The NFL draft is top-of-mind to pro football fans this time of the year, but changes in the coaching staffs have also been closely watched. Following their matchup in the Super Bowl, the Chiefs and Eagles have each seen their Offensive Coordinator depart while the Eagles also lost their defensive coordinator.
Both of Philadelphia's coordinators have taken head coaching jobs for 2023 with OC Shane Steichen filling the Indianapolis opening, and DC Jonathan Gannon replacing Kliff Kingsbury at Arizona. In turn, the Eagles promoted QB coach Brian Johnson to OC and snatched Sean Desai from Seattle where he served as a defensive assistant.
The hiring of Desai led to the immediate departure of Philadelphia's defensive pass game coordinator and defensive backs coach, Dennard Wilson, who rightfully felt slighted when he was skipped over for promotion.
Those changes, no doubt, are two of the contributing reasons why Philadelphia ties with Cincinnati and San Francisco with the 3rd-best odds (+900) of returning to the Super Bowl while Kansas City leads the field at +600.
The reigning champion Chiefs had to replace their OC with former Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy, a move that was necessitated by Eric Bieniemy's departure to Washington. Nagy served as QB coach last season and that role now goes to David Gerard who was promoted from passing game analyst and assistant quarterbacks coach.
Steve Spagnuolo remains as DC for Andy Reid.
Philadelphia's hiring of Desai and Kansas City's promotion of Nagy are worthy of some scrutiny.
Desai's only previous experience as a DC came with Chicago in 2021, under Nagy, when they gave up the 11th-most points of all 32 NFL teams. But Desai was a long-time staple on the coaching staff of the Bears, having also served as the defensive quality control coach (2013-2018) and safeties coach from 2019-2020. The man holds an undergraduate degree in philosophy and political science with a minor in biology from Boston University, a master's degree in higher and post-secondary education from Columbia and a doctorate in educational administration from Temple University where he also held the position of adjunct professor for two years.
Nagy was previously the OC at Kansas City in 2016 and 2017, and broke in to the NFL coaching ranks in 2008 with the Eagles. Nagy is also a likely head coach 'in-waiting" with KC should Reid decide to retire anytime soon.
Back in Philly, Johnson is the guy who followed Alex Smith as QB at Utah where he alternated between excellence on the field and getting injured. He was the Sugar Bowl MVP in Utah's 31-17 win over Alabama to wrap up a perfect 2008 season with a 13-0 record. He later became the QB Coach at Utah in 2010 and the OC in 2012 as a 25-year-old.
Let's be honest - becoming the offensive coordinator of either the Eagles or Chiefs is akin to being handed the keys to a Maserati but never getting to drive. You will be in the passenger seat while Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes take the wheel.
None of the new coordinators are tasked with fixing broken wheels. It's more a matter of maintenance.
Philadelphia ranked 1st in scoring offense (34.7) in 2022, and 3rd in scoring defense (17.3 ppg). Kansas City ranked 4th (29.3) and 6th (25.0), respectively, in those categories. But, of course, it was the Chiefs who outscored the Eagles 24-11 after intermission to rally for the 38-35 Super Bowl win.
The coaching changes don't portend to have a negative effect on either club.
Worth keeping an eye on is what happens to CJ Gardner-Johnson in Philly, the 25-year-old stud safety who is now a free agent.
There were a lot of poor performing teams on offense in 2022, and Indianapolis and Denver were among the worst. Thus, it isn't surprising that both teams needed to make changes.
We'll explore those in our next NFL offseason report.