February 28, 2023
The Philadelphia Eagles are hiring Sean Desai to be their new defensive coordinator according to Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll (via Seattle Times reporter Bob Condotta). Desai will replace the oft-maligned Jonathan Gannon, who left Philly to become the Arizona Cardinals' new head coach.
Desai has some Philadelphia roots, and his coaching career began at Temple in 2006. His coaching bio:
• Temple (2006–2010): Defensive & special teams coach
• Miami (FL) (2011): Assistant director of football operations
• Boston College (2012): Running backs coach & special teams coordinator
• Chicago Bears (2013–2018): Defensive quality control coach
• Chicago Bears (2019–2020): Safeties coach
• Chicago Bears (2021): Defensive coordinator
• Seattle Seahawks (2022–present): Associate head coach / defensive assistant
During his nine seasons with the Bears, Desai survived the firings of head coaches Marc Trestman after the 2014 season and John Fox after 2017. He was promoted twice under Matt Nagy, and in his lone season as Chicago's defensive coordinator, the Bears finished sixth in yards allowed, 22nd in points allowed, and 13th in defensive DVOA. However, the Bears' offense finished 24th in yards, 27th in points, and were 26th in offensive DVOA, and Nagy was fired.
Desai was not retained, as the Bears hired a defensive-minded head coach in Matt Eberflus. He landed with the Seahawks as an associate head coach and defensive assistant.
Desai learned for four years under Vic Fangio, who was Chicago's defensive coordinator from 2015 to 2018, and who consulted for the Eagles in 2022. If the Eagles hadn't gone on a long playoff run, Fangio might be the Eagles' defensive coordinator. Instead, Fangio was hired for that role by the Miami Dolphins while the Eagles were preparing to face the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl. In Desai, they have found a defensive coach who knows Fangio's scheme.
It's worth noting that Desai is of Indian descent. Both he and new offensive coordinator Brian Johnson, who is African American, are considered minority coaches.
In November of 2020, the NFL approved a proposal that rewards teams for developing minority coaches and front office executives who go on to become head coaches and general managers for other organizations. If a team loses a minority coach or executive to a head coach or general manager position with another team, they will receive a pair of third-round picks in return. They are called "Resolution JC-2A" picks, but function in a similar way to compensatory picks.
The Eagles did not receive draft pick compensation when they lost Gannon to the Cardinals and Shane Steichen to the Indianapolis Colts. If Johnson and/or Desai perform well in their new roles, the Eagles will at least receive draft pick compensation should they be hired away.
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