Matt Patricia

Eagles Fire DC Sean Desai

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.

Latest On Bill Belichick, Falcons; Cowboys, Eagles Looked Into HC?

The Falcons look to be moving closer to one of the highest-profile coaching hires in NFL history. Arthur Blank has never hired a head coach that had held the position before, but this weekend’s second interview could well lead to an agreement.

Bill Belichick‘s upcoming meeting with a Falcons executive committee — after the first interview consisted of just Belichick and Blank — is expected to double as one in which the 29-year veteran HC inquires about how a prospective partnership would work rather than Falcons brass interviewing the accomplished leader, Mark Maske of the Washington Post notes. Given Belichick’s experience, the Falcons needing to sell him as much as the other way around makes sense. It is not certain Belichick will not take other interviews, but Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio indicates league buzz is pointing to the six-time Super Bowl winner ending up in Georgia.

[RELATED: Falcons, Seahawks Showing Interest In Mike Vrabel]

Atlanta remaining in the thick of this pursuit despite Dallas and Philadelphia enduring embarrassing playoff losses is notable, and perhaps telling. Some in league circles believe the Cowboys and Eagles showed interest in Belichick, according to Florio. The Cowboys have since announced they are retaining Mike McCarthy for a fifth season, while the Eagles may be settling on Nick Sirianni retooling his staff. Philly is already believed to have put out feelers to coordinators, pointing to a Sirianni fourth season in charge. Thus far, Belichick has only met with the Falcons.

In order to fire coaches who have accomplished what Sirianni and McCarthy have, the NFC East teams would need to be confident they could lure a better coach. On the Belichick front, Florio adds the all-time great may be done with big-market media. After coaching 24 seasons in the Boston area, Belichick coming to Atlanta would bring a change of pace. That said, Belichick’s presence would naturally make whatever team he ends up a frequent topic of discussion. Low-key NFL teams certainly do exist; the Falcons have operated as one in recent years. But the concept of Belichick residing off the mainstream radar — as he changes teams and sits 14 wins shy of Don Shula‘s all-time wins record — would be difficult to imagine.

If Belichick is truly zeroing in on Atlanta, he would obviously bring credentials that lap the rest of Blank’s hires. The longtime owner saw this firsthand, via Super Bowl LI, and Belichick the coach would provide a major upgrade — particularly on the defensive side. The subject of personnel power would become more complicated. Belichick excelled for years in this area, his issues drafting first-round wideouts notwithstanding, but has struggled recently. The Falcons made a point to say GM Terry Fontenot was not leading this HC search but belatedly said the fourth-year exec’s role has not diminished. It would be interesting to see Belichick, 71, cede power to Fontenot, 43, with the Falcons. The NFC South club could also consider bringing in personnel staffers more familiar with the coach.

On that note, some around the league also believe Belichick would probably reunite with assistants Josh McDaniels, Joe Judge and Matt Patricia were he to become the next Falcons HC, Maske adds. Belichick’s sons, Steve and Brian, are believed to have an opportunity to stay in New England under Jerod Mayo. But it would stand to reason the assistants will be wanted in Atlanta should their father sign on.

McDaniels’ failures as a head coach aside, he provided considerable value under Bill Belichick in New England. The polarizing play-caller was on staff for all six New England Super Bowl wins, the final three coming when he was in place as offensive coordinator. The Patriots’ freefall post-McDaniels probably should not be overlooked. Patricia stands as a key of that downslide, with Belichick strangely installing him as the 2022 team’s primary offensive play-caller. Patricia and Judge, fired by the Giants after two seasons, held the keys on offense for the ’22 Pats edition. Belichick was believed to have wanted Patricia to stay in 2023, rather than the team hiring Bill O’Brien.

Would the Falcons be willing to go with a Patriots South setup? They would be far from the only team to sign up for a Patriot Way effort, but this endeavor would be a bit different, seeing as the architect would be coming rather than a lieutenant being tasked with replicating Belichick’s approach.

