There’s a decent chance you never really heard of him prior to this week. And even if you had, you probably didn’t know all that much about him.
So, let’s rectify that with some insight from those who know Sirianni best. I reached out to Chris Blystone of Stampede Blue and he was courteous enough to answer my questions about the former Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator.
1) Do you think the Eagles are making a good decision by hiring Sirianni?
That’s a tough question to answer with any coordinator who has to make the shift to a head coaching job, but on the whole, I believe Sirianni has the makeup of a good head coach. The Colts offensive coaching staff are very collaborative, character-driven, and put emphasis on analytics in their play calling. I expect to see Sirianni carry that to the Eagles and implement a similar style as a head coach.
Sirianni is a high floor option as a head coach. He is a leader, a well-respected person, and a creative mind. He’s spent a lot of time working on close conjunction with Frank Reich on an offensive staff that has been as adaptive as you could hope for, while still putting together solid offensive performances.
2) How much of a role did Sirianni really have in the Colts’ offense when it’s been Frank Reich calling plays? What are some things that have stood out schematically during his time in Indy?
While he may not have been making game day calls, Sirianni was certainly heavily involved in the game planning. In many ways, he has been the Frank Reich to Reich’s Pederson. He has acted as a sounding board for Reich and the guy who has been closest to Reich in his time in Indy.
Additionally, Reich, Sirianni, and former QB coach Marcus Brady who is now the Colts offensive coordinator would sit in on weekly protection meetings and were deeply involved in planning the pass protections for the week. This included the quarterbacks, running backs, and the offensive line all meeting together, and that process is likely one that Sirianni will continue, and is a large part of why the Colts have been so good in pass protection over the past 3 seasons.
The notable areas of excellence in the Colts offense in the time Sirianni has been there, have been in terms of winning matchups with good route combinations and scheme rather than relying on skill players. The Colts haven’t had a great receiver room in the time Reich has been the head coach, and they’ve had to win through play calling as much as with their individual players.
Tight ends and running backs have played a huge part of the Colts passing attack, and likely will for any offense Sirianni is running.
3) There’s a lot of talk about how the Eagles are hiring Sirianni in part to help fix Carson Wentz. Based on how Colts quarterbacks have performed, what level of confidence do you have in Siranni getting the most out of Wentz?
As I mentioned before, Sirianni will likely be a major asset in pass protection. Having a cohesive vision for keep Wentz upright and unhindered while trying to run the offense is the first step to unlocking his MVP-level potential from prior years. If that player is still in there, that portion of Sirianni’s methods is likely to be a help.
I think that Eagles fans should expect struggles, but I also think Sirianni’s proven himself an able coach who has had to adapt to a ridiculously chaotic quarterback position in his time as an offensive coordinator. He went from Andrew Luck at his prime, to a surprising switch to a backup as the starter in Jacoby Brissett, to an aging Philip Rivers. These players all have wildly different abilities and strengths, but the Colts managed to get good production out of them.
If the Carson Wentz of 2017 is still in there, I think Sirianni will coax him out.
4) Are there any Colts assistant coaches on the rise that you could see him trying to bring to Philly? I know Jonathan Gannon has been rumored.
The Colts coaching staff has been the source of many rumors and speculation this offseason, as they seem to be coveted around the league. I think Gannon makes perhaps the most likely pairing if he were to bring any coaching staff along with him.
Frank Reich has allowed the defense under Matt Eberflus to operate without a ton of his input and interference. I would expect that Sirianni will want to bring in a similarly talented defensive coach with a cohesive philosophy on players. Jonathan Gannon brings unique experience to a roster because he spent time as a scout as well as his defensive background. He has proven to be a capable developer of young talent at cornerback and safety, where the Colts have basically plugged in their rookies immediately and asked them to play major roles on the defense.
5) What, if anything, can you tell us about Sirianni off the field? To what extent does he bring leadership to the table?
Like Frank Reich, Sirianni is a man of faith and high character. He is well-liked and respected in the organization, and while he brings a bit more fire to the practice field than does Reich, he is cut from much the same cloth.
He was a part of a Colts organization that held very emotional player meetings to discuss how the team was feeling in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the subsequent protests. That staff has made it a focus to be about more than just football, and even though there are always going to be business decisions made in this game, they have done their best to create a family kind of environment. I think you’ll see these things carried to the Eagles, and while they’ll undoubtedly have some of Sirianni’s own flair, it would surprise me if that looks dramatically different than what the Colts have had in Frank Reich over the past 3 seasons.