Could Vic Fangio be the Key to restoring the Eagles' Defense?

by Marc Narducci | Jan 31, 2024
Could Vic Fangio be the Key to restoring the Eagles' Defense?
 Anybody who saw the Eagles collapse this season understands that the defense needs a major overhaul and the first move made was the hiring of long-time defensive guru Vic Fangio, considered among the best in the business.

Most see this as a home run, although there are some areas of concern that exist with this hire. 

Fangio is technically replacing Sean Desai, who is a disciple of Fangio and brought many of his traits in his one season with the Eagles. 

However, Fangio is really replacing Matt Patricia as play caller. The Eagles, in one of the worst coaching moves, replaced Desai with Patricia as the play-caller after 13 games this season. 

Was Desai that bad?

The Eagles were 10-3 under him, although they were admittedly coming off three straight rough defensive games – a 37-34 OT win over Buffalo, a 42-19 home defeat to San Francisco and a 33-13 loss at Dallas. 

Patricia, one could argue, was worse because he took over and the Eagles played against lesser talent.

In the Eagles first game with Patricia in control, they lost 20-17 at Seattle, allowing a 92-yard drive over the final two minutes against backup quarterback Drew Lock.

The Eagles then won a 33-25 Christmas game over the lowly NY Giants, fell 35-31 at home against the even worse Arizona Cardinals and then finished the regular season with a 27-10 clunker of a loss to the Giants. Finally, the Eagles were outclassed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 32-9 in their first playoff games.

Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said it was his decision to make the change from Desai to Patricia, but there were many who felt that the meddling ownership box may have had its fingerprints on the move.

Either way, it was a panic move that made a bad defense play even worse. The players appeared to be confused under Patricia. (Remember, he was the defensive coordinator when the Eagles lit up the New England Patriots in winning Super Bowl LII, 41-33).

Back to Fangio.

At 65, he likely isn’t using this as a springboard to a head-coaching opportunity. The Eagles need stability since he’s the third DC (fourth if one wants to include Patricia) in the last three years.

From 2019-2021 Fangio had a rather undistinguished head coaching career, going 19-30 with the Denver Broncos.

Then in 2022 he worked for the Eagles as defensive consultant during the preseason and before their appearance in Super Bowl LVII.

He will be coaching a unit with many different players than the one that lost to Kansas City, 38-35 in the Super Bowl.

Fangio has been a defensive coordinator in the NFL for 21 seasons, with Carolina, Indianapolis, Houston, San Francisco, Chicago and last season with the Miami Dolphins.

The Dolphins, who lost to Kansas City, 26-7, in their opening playoff game, were the 10th worst team in most points allowed, 23 per game in the regular season. In Fangio’s defense, Miami suffered a number of crushing injuries on defense. 

After the season, Fangio and the Dolphins mutually agreed to part ways. 

Then came stories about how some of the defensive players might not have gotten along with him. High-profile agent Drew Rosenhaus said on 94 WIP that “there were quite a few players on the team that didn’t necessarily get along with Fangio. It wasn’t a great relationship with many of the players. There were some guys who loved him, but there were definitely a few who didn’t. It definitely wasn’t a unanimous, positive relationship. “

Fangio is old-school and maybe the young players didn’t like his demanding ways. One could argue that the Eagles could use some of that discipline, especially with the way they played on defense last year.

Overall, the positives of Fangio outweigh the negatives. 

One thing is for sure, the Eagles need to get a lot better players on defense. No coach would be able to work wonders with this year’s unit, but Fangio appears to be a step in the right direction. 

Photo Courtesy of Philadelphia Eagles' X

 

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Author: Marc Narducci

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