagles traveled to Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine without an official offensive and defensive coordinator.

It didn’t take long for them to fill those roles and some others while some positions are still in flux.

On Tuesday, the team confirmed that Sean Desai will be its next defensive coordinator. The Eagles also confirmed that Brian Johnson was promoted to offensive coordinator, with Alex Tanney moving to quarterbacks coach from quality control coach to fill Johnson’s void, along with some other in-house promotions.

Nick Sirianni

ITB Photo: Nick Sirianni spoke at the NFL Scouting Combine about the newest additions to his coaching staff.

Desai, the Bears’ defensive coordinator in 2021, spent last season on Pete Carroll’s staff in Seattle, serving as Seahawks assistant head coach. He edged in-house candidate Dennard Wilson, the Eagles’ defensive backs coach for the past two seasons whose role with the organization is now fluid.

“I think just his overall knowledge of football” is what stood out about Desai, Eagles coach Sirianni said in his schedule podium interview. “ His football IQ is extremely high, in great detail. Just a really sharp coach. I’m excited he’s on our staff.”

Desai had spent the previous nine seasons in Chicago, where he worked under some recognizable defensive names, including Mel Tucker, John Fox and Vic Fangio. His defense for the Bears in 2021 implemented many concepts from Fangio’s defense when Fangio was Bears defensive coordinator from 2015-2018.

The Bears finished 6-11 in 2021 under head coach Matt Nagy, but Desai’s defense finished ranked sixth in yards allowed and third overall in pass defense.  Chicago ranked 11th and 13th, respectively, in third-down and red-zone defense.

Desai takes over for Jonathan Gannon, who left the post after two seasons to become Arizona Cardinals head coach. 

Gannon was frequently criticized for what fans perceived as a passive approach and not enough blitzing, even though the Eagles set a franchise record and led the NFL with 70 sacks.

In 2021, the Bears under Desai blitzed on 22.6% of snaps, ranking 23rd in the league. Gannon in 2021 ranked 31st (17.4%) and this past season ranked 18 (22.1%).

The addition of Desai might lead to more additions and a subtraction to the Eagles’ defensive staff.

Sirianni couldn’t say for sure if Wilson would stay with the team, although he said the Eagles “would be happy to have him.” Wilson has been credited with the development of safety Marcus Epps and the overall play of the team’s secondary this season.

Also, the Eagles are still without a linebackers coach after losing Nick Rallis to Gannon’s staff in Arizona along with a senior assistant. 

Sources told ITB to watch for Vikings assistant head coach Mike Pettine potentially joining DeSai in Philadelphia as both worked together for the Bears, where Pettine served as senior defensive assistant in 2021. Pettine, a Doylestown native, has also coached linebackers in the past and is a former NFL head coach and defensive coordiantor.

Sirianni interviewed several candidates for defensive coordinator, including Vance Joseph and Georgia co-defensive coordinator Glenn Schumann, but Desai’s experience impressed him.  

“My job was to go through the process and just like we do with everything cast a wide net and get to know different people and get to talk to different people and get to see who was ready for the job,” he said. “I think we interviewed a really good group of guys and was really impressed by all of them, actually. At the end of the day, just some experience Sean had and calling [plays]. But also just I’ve just got to do what I feel is best for the team, and I felt like Sean was the best guy for the job.”

– Geoff Mosher (@geoffmoshernfl) is co-host of the “Inside the Birds” podcast and staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.

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