After a multi month search, the Arizona Cardinals have finally inked the deal of their new head coach. They went with Jonathan Gannon, who served as the defensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles last season. There were many avenues that the Cardinals could have gone with this coaching decision. Early on in their search, it appeared that they would look for a more experienced option for the role. However, it is clear that they are sold on Gannon’s potential and are confident in where he can lead this team. This will be a very uphill battle for him, however, he has a bit of security already. The contract ties him with the team for the next five seasons, but as we saw last season, Arizona is not above firing a coach one year into their deal. It will be crucial that the team sees some form of success early on in the season. If things start off on the wrong foot for Gannon in Arizona, his relationship with Kyler Murray could sour quickly. As we saw last season, this could end a coach’s time with the team prematurely.
Gannon’s Coaching History
Gannon began his coaching career in 2003 as a student assistant at the University of Louisville. Once he graduated, he joined Louisville’s coaching staff for one season as a graduate assistant before he followed then head coach of Louisville Bobby Petrino to the NFL. Gannon’s first NFL job was on Petrino’s Atlanta Falcons’ staff as the defensive quality control coach. In 2009, he would transition into a scout for the St. Louis Rams until 2011. In 2012, he made his return to the field as a coach and was a member of the Tennessee Titans as a defensive quality control coach. In 2014, Gannon would bounce to the Minnesota Vikings as an assistant defensive backs coach along with the team’s defensive quality control coach. In 2018, Gannon would leave the Vikings and join the Indianapolis Colts as the team’s defensive backs and cornerbacks coach until 2020. In 2021, Gannon would make a big step up in his career and sign a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles that gave him his first coordinator position. As Philadelphia’s defensive coordinator, the Eagles’ defensive unit performed as one of the best in the league. They were a big part of the team’s dominant run to the Super Bowl.
What His Coaching Philosophy Brings to the Arizona Cardinals
Gannon has spent his entire coaching career in a defensive focus. This is a very interesting fit as the Cardinals have built their roster around quarterback Kyler Murray. However, last season, he was amongst the best defensive coordinators in the league, and if he is able to elevate Arizona’s defense in 2023, it could make life much easier for Murray and the offense. With the team already losing J.J. Watt to retirement, and potentially losing some more vets over the offseason, it could be a couple of seasons before Gannon truly gets his footing in this position.