The Philadelphia Eagles have their new defensive coordinator, as Sean Desai has been hired by the team to succeed Jonathan Gannon, the team announced on Tuesday. Philadelphia had a second interview with Desai on Monday, as he was in the NovaCare Complex for the meeting. Desai flew from Philadelphia to the NFL combine in Indianapolis on Tuesday where he put pen to paper on the deal.
Desai got the job over Eagles defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson, as they were two of the known finalists. The Eagles also interviewed Vance Joseph and Jim Leonhard for the position, but Joseph took the Denver Broncos' offer to become defensive coordinator while Leonhard removed himself from consideration due to getting hip surgery this year.
The Eagles also interviewed Los Angeles Rams defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator Chris Shula and Michigan State defensive coordinator Jesse Minter for the position. Whether Shula or Minter were finalists was not clear.
Desai, a Temple alum, spent nine seasons with the Chicago Bears before the Seattle Seahawks brought him in as the associate head coach on the defense for defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt. The 39-year-old Desai has one season as defensive coordinator in the NFL, as the 2021 Bears finished 22nd in points per game allowed (23.9), but sixth in yards per game allowed (312.0). The Bears finished third in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game (191.6) and fourth in sacks (49). Robert Quinn broke Chicago's single-season sack record with 18.5 in 2021 and registered at least a half-sack in 14 of 16 games played -- including 12 in the last eight games.
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Desai served as a defensive quality control coach from 2013 to 2018 with the Bears before a promotion to coaching safeties from 2019 to 2020. Chicago had a top-10 defense in passing yards allowed in all three seasons Desai was affiliated with that unit. A Vic Fangio disciple, Desai overlapped with him for four seasons in Chicago.
Desai wasn't the defensive coordinator in Seattle, but played a significant role in the game plan. The Seahawks defense was 13th in passing yards allowed (211.5) despite ranking 25th in points per game allowed (23.6) and 26th in yards per game allowed (361.7) in Desai's lone season in Seattle.
The Eagles' defense finished first in the league in sacks (70) and first in passing yards per game (179.8), so Desai is an ideal fit to what the Eagles ran the past two seasons. The defense will have some wrinkles attached with Desai on board.