Eagles hire Sean Desai as defensive coordinator

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After promoting Brian Johnson as the team’s offensive coordinator, the Eagles made another big change to their coaching staff Tuesday.

The Eagles announced they hired Sean Desai, who spent the 2022 season as the associate head coach and defensive assistant with the Seattle Seahawks, as the team’s defensive coordinator to replace Jonathan Gannon.

“I think just his overall knowledge of football. His football IQ is extremely high. Great detail. Just a really sharp coach,” Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said at the NFC scouting combine in Indianapolis. “Excited that he’s on our staff.”

Gannon was hired as the Arizona Cardinals’ head coach following Philadelphia’s Super Bowl loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Eagles cast a wide net on their search for a new defensive coordinator and interviewed several candidates.

As far as the scheme for Desai’s defense, Sirianni said he liked the similarities in defenses the new defensive coordinator has worked for compared to what the Eagles have put on the field the past two seasons.

“So not give everything away, but what I did like is some of the similarities to the things that we do, that we’ve already been doing here on a very successful defense with different coverages, different run blitzes, things like that,” Sirianni said.

Before his time in Seattle, Desai was with the Chicago Bears from 2013-21, surviving three different head coaching regimes.

Desai coached in several different roles with the Bears, including time as defensive coordinator during the 2021 season.

In 2021, the Bears ranked sixth in total yards allowed per game, third in passing defense and ranked 13th in total defensive Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA), according to FootballOutsiders.

Before being promoted to defensive coordinator, Desai served as the safeties coach and defensive quality control coach with Chicago.

Desai comes from the Vic Fangio coaching tree after the time spent together with the Bears. Fangio helped the Eagles before the Super Bowl and was a consultant for the team in the 2022 season.

Desai got his coaching start in football in Philadelphia at Temple University, where he served as the team’s defensive and special teams coach from 2006-10 under former head coach Al Golden.

Desai graduated with a doctorate in educational administration from Temple in 2008. He also earned degrees from Boston University and Columbia University.

Desai was the assistant director of football operations at the University of Miami in 2011 and the running backs and special teams coordinator at Boston College following his time at Temple.

Desai will be tasked with coaching an Eagles defensive unit that could look very different next season with several starters set to hit the open market in free agency in March. 

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