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Sean Desai Takes the Fall: Philadelphia Eagles Defensive Coordinator Lost Some Duties Before Demotion

Sean Desai Takes the Fall: Philadelphia Eagles Defensive Coordinator Lost Some Duties Before Demotion

  • The Indian American was replaced with senior defensive assistant Matt Patricia starting with the Dec. 18 game against the Seattle Seahawks.

In his first season as the Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator, Sean Desai has received the brunt of the blame for the team’s defensive struggles. Two weeks ago, the Eagles replaced Desai with Matt Patricia — Philadelphia’s senior defensive assistant — ahead of the Dec. 18  crucial game against the Seattle Seahawks. Delaware News Journal called it “a drastic change,” which “certainly doesn’t bode well for Desai’s status as coordinator going forward.”

However, It appears that Desai lost some of his duties before the Dec. 18 demotion. 

It was during the Week 10 bye, that coach Nick Sirianni decided “to strip from Desai responsibility for third-down gameplanning,” Jeff McLane wrote in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Desai’s criticism had been mounting after the Bills racked up 505 yards on Nov. 26, although the Eagles won that game 37-34 in overtime. That was followed by two straight lopsided defeats, 42-19 to San Francisco and the loss to the Cowboys. 

After that defeat, the personal relationship between Desai and head coach Nick Srinani suffered “a setback,” McLane wrote, adding that the two “had a vast difference in terms of running the team.” 

He noted how “Sirianni wanted more collaboration and communication between Desai and his staff, and conveyed to him the “need to be more open to other viewpoints.” However, Patricia and two other assistants were given third-down duties after a blowout loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Dec. 3, according to McLane. Following another major loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Dec. 10, Desai was stripped of his play-calling duties altogether, McLane added. Although the Eagles bounced back in a victory over the embattled New York Giants, they lost to the Arizona Cardinals in the Dec. 31 game. Bleacher Report notes that “Philadelphia’s defense has struggled all season, and if the team doesn’t sort things out ahead of the playoffs, the Eagles could be in for an early exit.”

According to a Dec.18 report in The Athletic, Eagles safety Kevin Byard “approached Desai privately and pitched the defensive coordinator a plan for the defensive backs to put together a scouting report of the Seahawks because of the Eagles’ recent disastrous losses.” However, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports reported Dec. 17 that Desai had lost play-calling duties and that the job was being given to senior defensive assistant Matt Patricia.

Desai was named the Eagles’ defensive coordinator in March. He replaced Jonathan Gannon, who left to become head coach of the Arizona Cardinals. According to the Bleacher Report, he was “a popular target” for defense coordinator in the 2023 hiring cycle. He interviewed with with five different clubs, and “ultimately chose the Eagles,” the report added. 

Before joining the Eagles, he was associate head coach and defensive assistant for the Seattle Seahawks. Before that, he was defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears, “working with the defensive backs/linebackers/special teams,” according to an Eagles press release. He was named Bears’ safeties coach in 2019 and was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2021. He was the first Indian American coordinator in NFL history. This will be his 11th season as a coach in the NFL.

Before joining the Bears, he was the running backs coach/special teams coordinator at Boston College. In the 2012 season, Desai also coached Boston College running back Andre Williams, who went on to win the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s top running back a year later.

Before his time at Boston College, he was the assistant director of football operations at the University of Miami in 2011 after spending five seasons at Temple (2006-10) as a defensive and special teams coach. At Temple, Desai also served as an adjunct professor in 2009 and 2010, teaching in the master’s and doctoral programs in education administration. He earned the nickname “Doc,” because of his doctorate in educational administration, with an emphasis on higher education. In 2011, he joined the University of Miami as the assistant director of football operations.

He received his undergraduate degree in philosophy and political science, with a minor in biology, from Boston University in 2004. Desai earned a master’s degree in higher and postsecondary education from Columbia University in 2005.

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