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Eagles coach Nick Sirianni to bring in Colts' DB coach Jonathan Gannon as coordinator and retain Jeff Stoutland

Eagles coach Nick Sirianni to bring in Colts' DB coach Jonathan Gannon as coordinator and retain Jeff Stoutland

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The Philadelphia Eagles’ coaching staff is beginning to take form.

The team officially announced the hiring of Nick Sirianni as the next head coach Sunday and quickly plucked two Colts assistants for his new staff while retaining an important holdover.

Colts defensive backs coach Jonathan Gannon will be the Eagles’ defensive coordinator, a league source confirmed, and Kevin Patullo is reportedly joining the staff as a passing-game coordinator. The Eagles will also retain offensive line coach and run-game coordinator Jeff Stoutland, a league source confirms.

Stoutland reportedly had the chance to rejoin Nick Saban’s coaching staff at Alabama two weeks ago. The veteran coach spent two years there before joining the Eagles in 2013, but he’s now staying with the Eagles. The Crimson Tide’s offensive line coach job has since been filled by former Jaguars coach Doug Marrone.

The Eagles are lucky to keep Stoutland, who is considered one of the best line coaches in the league. He’s coming off a year in which he kept the team’s offensive line viable even after injuries forced the team to start 14 different combinations up front.

According to ESPN’s pass-block win rate, which measures how often a line keeps a clean pocket for 2.5 seconds, the Eagles’ front was the 11th best at protecting the quarterback in 2020.

Coming in with Chip Kelly eight years ago, Stoutland is now on his third coaching staff and is the first holdover to join Sirianni’s staff.

Considering Sirianni’s offensive focus, Gannon will likely have a good amount of leeway to run the Birds’ defense. He’s spent the last three years as the defensive backs coach for the Colts and was the Minnesota Vikings’ assistant defensive backs coach for four years before that.

Based on the scheme Gannon has most recently coached in, it’s safe to assume the Eagles’ defensive front won’t undergo too many wholesale changes.

Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus runs a 4-3, although the Indianapolis defense puts more value in the linebacker position than the Eagles have in recent years. Indy’s defense is anchored by All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard, along with defensive tackle DeForest Buckner.

On the back end, the Colts have been known to make drastic swings in coverage usage, employing a man-coverage heavy scheme one week and a zone-heavy approach the next. Last season, the Colts’ passing defense ranked seventh in defense-adjusted value over average, Football Outsider’s efficiency metric that takes in quality of opponent and game situation into account.

With Stoutland as the run-game coordinator and Patullo coming in to help with the passing game, Sirianni’s offensive staff is coming together. Patullo was the Colts’ pass game specialist last season after spending the two years prior as the team’s wideouts coach under Sirianni. He’s got experience coaching both wideouts and quarterbacks and spent one season with Texas A&M as a senior offensive assistant in 2017.

The Eagles were also interviewing Chargers offensive coordinator Shane Steichen on Sunday for their offensive coordinator role, according to NFL Network. Steichen would have to be released from his current OC job with Los Angeles to join the Eagles staff, but it’s possible new Chargers head coach Brandon Staley has someone else in mind for the position.

Steichen has been in the Chargers’ organization since 2011 and worked with Sirianni there for five years. He’s got a background coaching quarterbacks and became the team’s interim offensive coordinator in 2019 before getting the job full-time last season. In 2020, the team ranked seventh in passing DVOA and developed rookie quarterback Justin Herbert into a promising starter.

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