The Falcons have already interviewed six other candidates, satisfying their Rooney Rule requirements in the process. The team is set to meet with Rams DC Raheem Morris on Saturday. While Morris is a former Falcons interim HC who spent six years with the team under Dan Quinn, he may not have left on bad terms. But Belichick buzz has overshadowed the Falcons’ search thus far. We could be days away from the former Browns and Patriots HC receiving a third opportunity, one that would put him in position to break Shula’s record, which has stood since 1995.

Latest On Eagles, HC Nick Sirianni

After their one-and-done showings in the postseason, both the Cowboys and Eagles are the subject of speculation with respect to coaching changes. In the latter case, staff alterations can be expected amongst the coordinator positions at a minimum, though questions remain one peg higher up the ladder.

Head coach Nick Sirianni‘s job security has come into question in the wake of Philadelphia’s late-season collapse, punctuated by the team’s lopsided wild-card defeat. Nothing is certain at this point, but Ralph Vacchiano of Fox Sports reports there are multiple people within the organization who are “at least bracing for the possibility” Sirianni could be let go. Such a move would be noteworthy given the Eagles’ run to last year’s Super Bowl, but not entirely unprecedented (as evidenced by the Broncos’ firing of John Fox following the 2014 season).

A report from earlier this week suggested Sirianni would be safe, although it has become clear at this point that a disconnect exists within the organization. As Vacchiano confirms, owner Jeffrey Lurie is among those in the building who have “soured” on the coordinators Sirianni chose to replace Shane Steichen and Jonathan Gannon this offseason. Brian Johnson was promoted to OC, while Sean Desai was brought in to lead the team’s defense. Friction between the former and quarterback Jalen Hurts has been documented, while the latter was stripped of play-calling duties last month in favor of Matt Patricia.

Given the Eagles’ struggles on defense in particular after the switch to Patricia, it was expected before the team’s playoff loss that at least one coordinator change would be coming. Both Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman would expect Sirianni to change his current OC and DC in the event he was retained, per Vacchiano. Turnover at both spots in consecutive years would certainly be an unwanted development, especially considering the presence of Dennard Wilson on last year’s staff. Wilson served as defensive backs coach for the Eagles in 2022 before taking the same position in Baltimore once it was learned he would not be promoted to defensive coordinator. That decision is considered “a big mistake” in the organization now, Vacchiano notes.

Sirianni has posted a 34-17 record across his three years at the helm, including a 25-9 regular season mark since 2022. The nature of the team’s collapse from a 10-1 start to losing six of seven games, however, has increased the pressure on him in part as a result of the depth of high-profile options on the coaching market at the moment. One of those is Bill Belichick, and seven sources each told Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post that Philadelphia would represent the most logical landing spot for Belichick.

The longtime New England coach has interviewed with the Falcons, the team with which he has most closely been connected to date. However, he has been floated as an option for a number of other openings, and a win-now roster would no doubt appeal to him. Given the number of holdovers from last year’s Super Bowl run, the Eagles figure to enter the 2024 campaign with significant expectations. The moves made in the near future as it pertains to Sirianni and his lieutenants in the near future will certainly be worth watching with the goal of another deep playoff push in mind.

Eagles Not Expected To Fire Nick Sirianni

Given how the Eagles closed out the regular season, tonight’s Buccaneers matchup doubles as one of the more fascinating playoff openers in years. The defending NFC champions run the risk of becoming a central figure when the subject of Super Bowl-losing hangovers comes up.

Staff changes are believed to be on the table for the Eagles, and it should be considered likely they will have three defensive coordinators in three years soon. But the top domino in this equation still does not appear poised to fall. Nick Sirianni is not believed to be on the hot seat, according to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer.

This would be the case even if the Eagles lose to the No. 4-seeded Bucs, who are 9-8 and only secured a home game due to the NFC South’s status as one of the worst divisions in NFL history over the past two years. The Eagles, however, are 11-6 after dropping five of their past six. Sirianni, who is closing out his third season on the job, has presided over one of the more memorable late-season swoons in recent NFL history.

Although Philadelphia’s defensive issues have come under fire, Jalen Hurts — Brotherly Shove touchdowns notwithstanding — has not followed up his breakthrough campaign with another step forward. Playing through injury this season, Hurts has seen his numbers drop across the board. Interceptions represent the figure that has skyrocketed, with the fourth-year QB’s 15 picks matching his past two seasons combined. The recently extended quarterback did not earn a Pro Bowl invite, and ESPN.com’s Tim McManus notes a disconnect between Hurts and the offensive staff has emerged.

