Nick Sirianni’s coaching staff lost one of its highly regarded young defensive assistants Saturday when new Arizona Cards head coach Jonathan Gannon hired Eagles linebacker coach Nick Rallis as his defensive coordinator.
The news was first reported Saturday evening by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, who tweeted that “multiple teams tried to lure” Rallis Saturday before he decided to accept Gannon’s offer to join his Cards staff.
The 29-year-old Rallis, who was playing college football six years ago, becomes the youngest coordinator in the NFL.
The Cards haven’t had a top-10 defense since 2015. They ranked 31st this past year in points allowed and 21st in yards allowed. Their outgoing defensive coordinator, Vance Joseph, is expected to interview for the Eagle’ defensive coordinator job according to multiple reports.
Rallis played football at Minnesota and immediately embarked on a coaching career after college, starting out as a quality control coach at Wake Forest under Dave Clawson before joining Mike Zimmer’s staff in 2018 as a defensive quality control coach, where he first worked with Gannon.
After two years doing quality control, Rallis was promoted in 2020 by head coach Mike Zimmer to assistant linebackers coach.
When Nick Sirianni hired Gannon as his initial defensive coordinator in 2021, Gannon brought in Rallis. Even though they didn’t overlap with the Vikings, both had coached under Mike Zimmer in Minnesota.
So Sirianni, who kept his coaching staff intact from 2021 through 2022, has now lost both coordinators and a highly regarded defensive assistant from the Super Bowl staff.
The Eagles didn’t have an assistant linebackers coach this year. Jeremiah Washburn coached the overhang players – pass-rushing outside linebackers and defensive ends.
One possible replacement for Rallis is Tyler Scudder, who served this past year as a defensive assistant after spending 2021 as a coaching assistant. Scudder, a native of Gettysburg, coached linebackers at Indiana University of Pennsylvania from 2010 through 2012 and at Duquesne from 2014 through 2017.
He was at Iowa State from 2018 through 2020 as a senior defensive quality control coach under Matt Campbell, Sirianni’s college teammate at Mount Union. The quarterback of those Iowa State teams was Brock Purdy.
With Gannon and Rallis gone, the top remaining defensive assistants are secondary coach Dennard Wilson, defensive line coach Tracy Rocker and Washburn. Others are assistant DBs coach D.J. McDonald, defensive quality control Joe Kasper and Scudder.
The only offensive coach Sirianni has lost so far is offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, who is now head coach of the Colts.