News that the Eagles took the defensive playcalling from DC Sean Desai and gave the defense to Matt Patricia broke 24 hours before the team played Seattle on Monday night. After the embarrassing loss, head coach Nick Sirianni talked in detail about making the “adjustment” and feeling like he had to do what was best for the whole team — but players have been speaking out in support of Desai in the days since.
Following the game, Brandon Graham was quoted as saying the decision to strip Desai of his DC responsibilities was media-driven, explaining that the team felt they had to make a change because everyone was coming for his head. He stepped those comments back a bit when he spoke to 94WIP on Tuesday.
“BRANDON GRAHAM: “Stuff had to change, and of course I know that coach made that decision. [Sirianni] came to us and talked to us in front of the group and he made sure we knew what was going on. Desai man, the dude is still a good coach. Went out there and handled his business, you couldn’t tell – even though I know he probably was hurt on the inside – you couldn’t tell. He was very professional about it.
We still go up to him, talk to him, see what he sees, talk to him about what he sees for the week and what he expects, how he expects them to attack us. Another good ear to lend.”
BG wasn’t the only Eagles veteran to throw their support behind Desai, with Jason Kelce talking about the decision to give defensive playcalling to Matt Patricia on his New Heights Show.
JASON KELCE: “Sean Desai is a fantastic coach. It’s been awesome having him here and bouncing things off of each other, going up against him in training camp, figuring out his defenses and trying to — having that competition with each other of like blitzes and different fronts, and how are we attacking it.
I have so much respect for Sean.
Obviously, the organization, Nick [Sirianni] felt in the best interest of the team to move forward with Matt [Patricia] calling plays, but that doesn’t take away any amount of respect that I have for Sean Desai. I can tell you that right now.
I know he’s a talented coach.”
Kelce lamented that when you play as poorly as the Eagles did against the 49ers and Cowboys, the coaches job is highlighted as they need getting things corrected, regardless of what the record is prior to the losses.
JASON KELCE: “For whatever reason, Nick [Sirianni] felt like it was a change that he wanted to make, and that’s the way it goes.”
Desai is till with the team, and still technically holds the Defensive Coordinator title — even if it’s name only —, and while the optics aren’t great from the outside, it’s encouraging that the guys who are respected in the locker room still have his back.