The Eagles replaced two-year play-caller Shane Steichen with Hurts’ position coach, Brian Johnson, who has known the dual-threat QB for most of his life. While Johnson has received multiple requests for HC interviews, the Eagles are limping into the playoffs. Hurts has grown frustrated with an Eagles overreliance on vertical routes that require A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith to win one-on-one matchups, per McManus, who adds just 5.2% of Hurts’ pass attempts came on between-the-hashes throws this season — lowest among qualified QBs. Brown is set to miss tonight’s game with the injury he sustained in Week 18, ratcheting up the pressure on Hurts.

Others, however, attribute this Hurts-staff disconnect to the Steichen-to-Johnson OC change, with McManus also indicating Johnson has attempted to fit his concepts into Sirianni’s scheme. That reminds of the Panthers’ situation, which crumbled in part because of the team attempting to pair OC Thomas Brown‘s philosophy with Frank Reich‘s scheme. While the Eagles are a few tiers north of what happened in Charlotte this year, their fall from 10-1 to the No. 5 seed has been puzzling.

Sirianni’s decision to demote Sean Desai and give much of his responsibilities to Matt Patricia has not produced an improvement, though McManus adds the switch initially provided relief to some defensive players. Locker-room tension helped produce the defensive switch, but McManus, citing finger-pointing on both sides of the ball, adds multiple players-only meetings have taken place.

This paints a grim picture for the Eagles’ chances of defending their NFC title, but Sirianni did both lead the Eagles on a surprise playoff journey in 2021 — after the final Doug PedersonCarson Wentz season brought a freefall — and move the team to being within a disputed defensive holding penalty from having a chance to win Super Bowl LVII.

It would be shocking if the Eagles moved on so soon, even with the team having fired Pederson three years after his Super Bowl LII conquest and canning Andy Reid in the past. Should the Eagles follow the 2022 Cowboys’ lead and topple the Bucs in Round 1, Sirianni would seem safer. Barring a remarkable turnaround, though, the team’s December and January issues are likely to define the upcoming offseason.

Latest On Bill Belichick’s Patriots Future

As we get closer to Black Monday, the job status of Bill Belichick will continue to command headlines. While it’s still uncertain if the legendary coach will stick in New England, it sounds like rival teams are preparing for a divorce.

According to Josina Anderson, there are “teams within the NFC South” that have “potential” interest in Belichick. Considering the Panthers’ midseason coaching change, the organization has been loosely connected to Belichick. Mike Jurecki of Arizona Football Daily confirms that Carolina “has always been an option.”

However, there haven’t been any previous rumblings of a pursuit by the Buccaneers, Saints, nor Falcons. Each of those teams’ head coaches could be at risk of losing their jobs, so it’s hard to definitively point to any one team based on Anderson’s report.

It sounds like it isn’t just rival teams that are anticipating a break up. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, some Patriots staff members are “bracing for change.” As a result, these individuals “have begun examining outside opportunities out of necessity,” a hint that Robert Kraft and co. could make sweeping changes to the organization.

Andrew Callahan and Doug Kyed of the Boston Herald recently explored what led up to this point in New England. Following a dismal showing from the offense in 2022, there was hope in New England that replacing Matt Patricia with Bill O’Brien would solve some of the issues. However, Belichick was a proponent of sticking with Patricia, and while O’Brien tried to clean house on the offensive coaching staff, the head coach denied the request. This led to a divide on the offensive coaching staff, and the new OC had clear frustrations with the WR and OL coaches.

It sounds like those frustrations were shared by the assistant coaches, although they weren’t necessarily targeted at O’Brien. A source told Callahan and Kyed that newly-hired offensive line coach Adrian Klemm “confronted” director of player personnel Matt Groh “in a loud exchange” earlier this season. Klemm would later take a leave of absence, resulting in assistant coach Billy Yates and veteran OL James Ferentz leading the unit. Per the Boston Herald, Klemm isn’t expected to be back with the Patriots next season.

