The Philadelphia Eagles have a better defense now than they did at this time last year.
Through the first five games of 2021, the Birds allowed 23.2 offensive points per game.
Through the first five games of 2022, the Birds have allowed just 16 offensive points per game.
There are multiple reasons for the improvement. Key factors include an improved roster, a more experienced staff, schematic continuity, and opponent quality differences.
Jonathan Gannon ultimately deserves credit for overseeing better results. And it might not hurt that the Eagles defensive coordinator has had assistance from someone dubbed as “the most influential DC in modern NFL.”
The Eagles are currently consulting with former Denver Broncos head coach and long-time NFL DC Vic Fangio, a source tells Bleeding Green Nation/BGN Radio alumnus and current SB Nation executive producer of team community podcasts Michael Kist.
Per source, Vic Fangio is consulting the Philadelphia Eagles.— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) October 10, 2022
Fangio’s involvement in the Eagles’ operation hardly comes as a shock; BGN had previously noted he attended a lot of training camp practices this summer. He was even spotted at the team’s joint training camp practices against the Dolphins in Miami Gardens, Florida.
Nick Sirianni was asked about Fangio’s attendance early in training camp on August 1. Here’s that exchange:
Q. You had Vic Fangio here last week and Mike McCord last year. When you bring guys in to visit, how important is that for you? Does it help you? What do you sort of do to pick their minds?
NICK SIRIANNI: We like to bring in guys that — I make it very clear to the staff that we bring guys in that we got to trust them and that we’re close to. Vic has some relationships on the staff, and it’s great to have him here. And then you also use it, right, they come in, they eat, they watch practice, and you make them work for that a little bit, right? You pick their brain. So, he’s here because he’s got relationships with guys. Of course, we’d be foolish not to use him. And then throughout the week, we’ll have different coaches here. I know Jim Smith from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, who’s a defensive coordinator there — he worked with me and that’s why he was here last week. So, there is always going to be a relationship aspect of why a guy is here. My brother will be coming. He’s allowed to come into the practice, and I’ll pick his mind when he’s here as well.
Though Fangio has been granted his own access to the NovaCare Complex in South Philly, he is currently contributing remotely. Thus, one could surmise he is helping with game plans in some capacity but doesn’t have a role in the live game day action.
One can also wonder why word of Fangio’s involvement didn’t come to light sooner. Perhaps there is a concern about optics of Gannon being undermined. Or perhaps the Eagles are just quietly preparing to replace Gannon with Fangio if Philly’s DC ends up getting a head coaching job in the 2023 hiring cycle. Gannon clearly drew interest last year as he interviewed for multiple openings before returning to the Eagles.
There would be logic to Fangio eventually replacing Gannon. In addition to boasting an impressive resume, Fangio is a Dunmore, Pennsylvania native (two hours north of Philly). He also has a relationship with former Denver Broncos vice president of player personnel and current Eagles senior personnel director/advisor to the general manager Matt Russell. Russell and Fangio overlapped in 2019 and 2020.
It’s also quite possible Fangio ends up elsewhere in 2023. He figures to be highly sought after in terms of both professional and college football ranks.
For now, though, he’s helping the Birds.