Philadelphia is a town that relishes in the abrupt, impulsive decision. Following the team’s 27-24 loss to the Chargers that saw the franchise fall to 3-6, Eagles fans everywhere are looking for someone to blame for the team’s poor defensive start. All eyes move to Jonathan Gannon.
Make no mistake, this isn’t an article absolving Gannon from another poor performance against a top 10 QB in the league. This is more about adding in additional context which is needed when judging first time play-callers.
There’s many reasons why the Eagles should look to retain their entire coaching staff next year. They probably won’t, but firing Jonathan Gannon for the first nine weeks of the season, would be as big a mistake as retaining Howie Roseman after the year.
There’s plenty of evidence to back this claim up as well.
Once upon a time, the Eagles had a really young Defensive Coordinator named Sean McDermott. The defense was very bad in the two years he was coordinator, and he was wrongfully fired for things that weren’t his fault.
He went on to become one of the greatest defensive minds of the modern era.
The 2010 Eagles defense was really bad, and the Eagles fired their DC because it was a better move than saying the obvious – the defense lacked legit talent to do anything on a respectable level. Asante Samuel and Trent Cole were pretty much the only legitimate good players the defense had.
Sean McDermott was 36 when he was fired in Philly. Gannon is 38.
McDermott then ended up in Carolina where he reached a Super Bowl and amassed three consecutive divisional crowns. That’s not to say that Gannon is destined for the same fate, but to abandon him so early would be shortsighted, especially if growth is the name of the game.
If the Eagles are going to make the same mistake they made in 2010 by firing a coordinator too early, they run the risk of losing out on a bright mind that needs time to grow.
The city of Philadelphia is angry and the easy thing to do is blame the DC, fire him, and find another coach. But that defeats the whole purpose of why these young coaches are here and it’s not worth losing out on bright defensive minds just because of a bad year.
Sean McDermott only had Asante Samuel and Trent Cole. Can we honestly and objectively list the amount of studs this defense currently has?
Hargrave, Slay….maybe Sweat?
Fletcher Cox has been a no-show even before this season, Graham is out for the year, where had Rodney McLeod been? There are not enough players on this defensive roster to actually judge Gannon as a coordinator.
I don’t care how many times Davion Taylor makes a hit 10 yards off the ball, the Eagles LB’s are worse than ANYTHING McDermott had to deal with.
Gannon walked into a very difficult situation. The defensive roster did not have a lot of speed going into the year, and it’s shown week in and week out. That’s not an indictment on Gannon, that’s an indictment on the people making the roster decisions.
I’m not going to lie, like many other Eagle fans, it’s frustrating watching the defense get shredded against top offenses week in and week out. Like I said earlier, this wasn’t going to be a defense of Gannon’s job through nine games.
But for the love of god people, we need to be realistic on what we expect out of this year. People upset over the fact that the Eagles are 0-4 at home, but neglect the fact that the four losses come from some of the better teams in pro football.
People upset over the fact at how the great QB’s are shredding the defense also neglect the fact that the Eagles have played a ton of All-Pro QB’s to this point this season.
Mahomes, Brady, Dak, Ryan, Carr, Herbert are all Pro-Bowl/All-Pro talents. Then throw in the fact that JimmyG and Goff have been Super Bowl QB’s. That’s six of the first nine games where the defense has gone up against great players.
The team isn’t good enough against top talent. It’s been obvious for nine games. That’s not an indictment on the coaching staff, the talent is just not there.
The time for rash decisions is not now, they’ve already done that when they fired Doug Pederson, and kept Howie Roseman.
It would be organizational malpractice to fire a DC when the talent he is working with is so poor. It would look even worse that Gannon wouldn’t even be able to get a second year while the GM who is providing these players to him gets chance after chance after chance.
Patience is a virtue Eagles fans must learn when it comes to the first step of this rebuilding roster.
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire