Eagles interviewing outside candidates for defensive coordinator job

Posted on February 21, 2023

While the Eagles apparently are leaning toward hiring Brian Johnson as offensive coordinator, their defensive coordinator position has several more options.

The Eagles recently interviewed former Wisconsin interim head coach Jim Leonhard for the defensive coordinator job, according to ESPN.

Leonhard was named Wisconsin’s interim head coach after Paul Chryst was fired Oct. 2. The former Badgers safety led his alma mater to a 5-3 record and was considered a strong candidate to become head coach. Instead, the job went to University of Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell.

Leonhard, 40, played 10 years in the NFL. He played 142 games with 73 starts. He began his coaching career at Wisconsin as defensive backs coach in 2016. Eagles linebacker T.J. Edwards, a free agent, played for Leonhard at Wisconsin.

There are two other candidates reportedly on the Eagles’ radar — former Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph and Seahawks associate head coach/defense Sean Desai.

Desai was a defense/special teams coach at Temple from 2006-10. He was the Bears’ defensive quality coach from 2013-18; safeties coach from 2018-20; and defensive coordinator in 2021.

Eagles defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson also is a candidate for the defensive coordinator job.


The Arizona Cardinals’ new head coach Jonathan Gannon told NBC Sports’ Peter King that the Eagles offered more money to remain with the team as defensive coordinator.

“I loved Philly,” Gannon told King for his Football Morning in America column. “I love Mr. [Jeffrey] Lurie. I love Howie Roseman. I love Nick Sirianni.

“They came back and they were like, here’s a new offer. It’s gonna pay you more than being a head coach.

“That’s cool and I loved it there but I wanted to be a head coach and I was excited about this because of Mr. Bidwell — Michael, as he would say — [Cardinals general manager] Monti Ossenfort, and [quarterback] Kyler [Murray].”

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Chuck Bausman

Chuck Bausman is an Eagles writer for Iggles.com. Chuck formerly was the Executive Sports Editor of the Philadelphia Daily News and the Executive Sports Editor of the Courier-Post in South Jersey. He learned how to cuss by watching Philly sports.

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