There was quite a backlash against Jonathan Gannon when the Eagles’ rookie defensive coordinator announced last week: “I don’t have a scheme,” reiterating what he first said back in May.
It wasn’t a good look.
Especially coming off allowing 34 points against the Cowboys and 42 vs. the Chiefs.
On Tuesday, Gannon explained.
“I kind of flubbed up over that,” he said with a laugh.
Gannon, whose unit had a bounce-back performance in Carolina, allowing only 16 points in the Eagles’ 21-18 win over the Panthers, took some time during his weekly media availability to explain why he said what he said and what he was trying to express with his “I don’t have a scheme” declaration.
And it made sense.
“Let me clarify, you guys,” he said. “What that really means to me is, like an offensive guy says, ‘Well, I'm a West Coast guy.’ Well, if you have Tom Brady, you're not going to run a West Coast offense, right?
“Being on different defenses that I've been on, I never wanted to be labeled as, you know, a ‘Tampa 2 guy’ or a ‘Seattle 3 guy’ or a ‘pressure guy’ because, yeah, those things can be good and some of those defenses have been really good, some of those teams that are known for playing that style. But if it doesn't match up with the people that you have in your building or if it doesn't match up vs. the people you're playing, good luck.”
So when Gannon says he doesn’t have a scheme, all he’s saying is there isn’t any one style of defense or one front or one scheme that he clings to no matter what.
The idea is to constantly tailor what you’re doing to what players are available and what you think is the best way to attack the opposing offense.
Nobody is going to defend Tom Brady the same way they defend Sam Darnold.
“The whole non-scheme thing, that's really just saying, ‘Hey, each week we want to be able to adapt and adjust, putting our guys in a position to be able to make as many plays as possible with the offense that we are playing.’
“I’ve said right from the jump, like, ‘We don't have a scheme.’ Well, obviously, we have a scheme, but the point of that is – and that's where it's awesome to be around the guys that we have – is we play differently week to week. Sometimes it might not look drastically different, but what's going on pre-snap and post-snap, it really is.”
Five games in, Gannon’s defense has had two disasters and three pretty good performances. The defense allowed 6 points in the opener in Atlanta, 17 vs. the 49ers, then 76 in seven days, then 16 Sunday.
So they haven’t allowed between 16 and 34 points yet. All or nothing so far.
“Sometimes it's really good,” he said. “Our guys execute, and we put them in the right spot, and sometimes, obviously, we have to improve. Like a couple of weeks ago, we’ve got to do a better job of putting them in better spots and executing better.”
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