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June 23, 2024

Eagles Fire Defensive Coordinator Sean Desai After One Season

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Jan 22, 2024

The Philadelphia Eagles have fired defensive coordinator Sean Desai after just one season, according to multiple reports on Sunday. Desai was originally hired in 2023 after Jonathan Gannon left to become the Arizona Cardinals’ head coach.

Background on Sean Desai and the Eagles Defense

Desai came to Philadelphia after spending the 2021 season as the Chicago Bears defensive coordinator. He was well-regarded around the league and seen as an up-and-coming coach.

The Eagles defense struggled mightily in 2022 under Desai’s leadership. They ranked 25th in yards allowed and 18th in points allowed. There were clear issues defending the pass, as Philadelphia gave up 235.5 passing yards per game (20th in NFL).

Desai was stripped of play-calling duties in November as head coach Nick Sirianni handed those responsibilities to defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson. The move was seen as a demotion for Desai.

Key Stats for Eagles Defense Under Sean Desai
Total Yards Allowed Per Game 337.4 (25th in NFL)
Passing Yards Allowed Per Game 235.5 (20th)
Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game 108.6 (16th)
Points Allowed Per Game 21.5 (18th)

Bringing in Desai was Sirianni’s first major hire after his initial defensive coordinator, Jonathan Gannon, took the Arizona Cardinals head coaching job last offseason. There were high hopes that Desai could turn the Eagles defense into an elite unit, but those hopes did not come to fruition in his first and only season.

Timeline Leading Up to Desai’s Firing

There were rumblings late in the 2023 season that Desai could be one-and-done in Philadelphia. The team’s late-season collapse, where they lost two straight games to end the year and missed out on the NFC East title, put both Desai and Sirianni on the hot seat.

Desai seemed likely to stay after Sirianni was given a vote of confidence in early January. But that all changed when owner Jeffrey Lurie made it clear there needed to be defensive staff changes at his end-of-year press conference on January 16th.

“I’d like to see significant improvement on defense and in the passing game on offense,” Lurie said. “I think that’s possible with the right coaches in place.”

Many interpreted that as the owner forcing Sirianni’s hand when it came to the team’s defensive staff. Reports came out over the last week that Desai, along with senior defensive assistant Matt Patricia, would not be returning in 2024.

Sirianni made the decision official today, firing Desai after just one year running the Eagles defense.

What Comes Next for Eagles and Sean Desai

The Eagles will now being their search for a new defensive coordinator. There have already been rumors and reports linking them to several top candidates:

Wink Martindale – Former New York Giants defensive coordinator and long-time Baltimore Ravens DC. His aggressive blitzing schemes could appeal to Philadelphia.

Ryan Nielsen – Saints co-defensive coordinator who has received interest for DC jobs around the league. Eagles have reportedly requested to interview him.

Jim Leonhard – Wisconsin’s defensive coordinator is a hot coaching candidate. He’s expected to get calls from multiple NFL teams.

As for Sean Desai, he will likely take a lesser role on another NFL coaching staff. At just 39 years old, he still has a bright future around the league. This early failure as defensive coordinator will be a learning experience for him.

Reasons Behind Desai’s Firing

The Eagles defense simply did not perform well enough under Desai in 2023 for him to keep his job. Some key factors that led to his dismissal:

Inability to Replace Gannon – Desai had huge shoes to fill after Gannon led top-10 units in 2021 and 2022. He failed to get the defense back to that elite level.

Pass Defense Struggles – With Desai in charge, the Eagles took a major step back defending the pass. They declined significantly in yards allowed, takeaways, and sacks compared to the previous season.

No Player Development – Young defensive players like Jordan Davis, Nakobe Dean, and Zech McPhearson failed to take a leap under Desai’s tutelage. Veterans like Slay also saw a dip in performance.

Lost Locker Room – There were rumblings that defensive players tuning out Desai and lacked respect for him. This disconnect may have doomed the coach-player relationship.

In the end, the Eagles defense got demonstrably worse in 2023 after Desai took over. The team expected growth not decline, leading to his dismissal after just one disappointing season.

Final Thoughts and What This Means

Firing a coordinator after one year is an incredibly quick hook. It shows that Jeffrey Lurie had lost all confidence in Sean Desai to lead the defense. It also speaks to the increased expectations for a team that made the playoffs and expects to contend now.

For Nick Sirianni, he faces a critical offseason. His choice at defensive coordinator to replace Desai is crucial if he wants to stick around Philadelphia long-term. Another terrible defensive season in 2024 could seal his fate as Eagles head coach.

Sean Desai’s tenure will be viewed as a failed experiment in Philadelphia. He was not able to replicate Jonathan Gannon’s success. Now the Eagles move forward looking for the next DC who can restore this defense back to a fearsome level.

This major coaching change is just the start of what projects to be an offseason of overhaul for the Eagles. More shakeups are likely coming as Sirianni tries to assemble the right staff to launch this team back into Super Bowl contention.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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