The Philadelphia Eagles have two more games to play this season (hopefully). As of now, the coaching staff is still intact, but that won’t stop the rumor mill from churning. Sometimes, we hear things, and we ignore them. Often, when the dots are connected, we need to take what’s being said with a grain of salt. Rumors that tie the Birds to one of the NFL’s most complex defensive minds can’t be ignored though.
Of course this is interesting. It’s Vic Fangio! His fingerprints are all over many of the defensive schemes that we see run in the NFL these days. Some have adopted his philosophy and have done a good job with it while adding layers of their own (Jonthan Gannon). Others, well, let’s just say they’ve left much to be desired, the recently-fired Ed Donatell for instance.
As is always the case, Eagles Nation is split on whether this is a move worth pursuing. Well, we know it’s worth, at minimum, a conversation. The questions are about whether Philadelphia’s leadership structure would follow through one said conversation ends.
Here are reasons to believe and ignore any theories that end with Vic Fangio becoming the Eagles’ defensive coordinator.
Jonathan Gannon’s name popped up on the list of head coaches in waiting last season. This time around, with the heights that his unit has reached and with their being vacancies around the league, some are under the impression that this may be his last run in the City of Brotherly Love.
Here’s why pursuing Vic Fangio makes sense.
Fangio most recently led the Denver Broncos as their head coach from 2019 until 2021. Prior to that, he was the Chicago Bears’ defensive coordinator from 2015 until 2018, but it’s the way he’s been spending his time recently that has some fantasizing about seeing him in midnight green.
1. Well, we know he’s someone the Eagles coaches talk to.
For many, the Fagio-fueled rumors began when Vic was spending extended time at the NovaCare Complex this past offseason. We know the Eagles coaching staff picked his brain constantly during his visit. We know they still do.
Philadelphia likes having guys around that they have familiarity with, both players and coaches. If they were to lose Gannon and make an outside hire. This would be one of the smoother transitions.
2. The Eagles wouldn’t have to change the scheme much.
Things didn’t work out for Vic Fangio as a head coach, but as mentioned earlier, even having sat out of coaching for a season, he’s still one of the NFL’s most brilliant defensive minds.
As mentioned earlier, his style of play and/or traces of it can be found all over pro football’s landscape. That includes J.G.’s scheme in Philadelphia. If Gannon left and if Fangio was the hire, this wouldn’t be an outrageous idea to replace him.
Here are possible reasons why the Eagles wouldn’t pursue Vic Fangio.
There are two sides to every coin. Here’s the other side of the Eagles/Fangio equation.
1. Simply put, the Birds like to promote from within.
How often do the Eagles hire outside guys? Sure, it happens. Jim Schwartz comes to mind. So does Frank Reich, but often we see Philly do one of two things. They hire the ‘new guy’ or they promote internally.
Nick rose through the ranks in Frank Reich’s staff (another former Eagles coach). It would seem he’d seek a similar approach now that he’s the guy. Simply put, the Birds don’t typically seek coaches who are retreads. That isn’t to say that it wouldn’t happen, but we’ll believe it when we see it.
2. The Eagles may need to promote Dennard Wilson to avoid losing him.
In the minds of many, the next great Eagles defensive coordinator is already on this staff. Defensive line coach Tracy Rocker is an attractive option. So is linebackers coach Nick Rallis, but beyond the shadow of a doubt, defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson is a star.
Listen to Darius Slay or James Bradberry talk about Wilson, and you notice immediately that the respect is already there. He recently interviewed with the Cleveland Browns for their defensive coordinator job, and in all honesty, Philly probably has to promote him if they don’t want to lose him.