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Tensions still simmer between Eagles and Cardinals over Jonathan Gannon

The Eagles will host former Philly defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, now head coach of the Cardinals, on Sunday. There is still an undercurrent of tension over how his departure was handled, even though both sides insist there is nothing to do here.

The Cardinals tampered with Gannon, contacting him directly to invite him to interview for the head coaching job at a time when all contact was prohibited. The Eagles weren’t happy about it.

“Obviously all those questions have been asked and answered,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said Tuesday when asked about how Gannon’s departure impacted the relationship between the two men.

Although some questions were asked, most remained unanswered. At least not satisfactorily. The tampering allegation was covered up until literally five minutes before the draft began. While it couldn’t be completely swept under the rug because the resolution involved a swap of draft picks, it was announced in a way that minimized scrutiny.

A new element on ESPN.com take a closer look at the situationadding some new details about the problems caused by Arizona’s tampering with Gannon – and by Gannon’s cover-up from the Eagles.

Gannon said after the Eagles beat the Giants in the divisional round: “Philly is keeping me. Good, bad or indifferent, I stay here.

That statement prevented the Eagles from hiring Vic Fangio to succeed Gannon, according to the report. The Eagles first learned the Friday before the Super Bowl that Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort would submit an interview request for Gannon after the Super Bowl. If the Eagles knew Gannon planned to interview for the job, they could have tried to keep Fangio, who verbally accepted the defensive coordinator job in Miami.

The Eagles, according to ESPN.com, tried to convince Fangio to stay in Philadelphia once they became aware of Gannon’s potential departure. According to the report, “word was already circulating in NFL circles that Gannon and the Cardinals had made more progress than anyone had let on.”

Gannon denied in comments to ESPN.com that any progress had been made in getting the Arizona job, calling it “100 percent false.” Gannon also downplayed the extent of the forbidden conversations with the Cardinals.

“(Ossenfort) didn’t say, ‘It’s a done deal,'” Gannon told ESPN.com. “I really, honestly, kind of put that out of my mind.”

This seems exaggerated to say the least. Gannon interviewed for the Cardinals job the day after the Super Bowl. Did he show up to the biggest meeting of his coaching career unprepared, attacking the Cardinals? Or did he spend time when he should have been preparing for the Super Bowl preparing his presentation, lining up his potential team, and doing the other things coaching candidates do when preparing for an interview for one of the 32 most coveted jobs of all. soccer?

Common sense suggests that Gannon did more than put this aside. Common sense suggests that all the time he spent preparing for the Arizona interview could have been spent addressing the flaws in Philadelphia’s defense (like, for example, adjusting to a receiver who gets moving and turns suddenly before catching a walk-off touchdown). , twice).

That’s why some believe the hiring process shouldn’t even begin until after the Super Bowl. Every assistant coach wants to be a head coach. When opportunity pops up on an assistant coach’s radar screen, of course it becomes a distraction.

In this case, the possibility of becoming a head coach secretly and incorrectly landed on Gannon’s radar screen. He hid the information from the Eagles. And either he only started preparing for his interview in the wee hours of the night before the interview, or he actually spent time preparing for the interview when that time could have been spent doing more to prepare the Eagles defense for the interview. Super Bowl.

Although Eagles general manager Howie Roseman answered my questions on the matter by calling me a conspiracy theoristit’s not a conspiracy to recognize that Arizona’s tampering diluted Gannon’s time, divided his priorities and ultimately undermined the performance of the Eagles’ defense in the Super Bowl.

Which may be why the league worked so hard to downplay the situation. If all questions were asked and all questions were answered, we would know how Gannon divided his time and attention between doing his current job to the best of his ability and landing the job he had held his entire life. We would know how many hours were spent talking to potential staff members and writing notes for his meeting with the Cardinals and maybe even rehearsing his presentation.

If the whole truth came out, the final conclusion might be that Arizona’s tampering prevented the Eagles from performing at their best during the Super Bowl. That’s something the league certainly doesn’t want anyone to realize — especially not those who bet millions on the Eagles winning.

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