Passed up for DC, Dennard Wilson, Eagles to part ways

PHILADELPHIA — The Eagles and defensive backs coach/defensive passing game coordinator Dennard Wilson have agreed to part ways, a league source confirmed, after Wilson was passed up for the defensive coordinator position.

Wilson was considered a strong internal candidate for the defensive coordinator post that opened when Jonathan Gannon took the Arizona Cardinals’ head-coaching job, but coach Nick Sirianni instead went outside the organization to fill the role, hiring former Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Sean Desai.

Wilson, 40, served as an assistant coach with the Rams and New York Jets before being hired as defensive backs coach by Philadelphia in 2021. He had the title of defensive passing game coordinator added this past season. His unit finished first in pass defense (179.8 yards per game) and tied for third with 17 interceptions, helping the Eagles to a 14-3 regular-season record and an appearance in Super Bowl LVII.

Key players like cornerback Darius Slay and safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson advocated for Wilson on social media as the Eagles were conducting their interviews for defensive coordinator, saying he deserves the title.

The Eagles had interest in Vic Fangio for the defensive coordinator post, according to a source, but he was committed to the Miami Dolphins by the time Gannon was hired by Arizona. They interviewed a number of candidates for the job, including Wilson and Michigan’s Jesse Minter, before landing on Desai, an associate head coach and defensive assistant for the Seattle Seahawks last year.

“I think we interviewed a really good group of guys and was really impressed by all of them, actually,” Sirianni said. “Just at the end of the day, obviously some experience that Sean has had calling it, but also just I have to do what I feel is best for the team, and I felt like Sean was the best guy for the job.”

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