Option V: Former Eagles DC Sean Desal
While the Philadelphia Eagles precipitous decline in the latter part of the 2023 NFL season is not an ideal way to bolster a coach's resume, Eagles former DC Sean Desal was removed from his position mid-way in the season, and the plummet really took hold. Desal was under fire on the Eagles coaching staff after a Week 12 OT victory against the Buffalo Bills by the score of 37-34. The Eagles defense then allowed 42 points against a motivated San Francisco 49ers team, and then 33 points against NFC East Division rivals, the Dallas Cowboys.
In those games, the Eagles offense only managed to score 19 and 13 points, respectively.
That was all she wrote for Desal, who was demoted and former Detroit Lions HC Matt Patricia took over the defensive play-calling duties. The Eagles would lose four of the next five games, including a playoff game, as the defense would average surrendering 27.8 points per game under Patricia's watch. It was worse than Desal. Perhaps the problem lie with the offense, as the Eagles managed to score just 18.9 points per game in the last seven games played?
Sean Desal may have been thrown from the horse in Philly, but he has some intriguing attributes to consider for the LA Rams DC role. For starters, he was the Defensive Coordinator for the Chicago Bears in 2021, He learned defensive strategy under legendary DC Vic Fangio, From there, he became the Seattle Seahawks associate HC and defensive assistant for the Seattle Seahawks in 2022. The Eagles plucked Desal from the Seahawks coaching staff to become their new DC in 2023.
While Desal does not have extensive experience as an NFL DC, he does have unique qualities that will difficult to replicate in other candidates. For starters, he is intimately familiar with the Fangio defensive system, one that frustrates offensive coordinators and quarterbacks as it masks coverages. Secondly, he has intimate familiarity with the NFC Western Division, having had a year with the Seattle Seahawks, the year that the Seahawks surprised everyone with a playoff appearance.
What could Rams fans look for from Sean Desal-designed defense? Because he runs a version of the 3-4 base, he will not bring fundamental changes. He will likely use some version of zone coverage, with a two-high safety shell. The secondary coverages will be geared to prevent big plays. Finally, he will lean heavily upon a defensive front that generates QB sacks without blitzing.
Forget what he did or did not accomplish with the Philadelphia Eagles.
His defense pretty much checks the boxes on what fans want to see in the Rams defense in 2024.