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Official: Eagles hire Vic Fangio as defensive coordinator

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NFL: Frankfurt Games-Miami Dolphins Practice Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

What was originally reported on Wednesday is now confirmed: the Philadelphia Eagles officially announced they are hiring Vic Fangio to be their new defensive coordinator.

The team issued the following statement from Nick Sirianni:

“Vic’s reputation obviously speaks for itself. He’s a brilliant defensive mind who has coached at a very high level in this league for many years. In my time spent with Vic, I’ve seen firsthand what makes him such a great coach - tremendous knowledge of the game, passion, and work ethic. I’m excited for our coaches and players to be able to learn from him and see it for themselves.”

Fangio, as we know, was the Eagles’ desired DC candidate to replace Jonathan Gannon last year. They instead turned to Sean Desai (who they later demoted to promote Matt Patricia) with Fangio joining the Miami Dolphins. But after just one year down in Florida, Fangio is headed back to his home state of Pennsylvania. Here’s the track record he brings:

The team is hoping Fangio can improve an Eagles defense that ranked 29th in DVOA, 29th in EPA per play, and 30th in opponent offensive points per game in 2023. Fangio will obviously require assistance from Howie Roseman in the form of improved personnel.

In terms of realistic expectations, it’s not about the Eagles suddenly becoming the 1985 Bears. If they actually turn to be an elite defense? Great! But they’re at least looking to raise that unit’s floor from a bottom-five unit to mere competency. Combine the latter with a very high-level offense and that formula should have the Eagles back in championship contention.

There’s a lot to like about the Eagles hiring Fangio.

This is a guy who has been one of the most respected defensive minds in the NFL. From a May 2022 article via The Athletic titled: “Vic Fangio, the most influential DC in modern NFL: A deep dive into his system

In an interview with ESPN prior to the 2019 season, Sean McVay, Kyle Shanahan and Matt LaFleur were all asked which coach’s defense is the most difficult to read and attack. All three highly successful play callers answered: Vic Fangio, the defensive coordinator of the Bears from 2015-18, and first-year coach with the Broncos in 2019.

Unlike the case with Desai, who came to Philly with just one season of play-calling experience, the Eagles can trust Fangio to run his side of the ball without additional supervision or meddling.

Unless the 65-year-old plans on retiring soon, there’s an opportunity for defensive continuity here. Teams are probably not going to be coming after him with head coach interest following his failed stint with the Denver Broncos.

The Fangio hire might not be foolproof. Why were the Dolphins so willing to let him walk after one year in Miami? How much does it matter that some players clearly were not sad to see him go? And to what extent has the NFL caught up to Fangio’s preferences since the system has become so pervasive?

Ultimately, though, it’s hard to argue the Eagles should’ve went in a different direction.

Welcome back to Philly, Vic.

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