For the second year in a row, Philadelphia Eagles Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon interviewed for the Texans Head Coach job. In 2022, Drew Dougherty of Texans TV spoke with Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia. That duo chatted again about Gannon's leadership style and more.
DD: Dave, we spoke at length a year ago about Gannon after he interviewed for the job. What's different, if anything, about him after one more year running their defense?
ZANGARO: Another year of experience. It matters. I think he was well-positioned last year to be a head coach. But another year being in charge of an entire unit matters and he has more experience. He also went through the process of being a candidate last year. He has an idea of what he wants to do. He has an idea of 'Okay, this is what my what I want my staff to look like,' which is a huge part of being a head coach.
I don't think it gets talked about enough because the head coach alone does not make a good coaching staff. You have to have an idea of how you're going to fill that out. He's thought about this now for over a year. What his staff is going to look like, what the responsibilities are going to look like.
He's a really good leader and he's been criticized quite a bit here in Philly for his scheme. But the results kind of speak for themselves. They're a top defense and at times it's not as aggressive as Eagles fans want. Eagles fans want blitzes every snap and he doesn't do that. It's a lot of zone coverage. Keep it in front of you, but it eliminates explosive plays and it's been impressive to watch. They're a really good unit.
DD: What do you think Texans fans ought to know about Gannon that maybe they wouldn't otherwise?
ZANGARO: High energy. All the time high energy. If he's ever had a bad day he hides it pretty well and that can be infectious. If an entire team is looking at the leader and that guy wavers a little bit, it's trouble. I've noticed incredible consistency from Gannon in that respect. Always upbeat.
If there's something wrong, he's like, 'All right, let's get to the bottom of it. Let's figure it out.' I mentioned this to you last year. There was one moment I thought was such a pivotal moment in his tenure here with (Defensive lineman) Fletcher Cox. They were not seeing eye to eye, and it could have been their downfall as a defense and him in particular. Cox is one of the all-time great players here in Philadelphia. He publicly voiced his displeasure, and Gannon never took the bait publicly. He went behind the scenes, said, 'All right, let's figure this out. Let's figure out how we can come to an understanding after that.' They haven't had any problems. He was able to smooth it over, and that showed leadership. But it showed also that he'll listen to his players, and that's important.
I've talked to a lot of defensive players that tell me he really listens. 'He might not do what we think is best or what we want to do, but we'll take it into consideration.' If (Defensive lineman) Hasson Reddick walks into his office and says, 'Hey, I think I should be used like this,' Gannon might not do it, but he'll listen and he'll consider it and he'll try to incorporate it if he thinks it makes sense. It kind of gives these guys a feeling of ownership over that defense, and that's hard to buy. That buy-in when a guy feels like they're listening to me and they're taking into account what I want to do, it goes a long way. That's been one of the more impressive parts about his time here.
DD: You mentioned a little bit of his fiery side, but is that how you would characterize his leadership style?
ZANGARO: It toggles a little bit. It's funny because he is very loud and he's he's in your face, but he can be laid back, too. I think we see that more on game days. Some coaches know when to push that button and when to kind of back off of it a little bit during the week of practice. That's the time to be loud. That's the time to fire up everyone up because they're going to have it on their own game day. I think that's the time where he sits back and he calls the defense.
He listens to his players and his coaches and they try to fix things on the fly. So I think it's a little bit of both. But there's no doubt that he can command a room. I heard from a lot of different places that he interviewed very well. Not just for the Texans job, but for the three jobs he was up for last year. That was not a surprise at all.