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How new Eagles defensive coordinator Sean Desai is challenging his young players


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How new Eagles defensive coordinator Sean Desai is challenging his young players

By Reuben Frank, Eagles Insider  Published July 29, 2023


Sean Desai wants to make this as challenging as possible.

He wants to overload guys’ circuits. He wants them to feel a little overwhelmed. He wants to throw everything at them and see how much they can handle.

Desai came out guns a-blazing in his first week as Eagles defensive coordinator, but there is a method to his madness.

"We're throwing a lot at them right now, and I kind of told them that,” he said. "I said it's kind of intentional from my perspective to challenge them a little bit and put a little pressure on them and then things will ease up. 

"I believe in teaching on the field and learning that way and having guys learn through some mistakes.”

One school of thought is to bring young players along slowly. Give them a few pages of the playbook at a time, let them master that part of the defense, then give them a few more pages until they’ve picked up the whole scheme.

Desai doesn’t believe in taking things slowly.

 "I guess that's part of the art of coaching,” he said Friday. "In this role, that's part of the art. I think my philosophy is at least I'm open and honest with them from the beginning. They know what the expectation is, and they trust (the coaches), and they'll see over time that we're going to take care of them mentally, too, with the strain. 

"The schedule helps them with the process that we do and how we install and the time that we have to walk through things and kind of talk through things, the meeting time that we have. I think they understand that, and I think they're going to really embrace it, and they are really embracing it. I'm really happy that they're doing that.”

One thing Desai has done is start out some of the young guys with the backups to reduce the pressure on them.

Kelee Ringo and Sydney Brown are working with the third defense and Jalen Carter with the second group, which gives the a chance to apply what they’ve learned without being out there feeling overwhelmed with the 1’s.

And the Eagles’ training camp schedule that Desai mentioned really gives young guys the opportunity to catch up if they find themselves falling behind on the field.

The first eight days of camp include just four short practices before the first back-to-back practice days next Thursday and Friday. The rest of the time they’re in meetings and film study.

This sort of mental work can help young guys handle the mental strain of "throwing a lot at them.”

Then again, Desai said as tough as he feels like he’s been, his players don’t necessarily agree. Which is a good sign.

"For me, I thought it was a lot, but a lot of the guys came back and told me it wasn't a lot, so I don't know,” Desai said with a laugh.

"So maybe it's just my perspective. But it's just when you install schemes, there's different philosophies and how you do it. You can segment and do two things a day or four things, so it's just the volume.”


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