Jonathan Gannon Is Generating Interest Around the NFL
The Denver Broncos were the first team with a coaching vacancy to request an interview with the Eagles' DC.
A theme has emerged when it comes to the Eagles’ organization: The rest of the NFL seems to view it in higher regard than much of its own fan base.
Exhibit No. 1 is defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, who has turned his unit into an overachieving bunch with a style that attempts to limit big plays as much as possible versus the uber-aggressive mentality the city almost demands.
Like he was in the 2021 offseason, when Gannon was in demand as a potential DC, now the 39-year-old coach is on at least one list for a potential head-coaching job with the Denver Broncos.
The Broncos, who moved on from Vic Fangio after three disappointing seasons resulted in a 19-30 cumulative record, requested to interview Gannon on Monday, according to an NFL source.
Despite not even hitting his 40th birthday yet, Gannon has already accumulated 15 years of experience in the league as a scout and assistant coach. Plus, he has a history with Denver general manager George Paton from when the two worked together in Minnesota for four years. Gannon was an assistant defensive backs coach under Mike Zimmer, and Paton was the assistant GM to Rick Spielman.
Gannon is one of nine known candidates the Broncos want to talk with, a group that includes Patriots LBs coach Jerod Mayo, Cowboys DC Dan Quinn, Cowboys OC Kellen Moore, Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy, Packers OC Nathaniel Hackett, Packers QB coach Luke Getsy, Rams OC Kevin O’Connell and Lions DC Aaron Glenn.
9 HC interview slips and counting for the #Broncos:
Eric Bieniemy (#Chiefs)
Jonathan Gannon (#Eagles)
Luke Getsy (#Packers)
Aaron Glenn (#Lions)
Nathaniel Hackett (#Packers)
Jerod Mayo (#Patriots)
Kellen Moore (#Cowboys)
Kevin O'Connell (#Rams)
Dan Quinn (#Cowboys) https://t.co/STF7rtBIv2
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 11, 2022
Typically when teams move on from head coaches, they want to move in a different direction. That means Fangio being a defensive-minded mentor doesn’t bode well for any of the other defense-first candidates this time around, but as Nick Sirianni and Brandon Staley proved during last year’s hiring cycle, if you can get in the room you can win someone over.
Along with Denver, there are currently five other coaching vacancies in the NFL: Miami, Chicago, Minnesota, Jacksonville, and Las Vegas, with the Raiders preparing for the playoffs under interim mentor Rich Bisaccia.
Gannon is also expected to be requested in Minnesota where he remains well-liked, according to an NFL source.
Back in late December, Gannon was asked about potential interviews and how they might be handled.
“Honestly I haven’t really talked to Nick about that,” Gannon told Philly Mag at the time. “In the off-season, we talked about it a little bit but … I appreciate the question but guys, come on now, we’re fighting to get into the dance.”
Since then, the Eagles have punched their ticket to the dance and will play at Tampa Bay, the reigning Super Bowl champions, in Central Florida on Sunday and Gannon will be hyper-focused on Tom Brady and Co.
“I always talk to our players about being where your feet are,” Gannon explained. “What that means is I’m not thinking about the future. I’m not thinking about the past. … So that’s my sole focus with that.”
Gannon’s current boss thinks the DC will make an excellent head coach.
“I think Jonathan would be an awesome head coach,” Sirianni said while weighing if he should add some levity in what can be an awkward situation as coaches have to weigh ambition against loyalty.
“I really wouldn’t want to make a joke right there and be like, ‘He’d be terrible,’” Sirianni smiled, “I really want to keep him here because I think so highly of him. But I think he would be awesome, again, for the same reasons that I hired him to be the defensive coordinator… the same reasons I think he would be a really good head coach.”
John McMullen covers the NFL and the Eagles for Sports Illustrated and JAKIB Media. He’s also the co-host of “Birds 365,” a daily streaming show covering the Eagles and the NFL, and the host of “Extending the Play” on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at [email protected] or follow John on Twitter: @JFMcMullen.
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