The Philadelphia Eagles just barely escaped Week 1 with a win. (And when I say barely, I mean BARELY.) Some others weren’t so lucky, namely first-time head coaches Jonathan Gannon and Shane Steichen. The Eagles’ former coordinators both saw positives from their new teams, but ultimately came up short in their first outings. 

Gannon’s Arizona Cardinals fell to the Washington Commanders 20-16 early on Sunday. Amid speculation (fueled by widely circulated clips of team meetings) that Gannon hadn’t inspired much of a fight in his new team, the Cardinals actually performed better than expected on the defensive side of the ball. Washington quarterback Sam Howell was sacked six times by five different players, and the defense racked up three turnovers, including a scoop and score:

The offense struggled to get going, however, and new quarterback Josh Dobbs had two costly, late-game fumbles that led to the team surrendering a 16-10 lead and never getting it back.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before –

Gannon’s team played an undisciplined game. The Cardinals accumulated 122 yards in penalties, including 67 on a single drive. Speaking on the penalties, Gannon said, “That falls on me… We want to be violent.. but we gotta be smarter.

Accountability is a good look on him.* 

Meanwhile, Shane Steichen’s Indianapolis Colts fell 31-21 to the Doug Pederson-coached Jacksonville Jaguars. Like the Cardinals/Commanders game, this one was close up until the end. The Colts were actually leading 21-17 going into the fourth quarter. They played a tough game, but rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson threw a fourth-quarter interception that ultimately led to the game-sealing touchdown by Jacksonville:

Richardson finished with a respectable statline in his debut: 24 of 37 for 223 yards with one touchdown and one interception. That pick just happened to come at an unfortunate moment. 

After the game, Steichen said that Richardson “played solid” and added, “I’ll take the fault for that interception… we didn’t have a great route called there. [I’ve] gotta be better there.”

The common theme with Gannon and Steichen’s performances is that both teams played hard and showed flashes, but QB performance was lacking at key moments. Both former Eagles coordinators definitely experienced growing pains that are natural for first-time head coaches. At the end of the week, the only statistic that matters is the win, and both Steichen and Gannon will search for their first one next week, at Houston and home to the Giants, respectively. 

*Kinkead: I will say the Cardinals played hard for Gannon. They just don’t have a QB and there’s so little offensive talent on that team.