If ever there was a hire that made sense, it is this one, or at least the one that is reportedly going to happen.
That would be the Eagles’ hiring Indianapolis Colts secondary coach Jonathan Gannon to be their defensive coordinator, according to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, who said the Eagles are the clear favorite to hire Gannon.
Gannon has drawn interest from other teams, including the Los Angeles Chargers and their new head coach Brandon Staley.
The Eagles are still expected to interview Washington secondary coach Chris Harris for the DC job, but Gannon and the Eagles would be a good match on many levels.
First, he and newly hired Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni know each other from having been on the same staff under Colts head coach Frank Reich since Reich was hired as the head coach in 2018.
When the Eagles hired Doug Pederson in 2017, they already had Jim Schwartz lined up to the defensive coordinator. Pederson and Schwartz did not know each other.
Second, Gannon’s background also shows extensive experience working with defensive backs having logged seven seasons coaching DBs. Though he has never been a coordinator in 13 NFL seasons, his knowledge of DBs would be a benefit to an Eagles team that needs secondary help.
Of course, much of that help could involve personnel, with Darius Slay being the only real known commodity at cornerback. Avonte Maddox was given a shot on the other side but his best positions are probably safety then slot corner, in that order.
The safety situation is relatively dire, with Rodney McLeod expected to return this season, but returning after tearing an ACL late in the year. Jalen Mills is a free agent and K’Von Wallace will be entering his second season after a relatively nondescript rookie year while Marcus Epps needs to become more consistent.
Third, the Colts defense has made 15 interceptions in each of the three seasons. In contrast, the Eagles had eight last year, 11 in 2019 and 10 in 2018.
Not all the Colts' picks came from defensive backs, but Gannon has helped develop several younger players such as Temple product Rock Ya-Sin (24), Kenny Moore (25), Julian Blackmon (22), and Khari Willis (24).
Gannon also made a playmaker out of Pierre Desir, who had four picks in two years under Gannon before moving on to the Jets then Ravens in 2020.
Fourth, Gannon was credited by Indy GM Chris Ballard for helping bring CB Xavier Rhodes to Indy last offseason, luring him away from the Vikings in free agency.
“Xavier had a heck of a year,” said Ballard last week in his end-of-season press conference. “(He) really bought into what we are doing. I give Jonathan Gannon a lot of credit for that. He had a relationship with Xavier from Minnesota. Xavier worked and bought into everything we’re doing.”
The Eagles have yet to make the hiring of Sirianni official, but that is considered more a formality at this point and the team could possibly be waiting until Sirianni at least fills his offensive and defensive coordinator posts in order to announce all three at once.
It would appear that Dave Fipp will return as the special team coordinator for his ninth season after the Eagles denied him permission to talk to the Detroit Lions about being their ST coordinator.
Ed Kracz is the publisher of EagleMaven. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.