The attrition on the Eagles coaching staff continued Saturday night when the Arizona Cardinals hired Nick Rallis as their new defensive coordinator.
Former Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon was named the Cardinals’ new head coach earlier this week after the Eagles fell to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII.
The connection was obvious and noted on JAKIB Sports’ BIRDS 365 throughout the week that this was a possibility because Gannon and Rallis are very close.
Internally, Rallis, 29, who the Cards made the youngest coordinator in the NFL, was considered a future DC by the Philadelphia brass but the belief was he needed a little more seasoning. He was considered No. 3 on the mythical defensive coaching depth chart at the NovaCare Complex behind Gannon and secondary coach Dennard Wilson.
Rallis is so young he was a college teammate with Arizona TE Maxx Williams at the University of Minnesota. Meanwhile, his older brother Mike was also a LB with the Gophers and is currently a WWE superstar using the name “Madcap” Moss.
After interviewing Rallis, Gannon felt the young mentor who helped T.J. Edwards develop into one of the better off-ball linebackers in the NFL, was ready immediately.
According to NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero, multiple teams tried to lure Rallis away from the Cardinals after the offer was made, indicating that Rallis was out of contract in Philadelphia and free to move for even a lateral job. The DC title and the familiarity with Gannon, however, made that very difficult for others.
Multiple teams tried to lure Nick Rallis in the past few hours after Arizona made its offer. But Gannon and the #Cardinals won out. A fast-rising assistant. https://t.co/6C07ejpYPE
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) February 19, 2023
Rallis, a Minnesota native, got his foot in the NFL coaching door at a very young age when then Vikings coach Mike Zimmer gave him a quality control job which turned into assistant LBs coach. Gannon was also with the Vikings as an asst. secondary coach from 2014-17 but the two didn’t overlap with Rallis arriving in 2018.
That’s where the crux of the relationship started, however, because Rallis was already well-known to the Vikings from his time at the University of Minnesota. When Gannon arrived in Philadelphia for the 2021 season, he recommended Rallis to lead his first room as a positional coach and now two successful years later Rallis is a DC.
Gannon also hired Cleveland Browns QB coach Drew Petzing to be his offensive coordinator on Sunday morning. Those two have a history from their time together with the Vikings as well.
Nick Sirianni joked that Gannon and Shane Steichen, who was hired as the head coach in Indianapolis, couldn’t take anyone off his staff but you can no longer prevent position coaches from taking coordinator jobs even if they are under contract so things like that are more difficult in the modern NFL.
As far as the Eagles’ search for a new DC, Wilson remains the top in-house candidate, while sentiment is growing that Seattle associate head coach Sean Desai may be the top name being looked out outside the building. There was also a report that Philadelphia would like to talk to former Arizona DC Vance Joseph.
Offensively, quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson is expected to be elevated to OC.
With all the coaching movement recently, Eagles head coach Sirianni has explained his thoughts on assistant coaches a lot recently.
“Coaches have to have two things. They have to be able to — position coaches, first and foremost, have to be able to get their players better as players,” Sirianni said. “They have to be able to take them a level here to a higher level that they can’t reach without the coaching of that individual.
“And that happens through fundamentals and being able to explain the plan, being able to explain [things] to make it easier for that player to understand and to execute.”