There were also issues among players. Cornerback Jack Jones “blew up” at position coach Mike Pellegrino after not starting the Germany game, leading to the player’s release, according to the Herald. Meanwhile, offensive lineman Trent Brown reportedly spoke openly about leaving for an NFC team this upcoming offseason.

Ultimately, sources believe Belichick’s “personnel control and inability to assemble a functional staff” led to his demise in New England. Still, these sources stressed that players continued to play hard for their head coach, and there’s a belief that he “hasn’t lost his fastball as a hands-on coach.” We’ll soon learn if Kraft feels the same way.

Coaching/Front Office Notes: Commanders, Moore, Desai, Eagles, Evero, Jets

Ron Rivera almost definitely has one more game remaining as Commanders HC. While Martin Mayhew‘s Washington GM future may also consist of just one more contest, that is a bit less certain. Mayhew’s status aside, new owner Josh Harris is expected to consider updating the team’s power structure. Dan Snyder‘s successor will likely look into adding a president of football operations to oversee both the GM and HC, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero indicate.

Washington has adjusted its power structure on multiple occasions over the past several years. Rivera held personnel power essentially by himself in 2020, with the franchise waiting until 2021 to bring in a GM (Mayhew). Rivera arrived after Bruce Allen‘s 10-year tenure as team president. Allen’s final years did not feature a GM, as the franchise fired Scot McCloughan after two years in the role. The Harris-owned 76ers have Daryl Morey overseeing GM Elton Brand and HC Nick Nurse, though many NFL teams give GMs full control. If the Commanders are to hire both a GM and an executive to oversee that position, top GM candidates will naturally be less interested in the job. Harris is not believed to be interested in giving a head coach full autonomy.

Here is the latest from the coaching ranks:

  • Signs the Eagles would demote DC Sean Desai were evident weeks before Nick Sirianni made the call. Sirianni chipped away at Desai’s authority by removing his final say of third-down game planning, per the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane. This occurred between the Eagles’ losses to the 49ers and Cowboys, per McLane, who adds Desai is planning to finish out the season with Philadelphia. The team’s switch to Patricia has not moved the needle, as the Eagles endured an ugly loss to the Cardinals — one that likely cost the team the NFC East title. The Eagles, who were initially expecting to retain Jonathan Gannon for a third season, figure to be in the market for a new DC in the offseason.
  • Defensive coordinator on a bad team for a second straight season, Ejiro Evero does not appear to have seen his stock dinged much by the Panthers‘ 2023 performance. After we heard an arrangement in which the Panthers retain Evero as DC under a new coach is likely to be considered, Rapoport and Pelissero note Evero should be expected to receive an HC interview with the team. Of course, David Tepper has been again linked to another pursuit of an offense-oriented coach. Tepper’s uninspiring 2023, which looks to have ended with the owner tossing a drink at a fan in Jacksonville, could certainly have an impact on the caliber of candidates interested in the Carolina job. High-end option Ben Johnson already turned down the team in 2023, but the Lions’ OC is again in the Panthers’ sights.
  • The Chargers do not look to be interested in either of their coordinators for the HC job. Despite previously being an HC interviewee, Bolts OC Kellen Moore is unlikely to be considered for the organization’s top coaching job, according to The Athletic’s Daniel Popper (subscription required). Justin Herbert failed to take notable steps forward under the ex-Cowboys play-caller, who admittedly dealt with injury trouble — along with center Corey Linsley‘s early-season placement on the reserve/NFI list — in his first season in Los Angeles. It will be interesting to see if Moore — hired within a day after his Cowboys exit — will land another OC gig for 2024.
  • The Jets are giving their HC and GM a mulligan for 2023, but Sportskeeda’s Tony Pauline offers that staff changes should still be likely to commence. O-line coach Keith Carter‘s job appears in jeopardy, per Pauline, who adds the ex-Titans O-line coach’s hire raised eyebrows at the Senior Bowl last year. Pro Football Focus ranks the Jets’ O-line 32nd, though it has seen injuries — including Alijah Vera-Tucker‘s season-ending malady in October — make a significant impact. Robert Saleh will be on the hot seat in 2024, and while Nathaniel Hackett is expected to stay, one of his lieutenants may not survive this disappointing season.

