It took a defensive mind to convince the Arizona Cardinals that Jonathan Gannon was the right man to turn around their “elite” franchise quarterback.
Kyler Murray was a central theme to Gannon’s introductory press conference as the new head coach of the Cardinals on Thursday.
That came from Gannon as well as Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill.
Bidwill was asked how he knew he had the right man to lead the Cardinals on Sundays.
“It’s the view he had of our elite quarterback and getting him back to be the playmaker that he is and making sure we build around him,” Bidwill said.
Considering the team signed Murray to a five-year, $230.5 million contract — $103.3 million guaranteed — last July, the new head coach had to believe the Cardinals have an “elite” quarterback.
“Everything that we do will be structured around the quarterback position to maximize his skillset,” Gannon said. “And we have an elite one.”
The Cardinals introduced their new front man, the former defensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles, two days after announcing the hire.
Gannon, 39, interviewed for the job on Monday, one day after the Eagles dropped a 38-35 decision to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Ariz. Gannon said he didn’t know he was interviewing for the job until after the game.
He didn’t fly back to Philadelphia with the team after Eagles general manager Howie Roseman told him he was staying behind for the Monday interview.
One thing Gannon did do Sunday was watch the video of the Eagles’ Super Bowl loss.
“Sunday night, in my hotel room, which was hard. You feel for the players,” Gannon said. “I don’t feel sorry for myself, I feel bad about the players. I’m always trying to learn from experiences that happen right in real time. I feel bad about not being able to get that done but it was an excellent learning experience for me and I know that I learned a lot from that game. Things that I would need to do different to win that game.”
Gannon said he’s not sure if he’ll be the defensive play caller for the Cardinals, saying it’ll depend on his defensive coordinator. But one thing is for sure – he doesn’t like schemes.
“I don’t have a scheme. I don’t believe in a scheme,” Gannon said. “I believe in putting the players that we have in positions to be successful. So, we’re gonna look different week to week, predicated on who we have playing and who we are playing.”
He also credited Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni for giving him the blueprint to be a head coach.
“Nick Sirianni really prepped me to be a head coach, I truly believe that. I told him before I walked out of the building,” Gannon said. “He was extremely hard on me, extremely detailed but he always had my back. He let me in on a lot of things on how he was running the team and the why behind it.”
Gannon replaces Kliff Kingsbury, who was fired by Arizona on Jan. 9. Kingsbury posted a 4-13 record in 2022 and 28-37-1 mark in four seasons as coach of the Cardinals.
Gannon was the architect of an impressive Eagles defense that in 2022 registered a league-high 70 sacks and held opponents to 20.2 points per game.
Gannon’s NFL coaching career began in 2007 with the Atlanta Falcons when he served as defensive quality control coach. He also worked with the then-St. Louis Rams as a scout, Tennessee Titans in defensive quality control, Minnesota Vikings as an assistant defensive backs coach, and the Colts as cornerbacks coach before being hired in Philadelphia in 2021.
–Field Level Media