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Desai and Duffy


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Desai and Duffy

Posted: June 6th, 2023 | Author: Tommy Lawlor 

The Eagles have had some legendary defensive coaches over the years. New defensive coordinator doesn’t have to be Buddy Ryan or Jim Johnson, but the team needs him to be better than his predecessor if they’re going to win a title. There is naturally a lot of intrigue with a coach we just don’t know a ton about. Desai has had one press conference so far. Luckily, Desai was on Fran Duffy’s podcast and we got a half-hour of football talk from them.

I’m a little disappointed in Fran. We didn’t find out who the third string MLB is. There was no discussion of how Desai is going to use Nolan Smith. Fran didn’t even ask him for lengthy breakdowns of the players based on a couple of practices. There wasn’t one second of talk about which of the young defenders will end up in Canton!

Joking aside, it was a good listen. Fran made it a conversation about football and Desai’s background. It was just a couple of guys swapping football stories and talking a lot about Temple, where they both worked.

If you don’t have time to listen, Chris McPherson wrote up a piece on the discussion, giving his 5 key takeaways.

1. Desai explains his vision for the identity of the Eagles’ defense.

"We want to be able to run, hit, impose our will, play smart, and play a winning brand of football. I think that’s the essence of how we want to play defensive football here,” Desai said.

"The scheme is the scheme and there’s a lot of ways to play our scheme and do some things differently and we have some flexibility and the ability to adapt to some different situations. But at the end of the day, if we don’t do those things, the scheme doesn’t really matter because you better be able to run, hit, impose your will on your opponent, and play smart football so you can win.”

Desai has been reluctant to really talk much about his scheme so far. Part of that is being a coach and being secretive. I think Desai is also trying to make a point that there is no magical scheme. This one is good, that one is bad. You choose a scheme you believe in, but it has to fit your players. It is then up to you to teach it and get the most out of your personnel.

That’s all logical.

My only frustration with this is that Desai talks about how he wants his guys to play and tries to focus on that. Fair enough, but his description of defense fits all 32 teams in the league and every team in organized football. That’s as simple and generalized as you can get.

I assume Nick Sirianni has told Desai there are 2 primary goals: come up with takeaways and limit explosive plays. Those were the goals under Jonathan Gannon, because those are Sirianni’s goals. Desai would be wise to talk about something like that, to give us a better sense of what he’s trying to accomplish. Saying "fast, physical, smart” isn’t going to cut it when you coach the Eagles. The fans are smart and there is too much media content out there. You’ve got to open up a bit.

I did like Desai talking about how he’s got to have answers for his players. Gannon did a good job as the Eagles DC, unless he faced a top QB. He just didn’t have the answers for how to deal with them. That’s where Desai can prove his value. Beating Kirk Cousins is nice, but what are you going to do against Dak Prescott or Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes?

This is where Desai’s time with a lot of good coaches can be a difference maker. He saw first hand how Vic Fangio put together gameplans for star QBs. He saw the adjustments that were made.

Desai will be an easy guy to pull for. He told Fran about how he broke into the business and worked his way up the coaching ladder from the very bottom. Desai becoming an NFL DC seemed about as likely as me and Kate Middleton going to a Slipknot concert together. But somehow he pulled that off. Maybe I should go ahead and buy those tickets.

I’m excited to see what Desai can do with this defense. He’s got some really good players to work with. He’s taking over a unit that is coming off a great season. Desai also has the benefit of an explosive offense on his side. That’s something he never had in Chicago.

Sirianni has put Desai in position to succeed. Let’s see what he can do.


Art Donovan was a DT for the great Colts teams of the 50’s and 60’s. He is a great story-teller and one of the biggest personalities in NFL history.

If you’re young and don’t know him, do yourself a favor and go watch YouTube clips. He’ll entertain you for hours.



No surprises, but good stuff on the young guys looking to break out this year.


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