New Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon has made his first coordinator hire. Arizona is bringing Nick Rallis aboard as its DC, as Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reports (via Coral Smith of NFL.com).
Rallis, 29, becomes the youngest coordinator in the league after spending each of the past two seasons working closely with Gannon as the Eagles’ linebackers coach. Just as Philadelphia’s defensive performance in 2022 reflected well on Gannon, the club’s two-year defensive coordinator, Rallis has also received attention for his work with the likes of T.J. Edwards, Kyzir White, and Haason Reddick. Zach Berman of The Athletic says (via Twitter) that Rallis was well-regarded in the Eagles’ locker room, and according to Pelissero, multiple teams tried to lure Rallis away after the Cardinals made their offer.
As opposed to the lengthy search process that culminated in Gannon’s hire, the Cardinals’ search for a defensive coordinator lasted less than a week and included just three external candidates: Bears linebackers coach Dave Borgonzi, Patriots defensive line coach DeMarcus Covington, and Rallis. Gannon initially left open the possibility of retaining Vance Joseph, who worked as Arizona’s DC for the past four seasons and who also interviewed for the team’s head coaching position, but it appears that the two men were not aligned in their vision for the Cards’ defense. Joseph will now explore other opportunities, which, interestingly enough, include Philadelphia’s now-vacant defensive coordinator post.
Rallis played collegiately at the University of Minnesota, and his first job in the professional ranks came as a defensive quality control coach for the Vikings under then-HC Mike Zimmer in 2018 (Zimmer, who was also rumored to be a candidate for the Cardinals’ DC position, had Gannon on his staff from 2014-17). Rallis finished his tenure with the Vikes in 2020 before moving on to Philadelphia in 2021.
In Arizona, Rallis will be tasked with improving a unit that finished the 2022 season 21st in total defense and 31st in points allowed. The team presently has major needs at cornerback and along the defensive line.