One win is behind us and in our rearview mirror. If everything goes according to plan, Nick Sirianni and the Philadelphia Eagles will put the stamp on two more postseason victories and seal the deal. When and if that happens, Coach Sirianni won’t have to worry about his place in Philly sports history again. Sure, he’ll be criticized when he deserves it. He’ll see his decisions second-guessed, but once his days on the sideline are over, he’ll never have to buy a beer or a meal in the City of Brotherly Love again. That brings us to Jonathan Gannon.
There’s a good chance that, when the Eagles season is over (hopefully, that will be February 12th), J.G. will move on and take over head-coaching duties with his own team. How he will be remembered is in question.
For two full regular seasons (and two playoff games), Gannon has felt the fire from much of the Eagles fan base and from Angelo Cataldi, the host of 94 WIP-FM’s Morning Show. Sure, he’s been deserving at times. This season, however, more often than not, he hasn’t. Sirianni has had enough.
Following the Eagles’ victory over New York Giants in the Divisional Round, Coach spoke with the media, stating the following.
"Sometimes, I have to hear some things about Jonathan Gannon and I don’t know if it’s you guys. It might be more (from) other people. I won’t say names -Angelo- but this guy is an unbelievable coordinator. The fact that he doesn’t get respect from our radio station blows my mind… This guy is an incredible coordinator. People love to play for this guy… He’s going to be a head football coach in the National Football League… This guy’s a stud. I can’t wait to talk to Angelo on Monday."
That was the appetizer. The main course came on Monday morning.
Here are a few of the heatseekers that Nick Sirianni threw at Angelo Cataldi on Monday.
As is customary, Nick Sirianni called into 94 WIP-FM’s Angelo Cataldi and the Morning Team Show on Monday. It didn’t take long before he and Cataldi had their discussion about Gannon. As expected, Nick was true to his word. He went to war for his defensive coordinator.
"At the end of the day, I’m going to stick up for my brother. I grew up in a tight Italian family. All I know is to stick up for my family members. That’s what I was doing. I actually have some stats…"
Nick spent the next few moments doing what we did here at Inside The Iggles almost two months ago. He brilliantly debunked all of those erroneous theories we keep hearing about Gannon’s ineptitude.
"(Gannon’s defensive unit is) first in pressure rate, first in yards per play, first in passing defense, first in yards per pass attempt, first in tackles for loss, first in opponent negative plays, second in total defense, third in games allowing 17 or fewer points, third in opponent passer rating, third in quarterback hits, fourth in takeaways, fourth in interceptions, seventh in explosive plays allowed, seventh in forced fumbles, eight in defensive points per game allowed. I just wanted to roll out those 16 important stats there on Jonathan Gannon’s defense."
Here’s what we’ll add that Coach didn’t. We’re aware that some of you are of the Buddy Ryan, Jim Johnson, and Bud Carson mindset, that blitzing is the most favorable route to defensive success. We get it. We all love a good blitz, but if J.G. were to send pressure as much as some of you would like him to, here’s what you need to understand. Many of those above numbers plummet.
You can’t have it both ways. You can’t throw a party when James Bradberry picks off a pass and complain about the zone. You can’t talk about all of those sacks and state what Gannon is doing isn’t working.
Truthfully, Coach could have dropped the mic and walked off there, but he had much more to say. Give this one a full listen when you have a moment, but chew on this for a second.
Following the 2021 and 2022 NFL seasons, eight different Eagles that play on the defensive side of the ball had earned Pro Bowl nominations under his watch or have been named as alternates. Look at this list: Darius Slay, Javon Hargrave, Josh Sweat, Haason Reddick, James Bradberry, Brandon Graham, and Fletcher Cox.
Reddick and Bradberry were named Second-Team All-Pros this season. 64% of Daniel Jones’ dropbacks during the first half were pressured. Philly gave up seven points after the Giants scored 31 versus the Minnesota Vikings. Who would you rather have, Jonathan Gannon or Ed Donatell?
Let’s make long stories short. J.G. is a good football coach and will be a head coach one day. He’ll probably never be appreciated by Eagles fans to the extent that he should be. Truthfully, that’s unfortunate, but it is what it is.
We’ve long accepted that Philadelphia could win the Super Bowl with a 6-3 final score, and some of this fan base would still complain about Gannon. Maybe J.G. isn’t the problem?
Then again, that’s what guys like Nick Sirianni sign up for when they agree to coach in the City of Brotherly Love. Football is this sports-crazed city’s favorite game, and the Birds will always move the needle. So will Sirianni and Gannon for as long as both are here.