February 15, 2023
It’s truly amazing what a couple of weeks can do.
The Philadelphia sports world went from turning a video clip of Jonathan Gannon yelling about the 49ers into an all-time viral masterpiece, to then begging to drive him to the airport. The same appears to be the case with Shane Steichen, who some people are still questioning what exactly he did to warrant a head coaching position.
The Philadelphia Eagles lost both of their coordinators on a Super Bowl (losing) team, and I’ve never felt more confident.
Because contrary to what small pockets of social media, beat reporters, and your uncle who roots for the Cowboys believes – neither of these guys were integral to the success of this football team.
People who cover the team are demanding you provide receipts in your criticisms about one of the worst coaching performances in the Super Bowl. It was horrific to see Andy Reid and his staff pick apart weaknesses and tendencies live in the game, while Gannon hid under the blankets hoping the problem would just go away.
Adjustments? How about not getting burned on the same stop-pivot play that led to two scores and the final holding call. Was anyone paying attention? The Chiefs had that sucker in their pocket back from the Jaguars game.
That is an adjustment. Knowing something could be coming, being prepared, and having an answer. It’s just super convenient to blame the field conditions or the refs — my God. It’s disgraceful to the NFL hiring process — something long broken before this offseason — to see a guy who failed the ultimate test get hired over someone who could easily be as qualified or more so.
Gannon got the benefit of having a practice run of head coaching in the Super Bowl. It was his side of the field that was the most in question. It was his unit that he ran all year. Nick Sirianni wasn’t in those huddles, nor was any position coach taking over the reins of play-calling. It was a test for Gannon to prove that he could match up with the best offense, coach, and QB in the NFL.
If he couldn’t do that with a historic defense, then why would he be able to with Arizona’s? Gannon — like any other defensive-minded coach — is being hired to stop the best offenses in the final game of the year. He was just given that opportunity, again, with a historic defense, and failed miserably. He was torched by guys who laughed as they relied upon experience and street smarts, rather a coaching binder and pre-designed plays.
This amazing benefit of the doubt that any new head coach gets is out of the window now. Gannon failed his test and lost all benefit of any doubt, mainly because there is none. There is zero doubt that if up against the Chiefs and same QB/HC combo, Gannon will fail. He just did.
The craziest part about all of it is the guy who was partly to mostly responsible in destroying Gannon was passed over for any head coaching position, as Eric Bieniemy watched yet another job fill without his hiring.
The defense was loaded before Gannon took over and Howie Roseman went out to secure veteran talent to sure up the defensive backfield. Replacing Johnathan Gannon would be the easiest task of any team this offseason if not for the departure of Shane Steichen.
“Oh, but he called the plays!”
This is like a student reading a portion of a textbook out loud, while telling the rest of the class they are the teacher. Calling plays in an offense but not creating the offense, not being behind the building of it. Really. Take a look at the conversations regarding Sirianni not winning coach of the year. Was any of it related to defense? Or what they did on that side of the ball?
It’s all a credit to who the quarterback is with Jalen Hurts and what Sirianni was able to do as a result. It became this huge thing about Steichen once he was up for a job. The same gatekeepers of information that cover this football team and want you to feel bad about criticizing Gannon, are pumping you full of propaganda in how vital Steichen was to Hurts’ success.
Cue the Michael Jordan meme. Just stop it.
The Eagles either benefitted from two amazing coordinators who found the ability to extract All-Pro production from an NFL roster, or not. Maybe Gannon wasn’t as integral in four grown men winning 1-on-1 (or 2) battles week to week. Maybe Steichen’s calling of pre-selected plays looked good because they were for one of the best QBs in the NFL. Maybe it was two guys who were able to take advantage of some pretty fortunate circumstances that wont be on their new teams.
Sirianni is credited with being the reason why the team’s culture was able to grow, why they were such a tight-knit group, and the success on offense. The first time I heard a broadcast all year go on and on about Steichen was in the Super Bowl, clearly an attempt to highlight him as the next Colts coach.
All of a sudden, going back to Hurts after a mistake was credited as a Steichen thing. Even if it was a group decision or simply the next play on the sheet, going back to your MVP after a mistake is about the most obvious thing you can possibly do, and probably the only thing you can do.
Jalen Hurts, Jeff Stoutland, Nick Sirianni, veteran playmakers on all three levels of defense, a seasoned special teams coach (Yes, the punt return) are all more important than the loss of either coordinator. Even losing a man or two up front on defense isn’t going to gut this team.
Besides, outside of Hurts, the most important piece of maintaining this team’s success – especially on defense – remains. That would be Howie Roseman.
It’s crazy what a couple of weeks can truly do.
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