time2rock Posted May 22, 2021 Share Posted May 22, 2021 Eagles’ Jonathan Gannon talks inexperienced secondary, Eric Wilson, Milton Williams, more | 6 takeaways Posted May 21, 6:30 AM Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon speaks with the media on May 20, 2021 (5/20/21). By Mike Kaye | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com After a four-month wait, Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon finally addressed the media for the first time on Thursday. The first-time play-caller, who prefers to be called Jonathan or "JG,” spoke for nearly 30 minutes, as he broke down his thoughts on his defensive scheme (or lack thereof), the depth chart and some individual players. While Gannon didn’t offer a lot of clues about his playbook, he did share quite a few nuggets about his overall philosophy. Here are six takeaways from Gannon’s first press conference: Predicting the Eagles’ defensive scheme is a fool’s errand Gannon said he doesn’t have a defensive scheme, which is somewhat refreshing to hear. The 38-year-old coordinator has coached under several notable names, and he has been able to take recipes from each kitchen that he’s cooked in. Gannon’s two biggest influences are Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer and Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus. Those two coaches have different overarching philosophies and systems. That’s why Gannon is going with an organic approach to building his scheme. He wants to see what his players do well and then capitalize on those strengths. It sounds like a pretty simplistic idea, but it’s a smart process when you consider how many coordinators try to fit round pegs into square holes these days. The Eagles’ new staff is focused on development and fundamentals, so designing the playbook around the players’ strengths is the right move. There’s nothing worse than putting a player in a position to fail, so taking the approach of finding out how that player can succeed is not only beneficial to the player but the coordinator as well. Expect the defensive line "platoon” rotation to stay in place Gannon said he learned about the benefit of defensive line rotations from Eberflus in Indianapolis. Gannon wants to spread out the snap count appropriately upfront, keeping the linemen fresh to rush the passer late in the game. Eberflus would say, "Get the horses fresh,” according to Gannon. The Eagles used a heavy rotation under former defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. Gannon is likely to continue that operation with defensive line coach Tracy Rocker putting together the mix. Rocker will have plenty to work with, as Brandon Graham, Javon Hargrave, Fletcher Cox, Josh Sweat, Derek Barnett, Milton Williams and Ryan Kerrigan give the Eagles a lot of options to mix and match personnel. Pre-snap attack could be fun Gannon said he is a believer in pressuring the quarterback before the ball is snapped. That likely means that Gannon will disguise blitzes and coverage regularly. He could also decide to show a heavy blitz pre-snap and then force the QB to throw into crowded coverage. Gannon seems to have a creative streak to him, so mixing things up before the snap is likely in his wheelhouse. The Eagles’ defensive front produced a ton of pressure last year, so adding some creativity to the mix could make things even more interesting. Gannon likes the secondary’s lack of experience, actually ... The Eagles’ inexperienced secondary has been critiqued throughout the offseason, but Gannon claims he is a fan of the group. While Anthony Harris, Darius Slay and Rodney McLeod are the only proven assets in the defensive backfield, Gannon embraces the young depth behind them, mainly because they are still moldable. With young players like Craig James, Avonte Maddox, Michael Jacquet, K’Von Wallace, Marcus Epps and Zech McPhearson, the Eagles’ staff can adjust their development. Those young players haven’t developed longstanding habits and aren’t stuck in their ways like NFL veterans. If Dennard Wilson and D.K. McDonald, the Eagles’ secondary coaches, can reach a few of those young guys, the Eagles will have some long-term talent to develop. Gannon believes in Wilson and McDonald and the upside of the unproven depth in the secondary. Eric Wilson will be a central player on defense While Gannon remained tight-lipped on his scheme, he did go out of his way to claim that Wilson will be a starter on defense. Wilson signed with the Eagles after spending four years with Gannon’s mentor, Zimmer, in Minnesota. Gannon and Wilson were together in 2017 before the coach got hired by the Colts. Gannon said that Wilson will play weak-side and middle linebacker. Wilson already knows the terminology that Gannon is likely to use, so using him as the defensive signal-caller would make sense. Wilson is likely to wear the green dot on his helmet and be a three-down player. Gannon really wanted Milton Williams The Eagles sparked controversy during Day 2 of the draft when Tom Donahoe, the team’s senior director of player personnel, looked miffed after Williams’ pick in the third round. The day after that footage leaked on ESPN, the Eagles released a video of Gannon celebrating after the Williams pick. Gannon admitted that he was thrilled about the pick because of Williams’ motor and football character. The defensive coordinator said he loves Williams’ intelligence and intensity. https://www.nj.com/eagles/2021/05/eagles-jonathan-gannon-talks-inexperienced-secondary-eric-wilson-milton-williams-more-6-takeaways.html 1 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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