Latest On Eagles’ Defensive Changes

In 2021, Nick Sirianni made a significant in-season change by handing play-calling reins to then-OC Shane Steichen. Shifting to a run-heavy approach, the Eagles began an ascent that produced a Super Bowl LVII berth a year later. Sirianni is attempting to make a similar save this season.

Hired as a senior defensive assistant this offseason, Matt Patricia is now calling the shots on defense. Sirianni did not strip Sean Desai of his defensive coordinator title, but Jonathan Gannon‘s successor has been effectively demoted. The third-year HC confirmed Patricia now has the final say on defense.

I made the decision, what I thought I needed to do in the best interest of the football team,” Sirianni said, via AllPhly.com’s Zach Berman. “We made some adjustments there. I didn’t feel like we were playing and coaching well enough on defense, so I made an adjustment. It was my decision and that’s what I did.

All the final decisions are made by Matt right now. As disappointed as Sean was, I think he handled himself like a true pro. Sean is still helpful to this football team because he has a bright mind and he can help and as I listened in on defense today they were communicating back and forth very similar to the way they communicated with the roles reversed.”

Patricia, 49, will not implement a new defensive system, Sirianni said, with the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane indicating the team views this as too late of a juncture for major schematic changes. But Patricia will be calling plays in the system Desai installed this offseason. The Eagles proceeded similarly in 2012, per McLane, when they elevated Todd Bowles in place of DC Juan Castillo. The team converted Castillo from an offensive line coach to DC after firing Sean McDermott, but Andy Reid made that change in October 2012. With this Desai-for-Patricia switch coming much later in the season, it is understandable the Eagles are not eyeing wholesale changes.

Excessive finger-pointing, particularly among certain defensive players, took place following the Eagles’ one-sided losses to the 49ers and Cowboys, ESPN.com’s Tim McManus adds. Considering where the Eagles were last year at this time, frustration was inevitable. Following Patricia’s first game in charge — a 20-17 last-second loss to the Seahawks — the Eagles rank 26th in scoring defense, 22nd overall and 23rd in DVOA. Gannon’s final season, as ignominiously as it ended, produced the league’s second-best total defense and No. 8 scoring defense.

The Eagles were prepared to hire Vic Fangio as DC, after he served as a consultant last season. But with Gannon’s Cardinals hire producing some controversy and a tampering sanction, Fangio ended up in Miami for high-end coordinator money. Desai worked under Fangio in Chicago and installed a similar scheme, though the Eagles still use a 4-3 look. Player support for ex-secondary coach Dennard Wilson existed, per McLane. Upon being passed over for Desai, the two-year Eagles assistant trekked to Baltimore to become the Ravens’ DBs coach. Going into the Seattle matchup, the Eagles ranked last in red zone defense and 30th on third downs; McLane adds Desai’s game plans had strayed from some of Fangio’s core concepts.

For Patricia, this represents a return to a prominent defensive role. He has not held such responsibilities since his 2020 Lions firing. This will become a prime opportunity for the longtime Bill Belichick lieutenant to showcase his chops away from New England, a challenge that has proven too much for many ex-Belichick aides. For Desai, 40, this Philly stay now has the look of a one-and-done. The 2021 Chicago DC spent last season as an assistant under Pete Carroll and DC Clint Hurtt in Seattle. While Desai generated interest from multiple teams this offseason, he is staring at two one-year DC tenures this decade.

Matt Patricia Replaces Sean Desai As Eagles’ Defensive Play-Caller

The Eagles are in the midst of a two-game losing streak that has put their chances of winning the NFC East, to say nothing of securing the conference’s No. 1 seed, in serious jeopardy. Philadelphia has surrendered at least 33 points in each of its last three games, and as it seeks to right the ship, it is making a major change on the defensive side of the ball.

Per Jay Glazer of Fox Sports, senior defensive assistant Matt Patricia has replaced Sean Desai as defensive coordinator, which includes assuming Desai’s play-calling duties (though Desai will remain with the Eagles in a different capacity). As Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports, a team source has confirmed the move, but Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, among others, says that Desai will retain the formal title of defensive coordinator. Rapoport adds that Desai will head to the coaches’ booth while Patricia will man the sidelines, and all reporters are in agreement that Patricia will take over as defensive play-caller.

