Five defensive coordinators the Eagles should target if they lose Jonathan Gannon

PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 03: Philadelphia Eagles free safety Rodney McLeod (23) celebrates a turnover during the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs on October 3, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

It’s no secret that Eagles fans have had a love/hate relationship with DC, Jonathan Gannon.

The Eagles defense was 9th against the run, 11th against the pass, and 18th overall. The real issue was the team’s lack of aggressiveness on defense, and the completion percentage given up to QB’s this year (both 31st and 32nd respectively).

However despite the roller-coaster results, Gannon has been a recent hot name in the open Head Coaching cycle.

Kris Richard – DB Coach for the New Orleans Saints

There were a lot of people who were surprised when Richard wasn’t retained by the Cowboys after Jason Garrett got fired. Richard was one of the bright young spots on a Dallas coaching staff and helped debvelop young talents like Trevon Diggs.

His experience in Dallas also took somewhat away from his work with the Legion of Boom in Seattle from 2015-2017. While the Seahawks never got back to the Super Bowl with Richard, the defense ranked in the top half for the majority of his tenure.

He’s an intriguing name to look out for, especially since the Saints defense was once again dominant this year in the secondary.

Mike Zimmer – HC for Minnesota Vikings

Odds are Zimmer is not going to get a Head Coaching opportunity again, and while many in Minnesota will say good riddance, people forget just how good the Vikings defense has been over the last few years.

Zimmer’s signature “Double A-Gap Blitz” was a calling card that allowed linebackers Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr to blossom into Pro-Bowl LB’s for the Vikings. While many would question how his downfall in Minnesota happened, it’s also fair to point to outside factors as well.

Kirk Cousins has had an abysmal record in primetime games, the defense dealt with a ton of injuries this year, and the inconsistencies on offense were too much to handle.

Zimmer may no longer get a chance to be a HC, but he definitely can be a dominant DC again.

John Pagano – LB Coach for Denver Broncos

Chalk this one up as the favorite to land the job in Gannon ends up leaving.

Pagano has worked with Sirianni in the past in San Diego, has worked with some of the brightest defensive minds in football (Vic Fangio) and has prior DC experience. Pagano’s got a heavy background on the defensive side of the ball and has coached all over the defense so there won’t be a position group that gets overlooked like in the past.

Doesn’t hurt that’s he’s worked with almost everyone on that Eagles staff.

Wade Phillips – DC for pretty much everyone

Noone is going to be talking about it, but it’s time for Wade Phillips to get back to coaching defenses.

Phillips has one of the greatest resumes when it comes to coaching defenses and he’s had a knack for taking average groups and making them extraordinary.

Phillips defense in 2018 was simply dominant in LA, even holding the eventual Super Bowl Champion Patriots to 13 points, lowest ever by a Super Bowl winning team. Many coaches Phillips age usually spend a year away from the game and come back reinvigorated.

If the cream of the crop of defensive coordinators are gone, the Eagles should absolutely call Phillips and give him full autonomy of the defense.

Vic Fangio – Head Coach for Denver Broncos

The white whale. The target of everyone in Philadelphia’s affection since it was announced Gannon was in the running for multiple Head Coaching jobs.

It’s hard to argue against it either.

Fangio is arguably the brightest defensive mind in football today and someone who can turn the Eagles defense around just in one day. His work in Denver and Chicago have shown that he can make good players great, and the great players legendary.

The only downside to Fangio is that he’s going to be one of the most sought-after GM’s and might want to go to a team with better linebackers.

But there’s no mistake, Roseman and the Eagles should offer Fangio a blank check and let him completely run the defense. It might even bring in a new age of actually solid linebackers.

Bring him in, Philly!

Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire