Eagles’ Nick Sirianni explains decision to shake up defensive responsibilities of Matt Patricia, Sean Desai

There won’t be any more coaching changes on the Philadelphia Eagles this year. The one the Eagles did make was by Nick Sirianni.

Sirianni admitted after the Eagles’ 20-17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night that he was the one that made Matt Patricia the defensive play-caller and moved Sean Desai to the coaches box. The move didn’t come from the front office. 

“I made the decision,” Sirianni told reporters after the game, via a team transcript. “I did what i thought I needed to do in the best interest of the football team. I didn’t feel like we were playing well enough or coaching well enough on defense, so I made an adjustment. It was my decision and that’s what I did.”

Patricia is the final decision-maker on defense, even though he doesn’t have the defensive coordinator title. He essentially is the defensive coordinator since he’s basically taking all of Desai’s responsibilities on game day and game preparation. This was a change of course from earlier in the week when Sirianni defended Desai as his defensive coordinator. 

“I made (the decision) sometime in the middle of the week,” Sirianni said. “I don’t exactly remember what day it was. It was a tough decision to be able to do this. Like I said, I did what I thought was in the best interest of the football team.” 

When asked if there would be any other coaching changes, offensively or defensively, Sirianni said no. 

Philadelphia made the change to the defense after two poor performances against the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys, but there were problems prior to those two games. Entering Week 15, the Eagles were 32nd in the NFL in third down defense (54.8%) and red zone defense (78.3%) since Week 8, also allowing a league high 428.2 yards per game and 297.8 passing yards per game. Philadelphia was 31st in the league in points per game allowed (30.0) and had allowed 30-plus points in three consecutive games for the first time since 1967.

“As disappointed as Sean was, he handled himself like a true pro,” Sirianni said. “He has a bright mind and he can help.”

In Patricia’s debut, the Eagles allowed 20 points and 297 yards, but allowed 10 points in the fourth quarter and the Seahawks to go 92 yards down the field in the final two minutes to snatch the victory. The Eagles defense certainly played better under Patricia, but the same mistakes persisted in pressuring the quarterback and tackling. 

Sirianni also said he made the decision and let the players know before the media, citing a competitive disadvantage by letting the word out on the switch. The result for the Eagles still remained the same. 



Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni took responsibility for the decision to make Matt Patricia the defensive play-caller and move Sean Desai to the coaches box. Sirianni stated that he made the decision in the best interest of the team, as he felt the defense was not performing well enough. Patricia, who doesn’t hold the defensive coordinator title but is the final decision-maker on defense, took on Desai’s responsibilities on game day and game preparation. The change was made after the Eagles had struggled defensively in previous games, ranking last in the league in third down defense, red zone defense, and yards allowed per game. Although the defense showed improvement under Patricia, the team still lost to the Seattle Seahawks. Sirianni also confirmed that there would be no other coaching changes on offense or defense.

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