Eagles hire Sean Desai as defensive coordinator: Former Seahawks associate coach headed to Philadelphia

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The Philadelphia Eagles have a new defensive coordinator, as the team hired Sean Desai to succeed Jonathan Gannon, the announced team on Tuesday. Philadelphia had its second interview with Desai on Monday, when he was at the NovaCare Complex for the meeting. Desai flew from Philadelphia to the NFL combine in Indianapolis on Tuesday where he put pen to paper on the deal.

Desai got the job over Eagles defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson, as they were two of the known rivals. The Eagles also interviewed Vance Joseph and Jim Leonhard for the job, but Joseph accepted the Denver Broncos’ offer to become defensive coordinator and Leonhard removed himself from consideration due to hip surgery this year.

The Eagles also interviewed Los Angeles Rams defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator Chris Shula and Michigan State defensive coordinator Jesse Minter for the job. It was unclear whether Shula or Minter was a finalist.

Desai, a Temple alum, spent nine seasons with the Chicago Bears before being brought in by the Seattle Seahawks as the associate head coach of the defense for defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt. The 39-year-old Desai has one season as a defensive coordinator in the NFL, as the 2021 Bears finished 22nd in points allowed per game (23.9), but sixth in yards per game allowed (312.0). The Bears finished third in the NFL in yards allowed per game (191.6) and fourth in sacks (49). Robert Quinn broke Chicago’s single-season sack record with 18.5 in 2021 and registered at least half a sack in 14 of 16 games played – including 12 in the last eight games.

Desai served as the defensive quality control coach from 2013 to 2018 with the Bears before being promoted to coach safeties from 2019 to 2020. Chicago had a top-10 defense in yards allowed in all three seasons Desai was affiliated with the that unit. Desai was a disciple of Vic Fangio, battling him for four seasons in Chicago.

Desai wasn’t the defensive coordinator in Seattle, but he played a significant role in the game plan. The Seahawks defense was 13th in yards allowed (211.5) despite ranking 25th in points allowed per game (23.6) and 26th in yards per game allowed (361.7) in Desai’s lone season in Seattle.

The Eagles’ defense finished first in the league in sacks (70) and first in passing yards per game (179.8), so Desai is a great fit for what the Eagles have been doing the past two seasons. The defense will have some wrinkles attached to Desai on board.

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