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Eagles defensive passing game coordinator Dennard Wilson interviews for defensive coordinator job

Dennard Wilson believes he’s ready to take the next step in his career and become a defensive coordinator.

He tried to prove that to the Browns on Saturday, interviewing for the open coordinator position.

Wilson, 40, is in his first year as the Eagles’ passing game coordinator/defensive backs coach. The Eagles are the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs and have a bye this week.

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Wilson joined the Eagles as defensive backs coach in 2021 and added the passing game coordinator title this season. The Eagles (14-3) are eighth in points allowed (20.2), first against the pass (179.8 yards), 10th in passing touchdowns allowed (22), tied for fourth in interceptions (17) and first with 70 sacks, 15 more than second-place Kansas City.

Wilson’s the third candidate to interview with the Browns, following Titans senior defensive assistant Jim Schwartz on Wednesday and Steelers senior defensive assistant Brian Flores on Thursday. The Browns also plan to interview Seahawks associate head coach/defense Sean Desai. The Seahawks play the 49ers on Saturday in the wild card round.

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Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo turned down the Browns’ request for an interview, according to multiple reports out of Boston. The news was expected after the Patriots announced Thursday they had begun contract extension discussions with Mayo that would “keep him with the team long-term.”

The Cardinals requested permission Friday to interview Flores for their head coaching job, according to NFL Network.

The Eagles could also end up with an opening at coordinator. Jonathan Gannon, a St. Ignatius graduate, interviewed with the Texans on Saturday for their head coaching job. He interviewed last offseason for head coaching jobs with the Texans, Broncos and Vikings.

Wilson would likely be a top candidate to replace Gannon if he left the Eagles.

“Look, I’ve been doing this for a long time and I’ve been around some great defensive coordinators in my opinion,” Wilson said in the summer, per NBC Sports Philadelphia. “I’ve been groomed by Gregg Williams, I’ve been groomed by Todd Bowles, who are very good in this league and are very thorough. So I’ve been tutored by them.

“I know how to run a ship, I know the responsibilities. If the opportunity presents itself, I’ll be more than ready for it. But I’m here where my feet are and I’m just trying to be the best defensive back coach I can be.”

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Wilson has been in the NFL for 15 years, the first four as a pro scout with the Bears. He transitioned to coaching with the Rams in 2012, spending the first three years as a defensive quality control coach and the next two as defensive backs coach. Three of the seasons were under coordinator Williams, who went on to become coordinator for the Browns in 2017 and ’18 and interim coach in ’18 after Hue Jackon was fired at midseason.

Wilson moved to the Jets, coaching the secondary for four years and adding pass game coordinator duties in 2019-20. He helped develop safety Jamal Adams, who was an All-Pro in 2018 and ’19.

Wilson played defensive back at the University of Maryland and was an all-ACC selection.

Cornerback Darius Slay, a five-time Pro Bowler, gave Wilson a strong endorsement.

“I’m not gonna sit here and play around,” Slay told SI.com. “Dennard, he been a great coach, man. He helped me elevate my game to a whole other level.

“Him being in the league 15 years (I’m surprised) he ain’t been a DC yet because the way that he can game-plan, the way he’s smart because everything he’s been telling me, him, (Gannon), and the whole staff, it’s been true on the field every time.”

The Browns got an up-close look at Wilson in August. The Browns hosted the Eagles for a pair of joint practices and a preseason game. Coach Kevin Stefanski fired coordinator Joe Woods after the season ended Sunday with a loss to the Steelers.

Browns writer for The Chronicle-Telegram and The Medina Gazette. Proud graduate of Northwestern University. Husband and stepdad. Avid golfer who needs to hit the range to get down to a single-digit handicap. Right about Johnny Manziel, wrong about Brandon Weeden. Contact Scott at 440-329-7253, or email and follow him on and Twitter.

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