Patricia’s lengthy stint as the Patriots’ defensive coordinator from 2012-17 preceded a forgettable tenure as the Lions’ head coach from 2018-20. He rejoined the Pats the following year and was curiously chosen to serve as New England’s offensive play-caller in 2022, a decision that was criticized at the time and that only got worse from there. This offseason, he was a candidate to join Sean Payton‘s first Broncos staff as defensive coordinator, though he eventually wound up in Philadelphia after Denver went in a different direction.

According to Rapoport, as relayed by Kevin Patra of NFL.com, Patricia has served as a consultant for all three phases of the Eagles’ operation this year despite his official title of senior defensive assistant, and he has earned the respect of the players. By contrast, Brooks Kubena of The Athletic reported just yesterday that safety Kevin Byard had persuaded Desai to allow the secondary to handle its own scouting report of the Seahawks, the club’s upcoming opponent.

Desai was the Bears’ defensive coordinator in 2021, and Chicago finished that season sixth in terms of total defense, though it’s points-per-game and defensive DVOA rankings were not 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 DC target in the 2023 hiring cycle, and he took interviews with five different clubs. He ultimately chose the Eagles and became the replacement for Jonathan Gannon, who left Philadelphia to take the Cardinals’ head coaching gig.

Unfortunately for Desai, the Eagles presently rank in the bottom-10 in terms of both total defense and points-per-game after finishing in the top-10 in both categories in 2022 (Philadelphia actually surrendered the second-fewest yards per game in 2022). While none of Patricia’s Detroit defenses were successful, and while Bill Belichick had a major role in the quality New England defenses that Patricia coordinated, Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni clearly felt a change was in order.

And Sirianni is no stranger to such a move (although he did tell reporters at the beginning of this week that no coaching changes were on the horizon, as McLane observes). During Sirianni’s first season as Philadelphia’s HC in 2021, he ceded offensive play-calling duties to then-offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, which triggered dramatic improvements from quarterback Jalen Hurts and the offense as a whole.

Patricia will have a chance to engineer a similar turnaround beginning tomorrow night, when the Eagles take on a Seattle club that may be without QB1 Geno Smith. Philadelphia faces the Giants twice and the Cardinals to close out the season, and those teams have fielded two of the league’s worst offenses in 2023.

Eagles Addressed Darius Slay-Matt Patricia Past Before Making Hire

Multiple paths were in play for Darius Slay and Matt Patricia this offseason, but the two former Lions coworkers are now key parts of the Eagles’ defensive blueprint.

The Eagles discussed Slay in trades and were close to cutting him, but an extension agreement will keep the standout cornerback in Philadelphia. Patricia interviewed for the Broncos’ defensive coordinator job, was in play to stay with the Patriots and appeared on the Rams’ radar. But he is now in Philly as well.

Philly hired Patricia as a senior defensive assistant in April, well after the HC and coordinator carousels stopped. This made for an interesting move for a few reasons. Patricia’s success has occurred entirely in New England, and the veteran defensive coach is coming off a strange season in which he was asked to call the Pats’ offensive plays. Patricia, 48, also has a history with Slay from their Detroit days. Slay clashed with Patricia early during the latter’s run as the Detroit HC and at one point during Patricia’s 2018 debut, the then-Lions Pro Bowler said he did not respect the new coach. Patricia also, per Slay, questioned the accomplished cornerback’s abilities.

This feud reached the point the Eagles felt it prudent to address the matter before finalizing the Patricia hire, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. The initial Slay trade rumors surfaced shortly after Patricia emerged on Philly’s radar, but the two will work together despite their late-2010s drama. For his part, Slay said the parties’ relationship has been “cordial” this offseason, per Jenna Malinowski of the Detroit Free Press.

It’s another day at the office,” Slay said. “We both got the same goal, just going out there to compete and win a championship, so that’s the main focus.”

Patricia not having the same authority level and not directly overseeing Slay stands to help matters in Philly, but given the latter’s importance to the Eagles’ defense — as reflected by the new $23MM guarantee the team authorized despite Slay being 32 — this hire can be questioned. But Patricia has thus far proven a solid resource for new DC Sean Desai, Breer adds.

