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Nick Sirianni talks Lane Johnson’s return, importance of mental health

Plus, the Eagles’ head coach described some of their self-scouting process and why watching other games on Sunday was valuable.

Eagles’ head coach Nick Sirianni was back to work on Wednesday and spoke to reporters ahead of practice. He talked about Lane Johnson returning to the team and the importance of mental health, as well as what he learned from the self-scouting process earlier in the week and why being able to watch other games on Sunday was valuable.

Here’s what the head coach had to say:


On Lane Johnson and mental health

Sirianni noted that Johnson would be limited as he works his way back on the field, but they were excited to have him back in the building and back with the team.

The head coach also talked a bit about how their first value as a team is based on connecting with each other, and that covers off the field things — good and bad — so it’s important for him and the organization as a whole to be there for the players when they are going through something.

“Anything our players deal with we want to be there for them. I feel like again, that’s what we’ve based everything on, is this first of our core values of connecting.”

He also mentioned that they are always aware and prioritize mental health, and they have not only doctors and trainers who help in that area, but people who are specialized in that area in the building. They know that it can be a problem, and want to have the resources needed for the players, both on the field and off.

“I think it’s a family, right? Our football team, our building is like a family. When your family members go through something, you hurt for them, and you feel for them and you want to be there for them.

And so that’s with Lane and the situation that he’s going through, and then with everybody on our team that has to go through anything. Sometimes that’s a player being injured and them having a really hard time with getting through an injury or a death of a family member, whatever it is.”

Sirianni also pointed out the benefits of Johnson being open about his mental health struggles that kept him sidelined these past few weeks. He said that whenever you’re vocal about something like that, it helps other people going through it and knowing they’re not alone.

On what he saw from self-scouting

Sirianni — along with DC Jonathan Gannon and OC Shane Steichen — talked about taking some of the extra days from this week and taking a hard look at the things they were doing right, and the things they need to fix moving forward.

He circled back to a previous topic about not making adjustments soon enough in games, but Sirianni said that they typically plan the first 10-15 plays of a game and see how their opponents are playing. Sometimes they get a sense after one or two plays, but that’s enough to toss the game plan, they have to get a little deeper into the game before knowing what they’re going to emphasize.

“So, what we do is throughout the game and throughout the first half we want to get some looks at different things and see how we think they’re going to play it. Then, especially after you’re through the first 10, 15, then you say, ‘All right, here is our list of plays; what do we need to go to now?’ because of the way they’re playing a certain thing. Maybe it’s not on your game plan, but they’re doing something completely off the radar, un-scouted looks that they haven’t done. Well, then you have to dip into your beaters of — whether it’s your zone read beaters or your — their answers off zone read or crack replace beaters in the run game or your linebackers downhill in the run game or the defensive end playing a little different in the run game, or it’s a different coverage they go to.”

The head coach emphasized that they need to be more efficient on first and second down to better assess how a defense is going to play them, because when you’re just going three and out, it takes a few series to get everything sorted and adjusted.

Sirianni didn’t want to get into specifics as far as issues they identified or fixes they made, but noted that they look around the league to see how other teams are doing different things. He also said that it’s nice to be able to sit back and watch games on Sunday and put himself in situations to see what other teams did versus how he might have handled it.

He later mentioned that something — he wouldn’t say exactly what — from the Jacksonville game changed his thinking regarding certain situations. Sirianni said one particular thing was interesting and spurred a lot of thought on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.

“It was like early on. It was a Sunday morning game. But that is the one that really spurred the most thought. Then there are some things that happened in college games, just a couple mistakes here and there we always talk through. But that’s the main one.”

Other notables

  • Sirianni mentioned that one thing he took away from this pseudo-bye week was that as a head coach, he can’t get wrapped up in the highs and lows of the season. He has to be steady after wins and losses and has to be that type of leader for his players, rather than get too lost in the roller coaster of each week.

“I understand the impatience. We all want to win right now, and when you’re not winning you’re going to get impatient. Again, like I said, I can’t let myself ride the highs and lows. If I do, the rest of the team will ride the highs and the lows.

I have to stay steady and stick to what I know. In times of adversity, I always thought that you double down on what you know is true, right?

What I know is true is that if you continue to get better every single day, it will put you in position to go 1-0 each week. I’m doubling down on things I know will help us get better every day, and that’s where my focus is, and I don’t ride the waves of the season because I know it can get bumpy if you do.”

  • The head coach addressed Jalen Hurts and what he’s seen from the quarterback when things are going well, versus when they aren’t. He noted that when things are going well, Hurts sits in the pocket, goes through his progressions, and if needed escapes and scrambles. When things aren’t going well, he’s quick to escape.