Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon appears to be on track to return to Philadelphia in 2022.
The Houston Texans will NOT be hiring Gannon as their new head coach, according to a report from Josina Anderson. Gannon was previously considered to be a finalist for the gig after earning a second interview.
Gannon has not been linked to the only other current head coach opening, which is the New Orleans Saints’ job. So, it looks like he won’t be leaving Philly.
A number of Eagles fans will not exactly be thrilled about this development.
Those defending Gannon could point out that he oversaw an Eagles defense that ranked sixth in opponent yards per play in 19th in opponent offensive points per game. Not terrible, right?
Well, a closer look at the Eagles’ defensive metrics reveals a unit that certainly did not overachieve by any stretch of the imagination.
Ok, so Jonathan Gannon is returning.— Deniz Selman (@denizselman33) February 7, 2022
Will leave these 2021 results here to give him some very low bars to clear next year:
25th overall DVOA
22nd success rate by EPA
24th series conversion rate
29th red zone TD%#FlyEaglesFly https://t.co/lyRWkGjFGo
To Gannon’s credit, he did a pretty good of preventing lesser quarterbacks from going off against the Eagles. Philadelphia allowed just 15.7 points per game to non-playoff teams.
But Gannon’s defense was regularly ineffective against the league’s better quarterback. In seven games against playoff teams, the Eagles allowed 34.7 points per game. Take out the meaningless Week 18 game against the Dallas Cowboys and that number drops down to 32. For perspective, the New York Jets allowed the most points per game in 2021 at 29.4.
Further on this “Gannon struggled against higher levels of competition” point, I’ll never be able to get over this stat:
Justin Herbert is the 5th QB to complete 80-plus percent of his passes against the Eagles this season.— Tim McManus (@Tim_McManus) November 8, 2021
Between 1950-2020, Eagles allowed just 6 QBs to complete 80-plus percent of their throws (min. 25 attempts), per ESPN Stats & Info.
I mean, this is insane.
And the Eagles came pretty close to allowing a sixth quarterback to reach this mark; Tom Brady completed 78.4% of his attempts in Philly’s playoff loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
No one should’ve reasonably expected the Eagles to had the NFL’s best defense in 2021. It’s not like Gannon was supposed to be coaching the 1985 Chicago Bears out there. But it’s not like the Eagles were totally devoid of defensive talent. Again, there’s a stronger argument the defense underperormed than it overperformed.
This isn’t to suggest that Gannon is a lost cause. Perhaps he learns from his first year as a defensive coordinator and makes some adjustments. Perhaps an infusion of defensive talent — the Eagles do have three first-round picks, after all — will do wonders for him.
But it’s also quite possible that he’s just not a great DC.
Gannon has much to prove in Year 2.
How do you feel about Jonathan Gannon returning as Eagles DC?
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