The Eagles are transitioning to mostly new personnel on their defensive staff. Following Jonathan Gannon‘s messy departure, the Eagles lost defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson, who had been a candidate for the DC job. Linebackers coach Nick Rallis followed Gannon to Arizona. The team promoted assistant DBs coach D.K. McDonald to fill Wilson’s role, while D.J. Eliot — a college DC over the past 10 years who most recently served in that capacity at Temple — is now in charge of the linebackers. Patricia has experience coaching both position groups and obviously is best known for his six-year run as the Patriots’ defensive coordinator. Considering the staff turnover in Philly, Patricia stands to be an important presence in Desai’s first season leading the defense.

NFC West Notes: Carter, Cards, Rams, 49ers

Closely connected to Jalen Carter ahead of the draft, the Seahawks decided to select Devon Witherspoon at No. 5. The Lions were believed to be targeting the Illinois cornerback at No. 6, and Tyler Dunne of GoLongTD.com notes the Seahawks were pleased rumors circulated they were eyeing Carter at 5. That said, some among the Seahawks did make a late push for the Georgia defensive tackle, per Dunne, who adds some teams viewed the polarizing prospect as “unapologetic” regarding the off-field incident that docked his draft stock. Carter faced misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing — in connection with a fatal crash that killed two members of Georgia’s football program in January — but said he did not encounter extensive questioning from teams about the January scene. The Eagles are not believed to have inquired deeply about the event.

Pete Carroll was believed to be onboard with the Seahawks drafting Carter, but the team passed on one of this draft’s top talents. They were not alone in doing so. The Lions were prepared to draft Jahmyr Gibbs over Carter, before the Cardinals sent them a trade offer for 6, and the Raiders and Falcons passed as well. The Bears, who were eyeing D-line additions in the draft, traded out of No. 9 to allow the Eagles to land this class’ top D-tackle. Here is the latest from the NFC West:

  • The Cardinalstrade-up to No. 6 completed their Paris Johnson acquisition effort. After being tied to the Ohio State prospect in the days leading up to the draft, Arizona will likely move him into its starting lineup immediately. Johnson earned his high prospect ranking as a tackle, but Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic notes the Cardinals have not determined if the ex-Buckeyes blocker will start his pro career at tackle or guard. Johnson played guard in both 2020 and ’21, being a full-time starter at that position as a sophomore, before sliding to left tackle last season. The Cards have both their top tackles — D.J. Humphries and Kelvin Beachum — under contract and re-signed Will Hernandez this offseason. Josh Jones, a guard who slid to tackle to replace an injured Humphries, remains rostered as well. Regardless of where Johnson starts his career, he is expected to become the Cards’ long-term left tackle, McManaman adds.
  • Staying on the topic of Cardinals positional uncertainty, Zaven Collins began working as an edge rusher when the team convened for its offseason work, Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com notes. The 2021 first-round pick spent his first two NFL seasons as an off-ball linebacker, but the Cardinals have Isaiah Simmons and the recently added Kyzir White — who followed HC Jonathan Gannon from Philadelphia — at the ILB spots. While Collins played 785 snaps at linebacker last season, he did line up as a D-lineman on 182 plays.
  • With Gannon and Cards DC Nick Rallis departing Philly, the Eagles hired Matt Patricia. Prior to that relocation, Patricia spoke with the Rams about a role on Sean McVay‘s staff, Albert Breer of SI.com writes. Patricia, who interviewed for the Broncos’ DC job and was on the radar for another role on Sean Payton‘s staff, has only previously coached for two teams (the Patriots and Lions) throughout a 19-year NFL career.
  • The 49ers added Brandon Allen as their fourth quarterback. While Allen would not be part of San Francisco’s active roster if every other QB on the team was fully healthy, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco notes the team gave the ex-Bengals QB2 $200K guaranteed. Allen spent most of the past three seasons as Joe Burrow‘s backup. While the 49ers have Brock Purdy, Trey Lance and Sam Darnold on their roster, Purdy is not expected to be cleared until potentially September and Lance has been involved in trade rumors to the point John Lynch felt compelled to address those with the former No. 3 overall pick.