Passing could come at a price for Nick Sirianni’s coaching staff


Many in the NFL have noticed the Eagles’ unexpected run to the playoffs.

Nick Sirianni attends the fourth quarter against the New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field on December 26, 2021. / Photograph by Scott Taetsch / Stringer via Getty Images

The NFL has tweaked its annual coaching carousel slightly this year, implementing a one-year trial period that allows teams with vacant head coach positions or those who have briefed their current mentors. Week 18 is the opportunity for them to interview potential candidates from other teams in season starting Tuesday at 8 a.m.

The goal is to eliminate what has been a punishment in the past for qualified candidates from good teams that make deep playoffs: the urgency to make decisions quickly when options perceived as “hot” have been withdrawn. of the whiteboard. In the previous system, teams with vacant coaching positions could not interview candidates until the end of their seasons.

At present, only two teams have evolved and are eligible for a head start: Las Vegas and Jacksonville.

NFL Media, meanwhile, recently discussed a shortlist of candidates in the league that included Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon.

Gannon, 38, piloted an Eagles defensive unit that got off to a slow start but is now in the top 10 in almost every meaningful defensive category and is the young, energetic type who communicates well and is in good shape. vogue in the NFL.

Head Coach Nick Sirianni was asked about his defensive boss and thought about playing a joke downplaying Gannon’s success before thinking better about it and admitting what others in the league already know anyway, Gannon is a future head coach.

“I think Jonathan would be a great head coach,” Sirianni admitted. “I really wouldn’t want to play a joke there and say, ‘He would be terrible,’ because I really want to keep him here because I think about him a lot.”

“But I think he would be great, again, the same reasons I hired him to be the defensive coordinator would be the same reasons I think he would be a really good head coach.”

While Gannon isn’t as aggressive as many Eagles fans would like, especially the older ones who remember Buddy Ryan, it doesn’t matter Jim Johnson, a lot of those who fall into that category don’t take into account either. the context of how the modern game has changed and is now played.

Any past Eagles defensive coordinator would be commended for what Gannon’s unit has accomplished in 15 games with two to play and a potential playoff spot just begging to be stamped against the other 31 teams.

Others around the league, however, are seeing success and that means interest will follow.

It’s the nature of the beast in the NFL. Former Eagles coach and future Hall of Fame mentor Andy Reid is already legendary for his coaching tree and when the Eagles won Super Bowl LII with head coach chosen from that tree, Doug Pederson, the organization was quickly robbed of offensive coordinator Frank Reich, who became head coach at Indianapolis and quarterbacks coach John DiFilippo, who got the position of offensive coordinator in Minnesota.

“Obviously when your staff and people in the building have opportunities like this or are mentioned like that, it means you’re doing good things,” Sirianni said. “And so that’s the plan. This is what you always want as a coach, that your coaches have opportunities because you are doing well.

Sirianni, a rookie head coach himself, clearly aspires to success, but probably didn’t think Wolves would be spinning around so soon. The name of offensive coordinator Shane Steichen has also been mentioned in some of the sketchy potential search lists compiled in the league.

Sirianni was asked earlier this week how to handle the situation as the Eagles try to put a positive punctuation mark on what was once considered an unlikely run to the playoffs.

“The way I would handle it is similar to – I guess I go back to those situations that I went through,” he assumed. “I always wanted to make sure, of course, that my job was done for the team I was currently working for before doing anything to prepare for any head coaching opportunity.”

Sirianni then recalled his first potential opportunity in 2018 when another team wanted to talk to him and it conflicted with his match preparation.

“My suggestion to our coaches has always been to make sure you are ready even before the start of the season for your head coaching opportunities,” said Sirianni. “Once again, because it is an experience that I was able to live. That way when you’re in the season your only goal is to win that soccer game and do what we need to do to help the organization we’re in right now.

“So that’s my message to these guys. “

John McMullen covers the NFL and the Eagles for Sports Illustrated and JAKIB Media. He is also the co-host of “Birds 365,” a daily streaming show covering the Eagles and the NFL, and the host of “Extending the Play” on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at [email protected] or follow John on Twitter: @JFMcMullen.

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Eagles Report is a partnership between Philly Mag and JAKIB media partners.

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