There was some slight drama when Jim Schwartz announced he was leaving the Philadelphia Eagles. Was the long-time defensive coordinator forced out? Or did he choose to walk away from a rebuild?
The first report that surfaced claimed Schwartz was contemplating retirement after 28 seasons in the NFL. Well, turns out he wasn’t quite ready to hang up that headset. The Tennessee Titans announced he was joining head coach Mike Vrabel’s staff as a senior defensive assistant. Schwartz spent a decade in Tennessee (1999-2008) in a variety of roles from defensive assistant to linebackers coach to defensive coordinator.
“We are excited to add Jim to our staff,” Vrabel said in a statement, via NFL.com. “He has a deep level of football knowledge and has overseen a great deal of success on the defensive side of the ball, so it always good to add a quality coach to our staff. This role will provide our defensive staff with Jim’s experience and perspective in the staff meetings and on the practice field.”
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 7, 2021
Schwartz joined the Eagles in 2016 and spent five seasons as defensive coordinator. The 54-year-old was one of former coach Doug Pederson’s first hires and remained a trusted adviser up until his departure on Jan. 7. His defense ranked 20th overall in 2020, although injuries decimated the unit all year.
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Jonathan Gannon Takes Reins in Philadelphia
Schwartz’s replacement in Philadelphia is Jonathan Gannon who spent the past three years as secondary coach for the Indianapolis Colts. The 37-year-old Ohio native brings youthful energy — much like head coach Nick Sirianni — and has been known to high-five his defensive players on the field after big plays. Gannon was beloved by his troops in Indianapolis.
“His players love him. His energy is contagious,” Sirianni told reporters on Jan. 29. “He loves football. He loves being around football, loves being on the practice field, loves being in the meeting room. Tireless worker who I truly believe in, his organization skills, to be a very good defensive coordinator in the NFL.”
they are getting one of my favorite coaches of all time. man, what a 3yr run we had. 1ove. 🥲 https://t.co/JXT29pRmbq
— Kenny Moore II (@KennyKennyMoe3) January 23, 2021
Gannon began his coaching career as a student assistant at Louisville in 2003. From there, he spent time as a defensive quality control coach for the Atlanta Falcons and Tennessee Titans before taking over as assistant secondary coach for the Minnesota Vikings in 2014. He also spent time in the St. Louis Rams’ front office as a scout.
Make That Two Ex-Vikings Signed
Gannon worked under Vikings defensive guru Mike Zimmer for three years in Minnesota (2014-17) and by all accounts got the most out of his defensive backs. It’s showing up already in free agency as the Eagles’ new defensive coordinator has succesfully recruited two players — linebacker Eric Wilson, safety Anthony Harris — to Philadelphia.
Jonathan Gannon greeting Eagles new S Anthony Harris at the door as he arrives at NovaCare is a vibe!
— Thomas R. Petersen 🦅 (@thomasrp93) March 23, 2021
Both guys should slide right into starting roles, with Wilson taking over the middle linebacker spot and Harris grabbing the free safety spot. The Eagles are banking on Harris to replace Malcolm Jenkins. He had a league-high six interceptions for the Vikings in 2019.
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