Eagles’ head coach Nick Sirianni spoke to reporters on Wednesday morning, just a day before they take the field against the Buccaneers on a short week, and talked about his messaging to the team, how the coaches started preparing on Sunday night, and what their teaching points are for Jalen Hurts when he runs the ball.
In the event that tight end Dallas Goedert isn’t able to play on Thursday, Sirianni is confident in Zach Ertz and they have Jack Stoll ready to play as well. The head coach also mentioned that they expect to have Derek Barnett back for the game.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On preparing for the reigning Super Bowl Champions
Sirianni said he wasn’t concerned that some of the young players would try and do too much this week as they prepare to face Tom Brady and reigning Super Bowl Champs. The head coach noted that their message from the beginning has been to stay true to who they are as players, and that will be enough.
“I think when you press, when you’re playing – whether it’s a Thursday night game, whether it’s a playoff game, when you press like that, that’s not what you want.
You want to play the same way, every single time. And that’s been our message from the beginning. That’s been our message this week, as well. Just play within yourself, know your role, play within yourself and good things will happen”
On short week prep and schedules
Sirianni noted that while this is his first Thursday night game as a head coach, it’s certainly not his first time preparing for an NFL game on a short week. Just like with developing his coaching philosophy, he’s taken a bit of what he’s done in the past and tweaked things to make it his own. He said he feels really good about the preparation they did this week and the situations they put themselves in throughout the week.
The head coach went on to explain that it all started Sunday night, when he had the coaches over to his house. His kids were already asleep when they landed from Carolina, so he invited the coaches over to start planning a little bit. Sirianni mentioned that the coaches that weren’t calling the game on Sunday had already started planning and had a lot of work done beforehand, so they were able to catch everyone else up.
“It was kind of cool because that first part – definitely that Sunday was cool because it reminded me of coaches coming over to my dad’s house or my parents’ house when I was a kid to game plan on that Saturday after a Friday night win.”
Sirianni said that the Eagles’ video department has done a really good job of setting them up with good at-home equipment, so they had everything they needed. He joked that he didn’t order pizza — although he thinks OC Shane Steichen had some of his son’s left-over Cheez-its — but that’s something he should do next time. They all felt good after the win, so they were just talking through things, had the Chiefs-Bills game on in the background, and it was nice more informal couple of hours.
On Jalen Hurts and zone reads/RPOs
Sirianni was asked about his teaching points for his quarterback when it comes to him keeping the ball and running on certain plays.
“Read every play independently, don’t get caught up on what you’ve seen on tape. We talk about what we’ve seen on tape, but knowing that he’s a different type of player and that teams will play you a little bit differently than what you expect. So, really, read every play independently of whoever you’re reading. Just make sure you go through your read just like you would in a pass play, knowing that things can adjust.
And then, also, I think Jalen has a good sense of this, anyway, of how to get down and how to not take big hits. Where I don’t know if you see that with a lot of quarterbacks – there are a lot of quarterbacks in the league that don’t know how to take that hit on a zone read.
And I think he naturally has good instincts to be able to do that. But that’s always — you know, we don’t want him to — what we would say to a running back or a tight end on the — they catch a ball on the boundary, and they have the ball on the boundary, to put it in that outside arm, keep it away from the defense and use your stiff arm or play pound into them. those are kind of the words that we would use.
And, obviously, we don’t want Jalen doing that. So, taking care of himself, taking care of his body. Because we know that that’s part of our offense and we don’t want him to take big hits on that.”
Sirianni went on to say that teams are always going to change up the way they defend a quarterback like Hurts, with his ability to escape. Sometimes that might mean they pinch the defensive end and scrape the linebacker over the top, and sometimes they are going to take the extra safety and put him down there. They expect to see different looks because of what Hurts is able to do, but they’re prepared for that.