Jonathan Gannon returning to the Eagles is a good thing

PHILADELPHIA, PA – DECEMBER 26: Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon and Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (91) chat during the game between the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles on December 26, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

Stability is a word that gets thrown around a lot in the NFL. Sometimes stability is seen as a bad thing if the word is associated with a middling franchise. In other cases, it could be exactly what a team needs. Stability in its coaching staff, its scheme, and its players.

In the case of Jonathan Gannon, stability is something that is very much needed as he looks to return to the Eagles after being a finalist for the Houston Texans job.

It’s easy to say that Gannon returning to the team is a bad thing for the defense. With an infusion of young talent on the horizon, room to grow in cap space, and a few really nice pieces to start, Gannon returning offers a unique opportunity for a top-10 defense in the NFL last year, to get even better.

Coaching/Front Office Changes have been constant

Since 2017, the Eagles have watched on helplessly as staff members have been poached for better positions. Most recently, the Eagles lost their director of player personnel to promotion in New York.

But for the first time since the 2016 offseason, the Eagles will head into the Combine, free agency, and the draft with the same coaching staff they started with. No assistants leaving for coordinator positions, no coordinators leaving for head coaching jobs, or even incompetent coaches being fired from a lack of results.

It’s a refreshing change for a team that has desperately needed it.

QB Jalen Hurts has talked about the importance of having the same OC, HC, and QB coach going into next season and how it would be the first time he’s had that stability since High School.

The same could be said for the Eagles defense too. They’ve recycled defensive line, and linebacker coaches every other year. For young players like Josh Sweat, Avonte Maddox and even Marcus Epps, this is something that will help the team down the road. There is talent on this defense to get results. Having the same coaching staff to build the talent they have is very important.

The scheme highlights team needs

The Zimmer- Cover 2 zone defense is very complex and requires athletic linebackers to make a lot of plays all over the field. Obviously, the Eagles have not had an LB match that skillset for close to four years now and it’s made the needs on the roster very apparent.

The #2 corner position might not have the same importance as defensive end and linebacker right now, and that’s okay given how secondary-friendly the scheme is.

Gannon should be given the opportunity to build a defense with the type of personnel that matches the scheme he wants to run. It’s been reported that although the Eagles haven’t focused on the LB position recently, they also are aware that the defensive alignment has changed.

Gannon returning could finally bring in the type of every-down linebacker the fanbase has been begging for since Jordan Hicks left.

A familiar scheme is never bad for young players.

The results were not all bad

The 2021 Eagles were a team in transition that just so happened to make the playoffs. The roster was nowhere near ready and yet somehow they made it in.

The Eagles defense was poor and historically bad against above average QB’s. They also promptly destroyed all the bad quarterbacks they faced.

That is a marker on where the team was at the time. With another year under the same scheme, an infusion of younger talent along with some veteran help, the defense should be a lot better in 2022.

When a scheme matches up with the strengths of players on the roster, any scheme can look excellent. Gannon’s scheme last year was lacking due to the players and overall synergy of what was on the field. His return offers structure and stability to an Eagles defense that definitely needs it. The players yet to be added will be the true driving force in discovering whether Gannon’s scheme is just average, or if the players last year were not good enough.

Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire