Sean Desai is officially the Philadelphia Eagles’ new defensive coordinator.
So, what should we know about him?
That’s the question we sought to answer by reaching out to those who have covered the NFL teams he’s worked for.
1 - How would you grade Sean Desai’s year as a defensive coordinator with the Bears? How did the defense perform relative to expectation based on available talent?
When he was promoted, I was excited to see how Desai took the teachings from Vic Fangio and implemented them in his defense, and I was pleased with the outcome. He dealt with a bunch of injuries to his front seven (Khalil Mack, Eddie Goldman, Akiem Hicks, Danny Trevathan) and he inherited a secondary that really had only two players worth much, yet he still had them competing each week. He took over from Chuck Pagano who had all but dialed it in during his time with the Bears. If I was going with a letter grade, I’d go with a C.
2 - What would you point to as Desai’s strengths?
His versatility stood out. Fangio is his mentor, but he was with three different defensive regimes in Chicago before getting the D.C. gig. He schemed up some pressure packages to get after the quarterback when his only real threat to win a one-on-one was Robert Quinn. He managed to disguise coverages on occasion to hide the awful play from his nickelbacks.
3 - What would you point to as Desai’s weaknesses?
At this point, it’s just experience as a play caller. He only had one year to get his scheme lathered up, so I think the best is yet to come from him.
4 - Anything else we should know about him based on his time in Chicago?
The fact that he survived the Trestman stink and is still going strong bodes well for his future. Also, his players all raved about him.
5 - Were you able to glean anything at all about Sean Desai from the past year in his “associate head coach - defense” role with the Seahawks? Figured it might be tough with the ambiguity that comes with these assistant titles.
It is tough to pin down Desai’s role but he did have significant input in the gameplan, and if you follow Matty F Brown the Seahawks’ nickel-heavy approach to alignment looks like his influence.
Players praised Desai's work, particularly in the preseason camps. The #Seahawks defense struggled for most of '22, particularly with the move away from bear to mostly 2-4/4-2 fronts. Desai ran these fronts a lot in Chicago; you can glean that was his influence on the '22 system https://t.co/1VsLsYlXqK— Matty F. Brown (@mattyfbrown) January 9, 2023
This article is also a good vantage point from last offseason considering Seattle was mediocre on defense but Coby Bryant and Tariq Woolen were two of the clear bright spots: [CLICK LINK].
“If Desai is a true Vic Fangio disciple don’t expect a ton of blitzing. Seattle was 31st in blitz under Clint Hurtt this year and Fangio himself is usually never in the top-half in blitz rate.”
“Pete Carroll speaks glowingly about him (he usually does about everyone) but, yeah, I don’t think it’s a coincidence he’s been in demand despite being on either bad teams or bad defenses.”