TEMPE, Ariz. — Days after losing Super Bowl 57 in Glendale, Arizona, as the Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive coordinator, Jonathan Gannon was roughly 20 miles from State Farm Stadium Thursday for his introductory news conference as the Cardinals head coach.
Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill and general manager Monti Ossenfort joined Gannon as he was formally introduced as the team’s new head coach.
“There are one of 32 of these and they don’t come by very often. Going through the interview process, it was very clear and easy to see that my vision for how to run a team aligned explicitly with Michael’s and Monti’s,” Gannon said. “I’m very excited to get to work.”
The Cardinals hired Gannon on Tuesday after he spent the past two seasons as the Eagles defensive coordinator. In 2022, the Eagles had the NFL’s top pass defense and set a franchise single-season record with 70 sacks in the regular season, the most in a single season since the 1989 Minnesota Vikings. Philadelphia had a franchise record 14 regular-season wins and advanced to Super Bowl 57 before falling 38-35 to the Kansas City Chiefs in the title game.
Can Jonathan Gannon help turn around Cardinals?
The Cardinals opted to hire a defensive-minded head coach in Gannon following the departure of Kliff Kingsbury, who only had one winning season during his four-year stint in Arizona.
One of Gannon’s chief responsibilities as head coach is to help advance the career of quarterback Kyler Murray by hiring the right offensive coordinator. The club is expected to interview multiple candidates in the coming days.
“I have a very specific vision of how I want to play on offense, and the person that comes in here to run the offense is gonna understand that everything we do will be structured around the quarterback position. To maximize his skill set, and we have an elite one,” Gannon said. “We also have some elite players at different positions that are already on the roster that I’m very excited to work with.”
The Cardinals finished in the bottom half of the NFL in most major offensive categories in 2022.
“We’re gonna maximize Kyler’s skill set, we’re gonna be adaptable, we’re gonna generate explosives, we’re gonna protect the football and be situationally smart,” Gannon said.
Murray tore his anterior cruciate ligament in Dec. of 2022 and could miss a portion of next season. Murray is rehabbing this offseason and was in attendance for Gannon’s introductory press conference.
How will Jonathan Gannon alter the Cardinals defense?
Under Gannon, the Eagles ranked No. 2 in total defense and had 78 total sacks in the regular season and postseason, the third most in NFL history. He’s inherited a Cardinals defense that has plenty of upcoming free agents and the unit is coming off a season in which they ranked 31st in points allowed, 26th in turnover differential and 24th in sacks.
“We are gonna use guys’ skill sets to present matchup problems,” Gannon said. “That’s adaptability. When I talk about adaptability, I’m talking about our people in mind first and then who we are playing. It’s a little bit of a chess match with schematics of how you need to do that, all while keeping it simple for your guys so we can go out and play fast and be violent. We’re gonna maximize those guys and use them in ways that give us the best chance to win.”
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Why Cardinals hired Jonathan Gannon
The Cardinals interviewed more than 10 head-coaching candidates during their hiring process before they selected Gannon for the position. Ossenfort addressed Thursday why he believes Gannon is the right man for the job.
“Jonathan’s vision for our organization meshed up well with the vision that we envisioned for the Cardinals organization,” Ossenfort said. “His reputation as a leader, his ability to connect to players, staff to the rest of his coaches. His ability to work with the personnel department and provide a vision to the type of players that we’re gonna go out and seek. It was apparent that Jonathan shared a lot of the same values that I value and Michael (Bidwill) values.”
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Tyler Dragon on Twitter @TheTylerDragon.
Story Credit: usatoday.com