Eagles’ LBs coach points out 1 thing he loves about DC Gannon


It was pretty clear this offseason that Jonathan Gannon was going to become a defensive coordinator.

If it wasn’t in Philly, there were other teams that were very interested in the 38-year-old coach.

In fact, a big part of why the Eagles liked Nick Sirianni so much was his vision for his first coaching staff. And, you guessed it, Gannon was a big part of that.

Unlike the last time the Eagles hired a defensive coordinator (Jim Schwartz) we don’t really know what to expect from Gannon. He last coached under Mike Zimmer and Matt Eberflus and has said Zimmer is probably his biggest coaching influence. So we can kind of get a sense of what type of scheme Gannon will ultimately end up putting together.

But how would his new linebackers coach describe him?

“He is very open-minded,” Nick Rallis said this spring. “He is going to listen to every single coach on the staff and that’s been great to work with because I feel like if I have a great idea, I know Jonathan is going to listen."

That’s important. Because as Gannon said when he met with reporters back on May 20, he doesn’t have a scheme. That’s not to say there won’t be some important staples that he’s bringing with him, but his emphasis was on molding his scheme around the strengths of his players.

It’s also important that a 27-year-old linebackers coach like Rallis feels empowered to speak up. The old cliche comes to mind: A good idea doesn’t care where it came from.


“I’m excited to figure that out with our guys,” Gannon said in May. “Hey, like what is the best way to defend the team that we're playing? And which guys kind of do one or the other better and put them in those spots?”

Of course, this will be Gannon’s defense.

But, at least according to Rallis, he’s going to give his position coaches some freedom. His position coaches are Rallis (linebackers), Tracy Rocker (defensive line), Dennard Wilson (defensive backs).

“Jonathan has a low ego and he’s about putting whatever we can, the best product on the field, whatever we gotta do to do that,” Rallis said. “I think Jonathan from a leadership standpoint is very much give his coaches autonomy. That’s how I would describe Jonathan from a leadership role. He distributes the autonomy and lets guys take ownership in the room.

“He lets me take ownership in the linebacker room. How do you want to do this? How do you want to do that? He knows that if he just stuck to his knowledge, we’re only going to go as far as his knowledge. So he not only utilizes his knowledge but everyone else’s on the staff. And now the room for growth is that much greater. Jonathan from a defensive coordinator standpoint, to me, is an excellent leader because he’s going to maximize everybody’s talent from the coaches to the players.”

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