The Philadelphia Eagles have fired defensive coordinator Sean Desai, as CBS Sports Lead NFL Insider Jonathan Jones confirms an NFL Media report. It’s expected to be the first of many sweeping changes on that side of the ball. Desai lasted just one season as the team’s defensive coordinator and 13 games as the defensive play-caller before being replaced by Matt Patricia with a month left in the regular season.
Nick Sirianni was the one who fired Desai, per the Philadelphia Inquirer. Another indication the head coach appears to be returning for next season. Patricia was on a one-year contract and that has run out and he’s exploring other options.
In what was essentially a panic move, Philadelphia made the change to the defense after two poor performances against the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys. In Desai’s last six games as the defensive play-caller, the Eagles were 32nd in the NFL in third-down defense (54.8%) and red zone defense (78.3%) — allowing a league high 428.2 yards per game and 297.8 passing yards per game.
Philadelphia was 31st in the league in points per game allowed (30.0) and allowed 30-plus points in three consecutive games for the first time since 1967 — the last three games Desai called the plays.
The Eagles moved Desai up to the booth in favor of Matt Patricia, but the results weren’t significantly better. Philadelphia was 28th in yards per game allowed (375.8), 26th in rush yards per game allowed (131.0), 24th in pass yards per game allowed (244.8), 26th in yards per play allowed (5.8) and 28th n points per game allowed (27.8) in the five games under Patricia (including postseason).
Desai was essentially a lame duck at defensive coordinator once the Eagles made the switch to Patricia. The Eagles were 30th in points per possession allowed (2.35) and 31st in yards per possession allowed (34.6) this season.
Whether other defensive coaches outside of Desai and Patricia will be retained have not been reported nor announced by the team. Many of the defensive coaches being retained appears unlikely.