The rest of the Eagles season will truly reveal Jonathan Gannon’s improvement after Year 1

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)

If the Eagles are to go all the way this season it would have to be on the back of this well-put-together defensive unit. Howie Roseman has gone above and beyond to give Jonathan Gannon all of the necessary pieces that he would need to succeed. These pieces aren’t ordinary ones either. From inexperienced to veterans, Roseman has delivered players that were either on top of their game not too long ago or settling into their prime. 

Last season, Gannon struggled to find his footing with this unit. Although he was very much sought after for a head coaching gig, Gannon’s rough season as a first-time Defensive Coordinator could’ve been the reason that he didn’t land at any of these open positions.

He has delivered well this season as he’s coached up one of the top defensive teams in the league by far. They’re also the top team in takeaways which has been unheard of for quite some time in South Philly. Don’t get me wrong, he has his head-scratching moments where it didn’t make sense to be in a prevent defense or hold back on being aggressive but for the most part, he has delivered a great product.

There are still several weaknesses that need to be covered if the Eagles are to make a run. While pass rush was one of them, the addition of Robert Quinn should help rectify that issue. Unfortunately, another issue has been their consistency against the run. If the Eagles are going to play deep into January and February then they need to be able to stop the run as an elite defense should.

Eagles against opponents

Opponents are currently averaging 5 yards per carry against Gannon’s unit which isn’t where you want this defense to be. Even with a great jump in their turnover percentage from 3.1% last year to 22.2% this year, the Eagles still have to be very aware of where they stand against the run.

Against the pass, the unit has taken an extraordinary leap forward. With players like Darius Slay, James Bradberry, Avonte Maddox, Marcus Epps, and Chauncey Gardener-Johnson, the Eagles’ pass defense has been a no-fly zone for opposing quarterbacks. 

This unit has the potential to truly be the best in the NFL but all of it will be riding on the calls of their Defensive Coordinator. If Gannon is who the NFL world truly believes he is then we’re in for an incredible ride.

Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire