It’s impossible for an assistant coach to be fully focused on his current job when he’s actively under consideration for a head-coaching job during the playoffs. In the past, some assistant coaches have tried to explain that it’s a non-issue — even if it isn’t.
On Wednesday, Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, who interviewed with the Texans on Saturday, was asked about the intersection between interviewing for bigger jobs at a time when their current jobs are as big as they can be.
“Yeah, New York Giants,” Gannon said. Which apparently means that, even though he is under consideration (again) for a head-coaching job, Gannon is fully focused on the upcoming playoff game against the Giants.
But is he? How can he be? The 40-year-old has been grinding away as an assistant since 2006, at Louisville then Atlanta (yes, he has ties to Bobby Petrino) and then the Titans (after one year out of football and three years as a scout with the Rams) and then the Vikings followed by the Colts and most recently the Eagles, as defensive coordinator in 2021 and 2022.
This is his time, his opportunity. His football ship is coming in. He can say, “Yeah, New York Giants” but he’s surely thinking, “Yeah! Houston Texans!”
And that’s fine. He’s human. It’s natural. The problem is that the rules create split loyalties by allowing interviews for coaching vacancies before the season has ended. And it’s why no interviews should happen until after the Super Bowl.