Desai named Eagles’ defensive coordinator, replacing Gannon

Posted on February 28, 2023 - Last Updated on March 1, 2023

The Eagles moved quickly to fill their vacant coordinator positions.

Sean Desai was named the defensive coordinator Tuesday, hours after Brian Johnson was promoted from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator —

The Eagles officially announced both hires.

Desai, 39, replaces Jonathan Gannon, who is the new head coach for the Arizona Cardinals.

Desai comes to Philly from the Seahawks, where he was associate head coach/defense. Desai also coached for nine years with the Bears.

  • “One thing that we definitely have now is what we had our first year going into it,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said. “We have a little bit of unknown. Now, whoever we play first game can go and watch some of Sean’s stuff from Chicago or even some of the things from Seattle. But one thing that we have is some uncertainty again going into that first game, where you hide some things in preseason football.
  • “So not give everything away, but what I did like is some of the similarities to the things that we do, that we’ve already been doing here on a very successful defense with different coverages, different run blitzes, things like that.

He started his coaching career as defense/special teams coach as a 23-year-old with Temple from 2006-10. He also was the University of Miami’s assistant director of football operations in 2011, and running backs/special teams coach at Boston College in 2021.

“His overall knowledge of football and football IQ are extremely high,” Sirianni said. “Great detail. He’s a really sharp coach. I’m excited that he’s on our staff.”

Desai earned a doctorate in educational administration at Temple.

  • “We had a great time,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told the Seattle media, while announcing Desai’s departure before the Eagles officially announced the hire. “He’s really, really a brilliant football guy. The background and information he holds, his access to information is really special.”

The Eagles interviewed at least six other candidates:

  • Former Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph
  • Wisconsin interim head coach Jim Leonhard
  • Rams defensive backs coach Chris Shula
  • Michigan defensive coordinator Jesse Minter 
  • In-house defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson
  • Georgia co-defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach Glenn Schumann

The Eagles also announced three other coaching changes:

  • Assistant quarterbacks coach/offensive assistant Alex Tanney was promoted to quarterbacks coach.
  • Consultant Marcus Brady was promoted to senior offensive assistant.
  • Offensive quality control coach T.J. Paganetti was promoted to run game specialist/assistant tight ends coach.
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Chuck Bausman

Chuck Bausman is an Eagles writer for 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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