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Sean Desai explains his vision for the Eagles’ defense

The Eagles’ new DC said that being back in Philly is a homecoming for him and his wife.

The Eagles brought in a new DC this offseason, hiring Sean Desai, who spoke to reporters for the first time on Thursday. He opened by thanking the Eagles — Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman, and Nick Sirianni — for bringing him into the organization, and also thanked the Bears and Seahawks for giving him his first NFL opportunities.

“It’s an emotional kind of homecoming for me to come back to Philadelphia. There’s a lot of pride that we take in this city.”

Desai talked about how he and his wife went to school in Philly, and his coaching career started at Temple as a Grad Assistant.

“We don’t take this lightly. We’re really humbled to be in this role, really proud to be in this role, and really excited to represent this city. And really, pour back into this city, the way the city kinda poured into me and my family coming up as I was younger.”

The DC later talked about how he’s lived in major cities along the east coast, in the midwest, and pacific northwest, but knows that Philly is different. The grit, and having to earn it every day, being tough-minded, are all things that attracted him to the city.

Here’s what else the defensive coordinator had to say:

On the interview process

Desai said that it was a whirlwind of a process, especially with the Eagles season going so long. He did have some other interviews, but the Eagles process was the most thorough one he’s ever been a part of. He said it was a credit to the organization in making sure they aren’t bringing anyone into this culture that doesn’t

“I appreciate the thoroughness and the detail, because that’s the kind of some things I pride myself on — in being up-front, being detailed, being thorough. And so, that was a real good connection we built from the beginning and I enjoyed going through their process.”

He went on to say that being detailed means not leaving any stone unturned, and it’s preparing themselves, the coaches and the players. If there’s one detail wrong or out of place that’s a reflection of Desai, and he owns that and takes a lot of pride in that. If he’s prepared, it gives the coaches and players a chance to be prepared, and if he’s not, then it’s a trickle down effect.

On his defensive philosophy

“It’s something that we want to build together. I don’t think it’s something that I can impart on somebody and say, ‘This is the all-inclusive way to play defense.’

The one thing that we’ve agreed on — we’ve talked about as a staff, and really a group — is, there’s a certain mentality that we want to reflect and I really believe in the city’s teams gotta reflect the city. And we’ve got some grit, we’ve got some toughness, we want to be able to impose our will, we’re not going to take really anything from anybody, and we want to make sure people feel it.

We want to be able to run, we want to be able to hit, and we want to play smart. And I think that’s a reflection of who we are, obviously as a Philadelphia Eagles defense, a reflection of, really, the history of the Philadelphia Eagles defense, and reflection of this city. And that’s what we want to be. We want to be an encompassing part of that.”

At a team meeting last week, Desai asked the group if they knew what the word “palpable” meant. He explained that it’s a feeling, and that’s what they want.

“We want to be able to be felt — whether you’re watching us on TV, whether you’re in the stadium, and obviously on the field. We want to make sure people feel this Philadelphia Eagles defense.”

On the Eagles’ defensive standard

Desai later talked about how he plans to build off the success the defense had last year, and he was sure to give credit to the historical season the defense had, but also acknowledged that it resets every offseason. Every year is a new chapter, and past predictors doesn’t mean future success, so they have to take the mindset to rebuild from the foundation. They have to re-establish the techniques and details to get players back in the position to have similar success.

“Obviously, the foundation here was awesome last year. We gotta give credit — the foundation for the Philadelphia Eagles defense has been awesome for a long time.”

He quoted Sirianni and noted that the standard is the standard, and there’s no doubt a standard in Philly that’s been set that they need to rise to. Desai doesn’t take for granted having guys like Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox who helped set that standard 10-14 years ago, and have made sure that it’s been maintained throughout the years. The DC is going to make sure they honor those guys and the standard.

Other notables

  • Desai and Nick Sirianni agree on the importance of competing, and that includes competing everyday regardless of what the perceived depth may be at any position.
  • The DC said he’s “not foolish or egotistical enough” to think that he’s arrived at this new position all by himself. He credited all the coaches he worked with and who gave him opportunities along the way.
  • Desai said that giving different looks is really important, so they will be doing quite a bit of disguises as they can deploy on defense. They have to impact the quarterback both physically and mentally, and they need to do both to be effective, and disguises are apart of that.

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