The Eagles reportedly hired Jonathan Gannon to be their new defensive coordinator under Nick Sirianni, and at the Colts’ official webpage, his bio is three sentences long:
Gannon is in his third season with Indianapolis as defensive backs/cornerbacks coach. He has 13 years of coaching experience, including nine seasons in the NFL with the Colts (2018-19), Minnesota Vikings (2014-17) and Tennessee Titans (2012-13). Gannon also spent three seasons (2009-2011) as a scout with the St. Louis Rams.
Not a lot to work with there, eh?
So let’s see what we can find on the internet… hmm… this is interesting. Gannon was a player himself back in the day, and committed to Louisville under Bobby Petrino, back when the Cardinals were really damn good. They had Briam Brohm and Elvis Dumervil and all of those studs. He didn’t play though, and was injured as a freshman, so he decided to divert into coaching and was a grad assistant on the 2006 team that beat Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl.
Afterward, Gannon followed Petrino to the Falcons, and that ended up being a disaster for the latter, so Gannon joined the Rams as a scout for three seasons before jumping back in to coaching with the Titans, who brought him in as a defensive assistant and quality control coach under Mike Munchak. Gannon left in 2014 for the Vikings, where he was the assistant DB coach and then got the full DB role when he linked up with Frank Reich in 2018.
One of the things you’ll read about Gannon is that he gets a lot of credit for Xavier Rhodes’ success. He coached him in Minnesota, where Rhodes earned three Pro Bowl selections. This year, in Indy, Rhodes was targeted 82 times and only allowed 43 completions, which is barely above 50%. He had two picks and gave up five touchdowns.
That’s a good sign right for Gannon there. Perhaps that translates to individual growth from Avonte Maddox, K’Von Wallace, and some of the other younger defensive backs on this team.
And Kenny Moore seems to really like him:
they are getting one of my favorite coaches of all time. man, what a 3yr run we had. 1ove. 🥲 https://t.co/JXT29pRmbq
— Kenny Moore II (@KennyKennyMoe3) January 23, 2021
The other thing is that Gannon’s never called defensive plays, so that’s a new wrinkle for him as a first-time coordinator. Same thing for Sirianni on the offensive side, so it’s gonna look pretty green in Philly next season. Maybe Kelly Green?
RE: scheme, don’t expect anything crazy. Gannon comes from the Mike Zimmer tree, so you’ll see 4-3, a lot of cover 2 and zone. There’s no evidence to suggest he’d do anything different from what he learned under Zimmer, or Colts’ DC Matt Eberflus. That’s going to be a little bit of an adjustment for the Eagles, because in recent years they were more of a single-high safety team with Rodney McLeod and played more man coverage.
That’s about it for the Jonathan Gannon introductory post. We don’t know a ton about him, and maybe that’s a good thing. Between him and Sirianni, the Birds’ coaching ranks will be young and intriguing, at the least. Perhaps Sirianni brings in a couple of veteran guys to help provide some experience, and while he may or may not succeed, this is turning out to be a breath of fresh air.