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Report: Eagles hiring Vic Fangio as defensive coordinator after Dolphins departure [UPDATE]

Philadelphia is getting the DC they wanted but failed to secure last year.

Buffalo Bills v Miami Dolphins Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images

UPDATE: Vic Fangio is “traveling to Philadelphia this morning [Thursday, January 25] to officially sign the contract to become the Eagles’ new defensive coordinator,” according to Adam Schefter.

ORIGINAL STORY BELOW.


The following Adam Schefter tweet emerged during the Philadelphia Eagles’ Wednesday press conference featuring Howie Roseman and Nick Sirianni:

The Dolphins and Vic Fangio have mutually agreed to part ways, sources tell me and [Jeremy Fowler]. Fangio now will be the top target for the Philadelphia Eagles to hire as their defensive coordinator, and a deal is expected. Miami is allowing Fangio to leave to be closer to his family in Pennsylvania. Fangio and the Eagles had an interest in working together in 2023, but the timing didn’t work. This time it will.

For the record, neither Roseman nor Sirianni commented much about this tweet despite being directly asked about it. But it’s possible they don’t want to say anything until the ink on a contract signing is dry.

Wow.

So, the Eagles are getting the guy they wanted to run their defense last year after all.

In case you were living under a rock, Fangio was once expected to be the Eagles’ defensive coordinator in 2023. As Bleeding Green Nation originally reported, he was consulting for the team during the 2022 season. The idea was for him to replace Jonathan Gannon if/when he left for a head coaching job.

Of course, the plan went awry when Gannon wasn’t transparent with the Eagles about his intentions of leaving Philly. It turned out that he was a stronger candidate for the Arizona Cardinals’ opening than the Eagles originally realized, which left the door open for Fangio to accept the Miami Dolphins’ DC job. Fangio didn’t want to renege on his commitment after Gannon left the Eagles.

With Plan A out the window, the Eagles ultimately turned to hiring a Fangio disciple in Sean Desai. That obviously didn’t work out too well with the team demoting him in favor of Matt Patricia, which made Philly’s defense even worse. The Eagles predictably decided to retain neither of them for 2024.

And that’s how we got here, to the Eagles searching for another new defensive coordinator.

As for Fangio’s availability? There were some rumors about him not returning to Miami in 2024. Speaking after the season, Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel left the door open for a DC change. “Mutual decisions” hardly seem mutual most of the time ... but perhaps that’s truly the case in this instance?

It’s also fair to wonder if Fangio and his once-enviable style of defense isn’t quite the same hotness it used to be. Here’s how the 2023 Dolphins defense ranked in a number of categories:

  • 9th in opponent yards per play
  • 15th in EPA per play
  • 16th in opponent offensive points per game
  • 16th in success rate
  • 19th in defensive DVOA
  • 20th in third down conversion rate
  • 26th in red zone defense

In fairness, the Dolphins did deal with some significant injuries last year. Jalen Ramsey entered the season hurt and missed seven games. Xavien Howard missed four games. Top pass rushers Bradley Chubb and Jaelan Phillips ended the season on IR.

Of course, the Dolphins also had the third-most cap space dedicated to defense in 2023. And THE most in 2024.

A few weeks ago, my BGN Radio co-host Jimmy Kempski made a good point about how Fangio and assistants from his coaching tree have not fared well recently.

Here’s how those guys fared in defensive DVOA:

•Joe Woods, Saints: 16th
• Vic Fangio, Dolphins: 19th
• Ed Donatell, Vikings (2022) 24th
• Sean Desai, Eagles: 27th
• Joe Barry, Packers: 28th
• Brandon Staley, Chargers: 29th
• Jonathan Gannon, Cardinals: 32nd

Donatell and Staley are currently unemployed, Desai is stashed in “Storage Closet B” somewhere in the basement of the NovaCare Complex, and there’s a good chance Barry will be fired when the Packers’ season is over.

Offenses around the league have figured out how to beat Fangio’s style of defense and they have punished it all season.

Instead of being ahead of the curve as they like to be in other facets of their team-building approach, the Eagles were way behind in copy-catting a defensive scheme that caused them to return to the “middle of the pack,” as Roseman put it.

So, perhaps this hire isn’t quite the slam dunk that it once seemed like it would be.

That being said, there’s a difference between assistants trying to emulate Fangio and the real deal himself. Also, there’s something to be said for competency, and there’s reason to believe Fangio can at least give the Eagles that much. That is obviously NOT something they had in 2023.

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