The Eagles have their guy — well, at least, they have a guy. Nick Sirianni will be the new head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles. Sirianni was the offensive coordinator for Frank Reich in Indianapolis for two years before making this jump into the head coaching arena.
He’s someone who doesn’t get me too excited, but does pique my interest. I like Doug Pederson, I like Frank Reich, and I’m sure I’ll like Sirianni, but he’ll have his work cut out for him with just about every part of the organization being super messy this offseason.
There were plenty of reactions to go around following the news, so I asked the BGN crew how they felt about the hire:
Brandon Lee Gowton
This is the third Eagles head coaching search that I’ve covered for BGN. Compared to the previous two hires, it doesn’t feel like people care strongly about this one. Many seem “fine” with Nick Sirianni. They’re at least happy that the Eagles didn’t hire Josh McDaniels.
But justifiable fan indifference speaks to where the Eagles currently stand. A new head coach hardly fixes all that’s wrong with this organization. It’s hard to have renewed hope in this team unless Howie Roseman does a MUCH better job running this team’s personnel department. The presence of a meddling Jeffrey Lurie is also concerning.
Sirianni seems like a reasonable hire based on his offensive background. The 39-year-old profiles as a coach that this team can grow with. I’m skeptical that he’s the guy to magically fix Carson Wentz. And I think he’s actually more similar to Doug Pederson than not, which feels strange.
Perhaps Sirianni will turn out to be great and prove that coaching was a bigger issue with the Eagles than some realized. On the flip side, it’s hardly impossible to envision the Eagles being on their fourth head coaching search since 2013 within a few years.
I guess if the Eagles couldn’t invent a time machine, go back to the off-season after Super Bowl 52, fire Doug Pederson (knowing he’d be fired just three short years later) and give the job to Frank Reich, hiring Reich’s offensive coordinator is probably the next best thing to altering the space time continuum. By all accounts, Sirianni sounds like a competent coach who is appropriately tough with his players but also looks to accentuate what they do well. I prefer a coach that wants to utilize the talent he has to the best of his ability, rather than try to force the players he has into a rigid system. It will be interesting to see how he rounds out the rest of his staff, what kind of defense he prefers, and what style of offense he’ll run. A guy like Eric Bieneimy would have been a more obvious choice, and it’s interesting/intriguing/strange that the Eagles didn’t at least give him an interview, but Sirianni sounds like a decent choice.
We simply don’t know much about the guy. Of course, we didn’t know much about Ray Rhodes either, before he was hired back in 1995, we didn’t know much about Andy Reid before his hiring in 1999, and we were underwhelmed when the Eagles decided to bring on Pederson in 2016. We did know a lot about Chip Kelly and, look how that turned out. Name recognition isn’t everything. And one other important note: Jeff Lurie is good at hiring head coaches. All four of the coaches he has hired during his tenure as owner has taken the franchise to the playoffs (that streak actually extends to 1986 when Norman Braman hired Buddy Ryan and Richie Kotite). Marion Campbell is the last Eagles head coach who failed to take the Birds to the postseason, and his tenure ended in 1985.
Nick Sirianni coming to Philly is reminiscent of the Doug Pederson hire in 2016. They both previously worked under a coach the Eagles were infinitely familiar with and wished was still a part of the organization. Neither had been a head coach previously nor even had true play-calling experience. They feel a tad vanilla and look like even-tempered guys overall who will play well in the locker room and not interfere with the Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman power structure.
He’s not Josh McDaniels and that’s a win in my book. Bringing the aggressive tendencies Reich had in Philadelphia and then Indianapolis will be welcomed in terms of going for it on fourth down and passing frequently on early downs. He’s certainly here to be a spiritual successor to Reich and “fix” Carson Wentz. I’m not in favor of hiring a coach for the single purpose of helping a floundering quarterback, preferring the best person for the job overall, but they certainly could’ve done worse here. For all my negativity surrounding the franchise, I’ll bring some positive vibes when it comes to Sirianni this offseason. He deserves a shot.
