Who is Jonathan Gannon? Second interview with Houston Texans on tap

Get to know Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, who now has a second interview with the Houston Texans.

Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator and head coach candidate Jonathan Gannon “knocked it out of the park” in his interviews with the Houston Texans, Denver Broncos, and Minnesota Vikings last week, a league source told Pro Football Network NFL Insider Aaron Wilson.

And now, sources tell Wilson that Gannon is in Houston today, one day after the Texans interviewed Josh McCown, who is considered a strong contender for the job.

Get to know NFL head coach candidate Jonathan Gannon

Gannon, 39, met with the Texans on Tuesday (January 18), the Broncos on Wednesday (19), and the Vikings on Thursday (20). The Texans are a team to watch for many reasons, not the least of which being Gannon’s long history with general manager Nick Caserio. Both have Northeast Ohio ties. Gannon is a bright young football mind and an excellent communicator.

Gannon’s football background

An all-state cornerback at Cleveland’s St. Ignatius High School, Gannon got an offer to play for Louisville. Yet, he suffered a career-ending hip injury early in his time there. He remained active with the program, however. Gannon served as a student assistant and ultimately got hired as a grad assistant. In 2007, Bobby Petrino brought Gannon to Atlanta when he got the Falcons job. However, that was a short-lived employment due to Petrino’s decision to quit after just 13 games.

Gannon then spent a few years in the Rams’ front office. He subsequently returned to coaching, this time with the Tennessee Titans. Gannon was later a position coach for the Vikings and Colts, working with Sirianni for three years in Indianapolis before following him to Philadelphia in 2021. Gannon’s biggest NFL influences are former Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer and Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus (who is up for the Bears and Jaguars openings).

How Gannon performed in 2021

Statistically, the Eagles had a solid defense in 2021. It was Gannon’s first year making the defensive calls at any level. They were sixth in yards per carry (4.0), eighth in yards per play (5.2), ninth in rush defense (107.9), and 10th in yards (328.8). However, they were also 17th in EPA per play (0.01), 18th in points (22.6), 23rd in third downs (42.9%), and 29th in red-zone defense (66.7%).

Talent deficiencies at safety and linebacker dragged those numbers down. Personnel forced Gannon to simplify his scheme, playing more of a basic Cover-2 shell. That put a strain on Philadelphia’s pass rush. When the Eagles’ defensive front couldn’t get to the quarterback, their back end was exposed.

What they’re saying about Gannon

“I really believe in Jonathan Gannon, the type of coach he is and the type of person he is. If I didn’t, there would be no way he’d be in this building. I have so much confidence in him and so much faith in him, and I believe in him in the job that he can do as a football coach. I think he’d be a great head football coach in the NFL. I just think he has all the intangibles, all the qualities that I think you need to be a good head football coach. Jonathan has those things. Anything I can do to help him get ready, I will do because he deserves an opportunity.” — Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni

Adam Beasley is the National NFL Analyst and Insider for Pro Football Network. You can read all of Adam’s work here and give him a follow on Twitter @AdamHBeasley.