Philadelphia Eagles

Jonathan Gannon: ‘We can't keep looking like that'


The players aren’t the problem. The scheme isn’t the problem. Jonathan Gannon is the problem.

That’s the expert opinion of  … Jonathan Gannon.

“We always first look at the coaches,” Gannon said Tuesday. “I think we're all pissed off about the last two games. We haven't played great on defense. That's evident. And that starts with me and starts with the coaches.”

The Eagles are 1-3, and after a very good start – 23 points allowed against the Falcons and 49ers the first two weeks of the season – the defense has given up 76 points, 851 yards, 360 rushing yards and 58 first downs in losses to the Cowboys and Chiefs.

Yes, they’ve faced two elite offenses. Pat Mahomes and Dak Prescott rank 1st and 6th in passer rating in NFL history. 

Still. They haven’t come close to looking like a capable NFL defense the last two weeks.

And that has to change.

And Gannon said it starts with his ability to gameplan for the opponent and teach that plan to his players.

“I don't have a scheme,” Gannon said. “Our scheme should be to put our 11 guys on the field in the best position possible to succeed. So I have to do a better job of that because right now, it's not showing up. … And just because I like something or the coaches like something, if the players can't execute it or it's not the best thing for them, throw it away, and the last two games, we're continuing to figure that out as we go. 

“And we need to figure it out fast. Because we can't keep looking like that. I know that.”

Gannon can’t say anything about the talent level on defense, but let’s be honest. He doesn’t have a lot to work with.

When the season began, the Eagles believed they had an elite defensive line that would mask deficiencies in the back seven. But with Brandon Graham out for the year, Fletcher Cox unproductive and Derek Barnett making headlines only for his penalties, the d-line has been a disappointment, other than Javon Hargrave.

And the Eagles simply don’t have the talent in the back end to make up for it.

Gannon said he's losing patience. But not with his players.

“My level of patience, it's wearing thin on myself,” he said. “‘Hey, Jonathan, let's get them in better position so we give our team a chance to win the game.’ It's not really toward getting irritated at the players. That's how I'll always roll, that's how the coaches roll. And the patience for me is wearing thin.

“‘Hey, let's get competitive. Let's get in a game.’ Because right now, we haven't been in a game. I know we were in that game, but from a defensive standpoint, like, we got to keep the points down, keep the yards down, get off the field to give our team a chance to win. 

“So where I'm most non-cool, calm, and collected right now is not with the players, it's with myself.”

The Eagles face another good offense Sunday in Charlotte. The Panthers are ranked 13th in both yards and points, 8th in passing, 16th in rushing and 1st in time of possession.

But Sam Darnold isn’t Prescott or Mahomes. If this defense sputters again, the concern level will only continue to rise.

Along with Gannon’s lack of patience in himself. And everybody else's lack of patience in him.

“What we develop as a coaching staff and with the players, this is what we need to get done to win the game, that's what I'm concerned with,” he said. “And my level of patience is going down because we haven't done that for two weeks."

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