The Eagles have Doug Pederson’d Doug Pederson, himself. Just as they let Andy Reid go, potentially regretted it, and hired his OC to make up for the mistake just a few years ago, it seems they’ve realized their mistake in letting Frank Reich walk, potentially regretted it, and hired his OC to make up for the mistake. Last time they did this, both the coach they brought in (Pederson) and the coach they let walk (Reid) won a Super Bowl shortly there after, so here’s to hoping they’re able to repeat such a feat.
There is a lot to like about this guy, Sirianni, though. He offers a valuable combination of youth and experience, and he’s been a part of some very exciting offenses on some decent teams. Overall, I think he’s more qualified for the job than Doug Pederson was, so I’m excited to see what he can do with Wentz, Hurts, and our yearly disappointment of a receiving corps. The Eagles have been bouncing around coaches since Reid, and although they’ve managed to win a Super Bowl doing so, they really need to cut that bad habit before the Eagles and the Browns trade places. Sirianni fits the profile of a long term hire that can grow with the Eagles, and he has no bias or tie to either Carson Wentz or Jalen Hurts, which will make the QB competition interesting this spring.
I’m fine with the hire. I believe the Eagles’ process in landing him was problematic, but that’s a different conversation. Coming from a system where he worked with Reich, a lot of the concepts should be easier to install for the quarterback and offensive line. The offense will likely be easier for the wide receivers, however that room shakes out as the offense in Indy schemed to get them YAC opportunities.
He appears to have a history of player development with Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams, TY Hilton, Johnathan Taylor, etc. succeeding under him. Most importantly though, the Eagles likely get someone who comes from the Pederson/Reich line of thinking where you coach aggressively to win the game. That includes going for it on fourth down when you should instead of punting. There’s a chart on the Bleeding Green Nation Twitter account that shows they were the second most aggressive team when it came to going for it when they should. Overall, I believe it’s a safe hire but the fact that he emerged as a candidate while others turned the job down says more about the state of the organization and what he’s walking into.
I’m unimpressed. Not by Nick Sirianni, I’m neither unimpressed or impressed by him.
What I’m unimpressed by is the process that led to this result. The coaching search was a mess before it started. They weren’t going to fire Pederson, then they did after the rest of the league had a week long head start in a race that only lasts a few weeks. Most of the hot coordinators mostly got hired elsewhere, which is fine those guys usually don’t work out. But to start the week it felt like they were on the verge of hiring McDaniels, which the most positive thing you can say about that is that he would have been great for content. To be honest, I kind of wanted them to hire him. An ugly power struggle that results in an awful, broken organization is probably what it will take for Jeffrey Lurie to realize he needed to completely clean house. Instead, Lurie got cold feet.
But he had to hire someone, so he winds up with Nick Sirianni, who feels like a compromise between Lurie and Howie Roseman. It feels a little like an admission that they screwed up in firing Pederson. And it definitely feels like Lurie has no new ideas. He went to the Andy Reid tree to get Doug Pederson, and now he’s going to Pederson’s tree to get Sirianni.
Nick Sirianni, he’s not the guy they wanted, he may not be be the guy they need, but he’s the guy they got. We’ll do this again in a few years.
In the wake of Doug Pederson being fired, we all wondered how Doug got ousted and Howie remained to pick a third head coach and manage the front office of a fourth. Nick Sirianni’s hiring confirms, in my mind, that it was that Doug Pederson got too big for his britches and Howie pulled rank to get him fired. Sirianni, dynamically, doesn’t feel so different from Doug. Which isn’t a bad thing on its own. He seems like a personable guy with experience game planning and working closely with quarterbacks and wide receivers. It all makes sense on that front.
The problem is that if the Eagles are looking for someone who is going to be deferential, they’re trapped. If Sirianni ends up being a good coach (which is very possible), the Eagles are barreling towards another power struggle between him and Howie Roseman. Ultimately, it’s hard to be optimistic when a clash with Howie Roseman just feels inevitable.