8:57pm: With Desai departing, some may think to look to Patricia as a potential successor. Well, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, Patricia is not under contract with the Eagles for the 2024 season. Additionally, Pelissero reports that Patricia has plans to explore other opportunities outside of Philadelphia.
5:57pm: With their season over after losing six of their last seven games following a 10-1 start, the Eagles have made the call to fire defensive coordinator Sean Desai, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. For a time, both of the team’s coordinators seemed destined to leave for greener pastures, but following a brutal closing stretch, Desai will likely be aiming to land another coordinator job.
The move is mostly ceremonial, as Desai had already been demoted, losing play-calling duties to senior defensive assistant Matt Patricia back in December. Desai was demoted after two straight losses following the 10-1 start; the team would go 1-4 the rest of the way with Patricia calling plays. Desai still retained the defensive coordinator title while remaining with the team in a different capacity, but having lost the responsibility he was hired to take, Desai became expendable in Philadelphia.
Before his time with the Eagles, Desai was the Bears’ defensive coordinator in 2021, a season in which Chicago finished sixth in terms of total defense, though it’s points per game and defensive DVOA rankings were not quite as impressive. When head coach Matt Nagy was let go at the end of the 2021 season, his defensive-minded replacement, Matt Eberflus, elected not to retain Desai, who subsequently became associate head coach and defensive assistant for the Seahawks.
Still, Desai’s one season of relative success as defensive coordinator and his long track record as a defensive assistant at the collegiate and NFL levels made him a popular defensive coordinator target in the 2023 hiring cycle. He ended up taking interviews with five different clubs before ultimately choosing the Eagles and becoming the replacement for Jonathan Gannon, who left Philadelphia to take the Cardinals’ head coaching gig.
Desai’s departure was mostly expected as general manager Howie Roseman and head coach Nick Sirianni have reportedly been reaching out to other coordinator candidates throughout the week, according to Dianna Russini of The Athletic. This has all come after Sirianni met with owner Jeffrey Lurie about his own future. Between the calls to potential new coordinators and Siranni reportedly firing Desai himself, per Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, it’s looking more and more like Sirianni’s job is safe for at least another year.
When looking to replace Desai, it appears that the team has reached out to former Giants defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale and former Falcons defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen. The Eagles have also been reaching out to offensive coordinator candidates, with Brian Johnson interviewing for multiple head coaching opportunities. Colts offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter has been mentioned as a potential replacement.
Desai should be able to rebound this offseason, if he chooses to. There are many defensive coordinator jobs opening up in the offseason. New head coaches will be likely be interested in building their own staff, as well, providing more opportunities. Desai’s success in Chicago will likely continue to get him chances in the NFL. Whether or not that chance is a coordinator position in 2024 will be determined in the next few months.