PHILADELPHIA – Outside the Eagles’ training facility, there’s a clamor for another cornerback. One with actually more than a handful of games of experience. Someone like Darius Slay.
Inside the facility, all is calm.
“I'm very comfortable with that room right now,” said defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, who talked to reporters on Thursday for the first time he was hired in January, nearly four months ago.
Before diving into questions and a news conference that would run for nearly half an hour, Gannon joked that he had wanted to talk to everyone and it wasn’t his fault it took so long to meet the media, jokingly blaming it on some of the public relations personnel.
Then came scheme questions before some actual personnel questions were raised.
Cornerback is one of those personnel sore spots right now. At least that is the outside-the-walls-perception.
After Slay, the Eagles have Avonte Maddox as their most experienced corner, but he struggled in his first season outside the slot last season.
After that, the resumes get thin in a hurry, with players such as Michael Jacquet, Kevon Seymour, Lavert Hill, Shakial Taylor, and others.
Gannon doesn’t view that as a bad thing.
“I love the youth because it's like you can mold them how you want to mold them,” he said.
Gannon compared the youthful situation at the corner to his time in Indianapolis, with young players such as Rock Ya-Sin and Kenny Moore.
“When I got to Indy (in 2018), we had a bunch of young guys,” said Gannon. “It was awesome. It makes the job super fun because certain guys, certain vets - not all of them, but certain vets, kind of stuck in their ways of, hey, I want to play this way.
“Well, if that's not the best thing for the defense, we don't want you to play that way. So I think for our guys, they've done a good job of understanding the why behind what we're doing to help those guys play.
"We've only been three days on the grass, but in the meetings, it's been a really cool thing to see those guys, you know, when you show them on tape, here's how we can play this way, we can play this way. It creates a lot of enthusiasm and confidence with your guys.”
Gannon also credited DB coaches Dennard Wilson and D.K. McDonald for teaching the young guys corners the techniques he expects from them.
I've learned a ton from those guys in the last few months,” said Gannon. “It's been awesome. So very comfortable with that room. Excited to see them get out there and compete. I think Slay can go to another level. I think everybody in that room can elevate their game and play winning football for us.”
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.