Jonathan Gannon has earned his stripes as Eagles defensive coordinator in 2022

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)

The Philadelphia Eagles are Super Bowl bound. For the second time in five seasons, the Birds have soared to the very top of the NFL in astounding fashion. While it’s easy to praise Jalen Hurts and an explosive offense, Jonathan Gannon deserves just as much adoration.

It wasn’t always smooth sailing for Jonathan Gannon

The first year of Jonathan Gannon’s Eagles defense saw plenty of ups and downs. Fletcher Cox wasn’t exactly thrilled at the idea of dropping back into coverage, and the unit seemed to really struggle against top-10 quarterbacks. Sprinkle in a contrastingly dominant offense and it was clear that the defense could do with some upgrades…and benefit they did.

From James Bradberry and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson to a slew of rookies such as Nakobe Dean and Jordan Davis, Howie Roseman went to town on strengthening the defense in the 2022 offseason. The cherry on the cake was undoubtedly snagging Haason Reddick, who returned to his hometown after playing his collegiate ball at Temple.

The 2022 Eagles defense should’ve always been a dominant unit on paper, and it ultimately was. The Eagles became the first team in NFL history to have four players with double-digit sacks in the same season. They also led the entire league in sacks, breaking their own franchise record in the process. The Birds also ranked 1st in the NFL in opposing yards per game, and 5th in interceptions forced.

There were still admittedly moments of frustration, but they were soon replaced by feelings of excitement as the Eagles waltzed to the #1 seed in the NFC.

Where Jonathan Gannon really succeeded

Maybe it’s because Eagles fans have become so used to constant blitzing and aggressive play-calls that seeing a defense play consistent soft-zone almost triggers an immediate disliking. Perhaps it’s because the defense struggled when Jalen Hurts was injured. Gardner Minshew slugging it out to keep his team in both of his losses, only to have his hard work undone because of defensive errors wasn’t what fans had on their bingo cards. But when all is said and done, there’s a reason Gannon is so sought after as a Head Coach.

Think back to the 2016-2020 Eagles. The anonymous sources, the frustrated players, the schematic misfits, the leaked complaints. None of that is taking place under this coaching regime. There is harmony and cohesion in the locker room and that starts up top with the coaching staff.

Whether you like Jonathan Gannon’s scheme or not, he has this team playing for him and loving every second of it. the results speak for themselves and this defense is an extremely intimidating one, regardless of how it’s called.

Hey may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s okay. Where a lot of people tend to go wrong is assuming that if you’re not all-in on every single aspect of a coordinator, coach, or player, then you’re simply a hater, or an uneducated analyst who is just following the trends. You can like a Steak while admitting it’s not quite how you’d have cooked it. You can like a car while hating the sound. You can like the results this Eagles defense brings while being cautious of its schematic flaws that are often masked.

But what we can’t do is deny that Jonathan Gannon has done a great job overall. This defense has answered every call, it’s stood up to every challenge, and if the biggest grievance is that it doesn’t look the way we want it to, then that is absolutely fine by me. I’d much rather have one of the best defenses in the NFL that looks a little alien and has some minor concerns, than a top-15 unit that plays to my personal liking but struggles in doing so.

It’s time to put some respect on Jonathan Gannon’s name.

Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire