Top options for Eagles to replace DC Gannon


After losing the Super Bowl, the Eagles are now tasked with replacing both offensive coordinator Shane Steichen and defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon.

It seems pretty obvious that the Eagles are going to promote quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson to the OC role, but what will they do to replace Gannon?

“We have great in-house candidates,” head coach Nick Sirianni said on Thursday. “There are candidates outside that we know — there's a lot of good football coaches out there that we know there as well.”

Like Sirianni said, they have a couple intriguing internal possibilities and there are plenty of notable external names who might be available. While Vic Fangio might have made some sense, he’s officially the DC in Miami.

So here are 12 other options:

Dennard Wilson: Wilson is the top internal option. He’s been the Eagles’ defensive backs coach for two seasons and if they go the internal route, he’d be a fine selection. He has a varied background, working under different DCs with different schemes and also has a scouting background like Gannon. His players have raved about Wilson in the two years he’s been here and some have wondered why he hasn’t had an opportunity to be a DC yet.

Nick Rallis: The other potential internal promotion is Rallis, the young linebackers coach who was in Minnesota before joining the Eagles. Rallis isn’t even 30 yet but he’s going to be a football-lifer and will eventually be a DC.


Vance Joseph: The Eagles reportedly have interest in Joseph, who has been a DC for a long time and has also been a head coach before. He’s under contract with the Cardinals but if Gannon doesn’t want to keep him, he should be available. Joseph would represent a big departure philosophically from Gannon. Joseph is known for man coverage and a ton of blitzing. The Cardinals had the second-highest blitz rate in the NFL in 2022.

Jerod Mayo: The Patriots inside linebackers coach interviewed for the Eagles’ head coaching position in 2021 and was apparently very impressive. The 36-year-old former linebacker seems destined to be a head coach but a stop in Philly as a DC could help him get there. And the Eagles would presumably be interested.

Alan Williams: This might be viewed as a lateral move because Williams is the DC in Chicago but there he’s working under a defensive head coach in Matt Eberflus. Williams already calls defensive plays in Chicago so there’s a very good chance they wouldn’t let him leave but being the top defensive coach for an organization could be appealing and he could get out of Eberflus’s shadow in Philly. Williams, Eberflus and Sirianni all worked together in Indy.

Brendan Daly: If you saw the Chiefs’ linebackers flying around in the Super Bowl, their coach is Daly. The 47-year-old has been with the Chiefs since 2019 and previously coached with the Patriots, Vikings and Rams in the NFL. He has a varied background and recently began coaching linebackers after most of his work had previously come coaching D-line. He could be ready for the next step.

George Edwards: Edwards was the long-time co-defensive coordinator in Minnesota and has been a senior defensive assistant in Dallas under Dan Quinn in Dallas. He was the Bills’ DC in 2010-11.

John Pagano: The younger brother of Chuck Pagano, John Pagano was the DC in San Diego during Sirianni’s time with the Chargers. He was most recently on the staff in Denver as their outside linebackers coach from 2020-21.

Dave Borgonzi: Borgonzi is the Bears’ linebackers coach and went to Chicago with Eberflus and Williams. He was also the linebackers coach in Indianapolis when Sirianni was the offensive coordinator under Frank Reich.

Peter Hansen: While Hansen just agreed to terms to be the Panthers’ linebackers coach, the Eagles might be able to steal him away for a DC job, even if it would hurt Reich. Hansen has the background with Fangio and we know the Eagles appreciate that defensive system. Hansen began his NFL career in San Francisco under Fangio after first working with him at Stanford.

Sean Desai: Another coach with Fangio ties, Desai worked with Fangio from 2015-18 in Chicago. After Fangio left to take the head coaching gig in Denver, Desai stayed in Chicago and eventually became their DC in 2021. He was hired last February to be associate head coach and defensive assistant under Pete Carroll in Seattle.


Kris Richard: The 43-year-old was once thought to be on a head coaching fast track but that track has slowed. He spent the 2022 season with the Saints as their co-defensive coordinator but they parted ways and he just interviewed for the Broncos’ DC job this week.

Mike Zimmer: A little outside the box. When the Eagles hired Gannon, we thought we’d see a lot more of those Zimmer staples from his Minnesota days and we never really did. Zimmer worked with Deion Sanders at Jackson State last year and is joining Sanders’ staff at Colorado. While Zimmer left a lot to be desired as a head coach, he’s a strong defensive mind and extremely experienced. Not sure if he’d be open to returning to a DC role but he might be worth a phone call.

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