Eagles DC Sean Desai is “humbled” to be the new defensive coordinator

Being a defensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles is never easy. Over the last decade alone, the city has chewed out some of the brightest minds in the NFL like Jim Schwartz, Jonathan Gannon, and Sean McDermott.

So when newly hired defensive coordinator Sean Desai spoke to the media for the first time, the fact that he has experience in the City of Brotherly Love wasn’t lost on anyone.

“This is an emotional homecoming for me to come back to Philadelphia. There’s a lot of emotional pride we take in this city. My wife and I went to school here at Temple, and to come full circle is really special. We don’t take this lightly,” Desai said to reporters Thursday afternoon.

Is Sean Desai the perfect fit for the Eagles?

Desai joins a team that is coming off a historic defensive season. Under Gannon’s tutelage, the Eagles’ defense set a franchise record for sacks in a single season while being ranked as the best pass defense in football. But struggles against top quarterbacks over the last few years had fans frustrated over the passive approach from the defensive coaching staff.

That won’t be happening under Desai though.

“I really believe the teams have to reflect the city. We have some grit and toughness, I think that’s a reflection of who we are. The reflection of the history of the Eagles’ defense and of the city, that’s where we want to be…We want to be able to be felt,” Desai explained.

CHICAGO, IL – AUGUST 21: Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Sean Desai looks on during a preseason game between the Chicago Bears and the Buffalo Bills on August 21, 2021 at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

The former Bears and Seahawks defensive play-caller has had plenty of experience around the NFL but none so more than under the tutelage of Vic Fangio. In his one year leading the Bears’ defense, Chicago was a top-10 unit against the pass and in total yards.

It was under Fangio that Desai learned the importance of his overall job.

“One of the things I learned is that I have to continue to find the best ways to put our coaches and players in the best places to win. It’s a play-by-play mentality. I can’t be a play late as a play-caller. I have to stay ahead of it, stay ahead of where the game is trending, and give our guys our best shot to win,” the former Temple grad said.

There are plenty of pieces for Desai to hit the ground running in his first year with the team. Philadelphia returns a significant chunk of the defensive line that set the league leads in sacks, along with their entire starting cornerback room.

Under Nick Sirianni, the Eagles have maintained an aggressive and competitive energy when filling out roster spots. So while Desai will have plenty of returning starters, the focus will be the same everywhere.

GLENDALE, AZ – FEBRUARY 12: Philadelphia Eagles cornerback James Bradberry (24) warms up during Super Bowl LVII between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles on February 12, 2023 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

“Compete. That’s really what it is Regardless of what we all may think of the depth it’s all about competition and it starts right now,” Desai added. The defensive coordinator later explained how the team would play games like Jeopardy and “Cahoots” as a way to maintain a competitive fire.

“We’re going to continue that feeling throughout the entire defense and organization.”

With a tougher schedule in tow, Sean Desai will get a crash course into what makes the city of Philadelphia special as a sports franchise. But with the system now in place, and a whole offseason to perfect it, the team is confident in their new defensive coordinator.

Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire