That the Philadelphia Eagles are 2-4 after their first six games in an admitted “transition year” isn’t a total shock or embarrassment. How the Eagles have looked getting to this point, though, is a different story. It’s hard to feel really great about the head coach and quarterback after six games. The former has especially drawn a lot of ire and has people wondering: Is Nick Sirianni in over his head?
Jimmy Kempski and I discussed this and more the first of two BGN Radio podcasts out this week.
BLG: Is Nick Sirianni in over his head, Jimmy? The quote that I have here from your postgame article that I want to read: “Nick Sirianni has turned reasonable people into ‘Run the ball!’ boomers.” So, is Sirianni in over his head? What’s your impression of Nick?
JIMMY: Well, the big gripe from the Buccaneers game is they had one carry with the running backs — one! — in the entire first half. Which, like, alright, I get it. The Buccaneeers have this great run defense. But, you have to— I am the furthest thing from the ‘Run the ball’ guy. But you have to run it a little bit. You have to at least make teams respect it. And when you have a defensive coordinator in Todd Bowles who, same thing like Jim Schwartz back in the day, the first thing that those want to do is shut down the run and make the offense one-dimensional and then they become much easier to defend when you know what they’re going to do. Well, the Buccaneers take the field, and their number one objective is taken care of. They’ve achieved it just by showing up because [the Eagles] just aren’t going to run the ball at all. And when they did run the ball late in the game, they did have success with it! And forget these foofy RPOs. They were really effective when they were running them in 2017. The rest of the NFL wasn’t facing them that much at the time and you could confuse defenses and you could run a lot of different variations of these RPOs. And it was really difficult for teams to stop them. All it takes is one offseason for a trend to sort of get fixed by opposing defense around the league. And in 2018, they were much easier defensed. Well, now we’re four or five years removed from that magical 2017 season. Like every team in the NFL, first, runs RPOs and, secondly, defends them constantly. So, they know how to stop them. Maybe not stop them completely but know how to slow them down. And if that’s the backbone of your offense, you’re running the offense with RPOs as the feature component, you’re going to be stopped easily because that’s just not a cutting edge way to run your offense anymore. And I’m getting a little fired up here, sorry. He’s too late. He’s too late to the party. If he was running this offense in 2017, then maybe it would be effective. What we haven’t seen much from him at all and what is sort of the new trend in the NFL, which is proven to give opposing defenses a lot of trouble, and that’s pre-snap motion, pre-snap movement. Shifting before the snap. Getting teams to show their hand, whether they’re in man, zone, etc. Sort of giving that eye candy at the snap. It affects linebackers, it affects safeties. And there’s none of that from the Eagles. I just think they’re a really easy, predictable offense to defend. So, yes, to answer your question … yeah, I do think he’s a little bit in over his head.
In fairness to Sirianni, he’s a rookie head coach and could improve with time. I mean, even Jeffrey Lurie talked about being excited about the “coach he could become” as opposed to the one he is. But not all struggles are necessarily growing pains. It’s possible that Sirianni just isn’t a good coach.
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Other show topics include:
- Lane Johnson’s return
- Zach Ertz trade ramifications and the tight end’s legacy in Philly
- Who else could/should the Eagles move ahead of the NFL trade deadline?
- Weekly Jalen Hurts temperature check
- Quick thoughts on Tay Gowan
- Closing thoughts on Eagles vs. Bucs
- Points of optimism moving forward
- Answering your Apple podcast questions
Is Nick Sirianni in over his head?
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Talking about the Eagles and their division rivals on the NFC East Mixtape. Especially good conversation this week, IMO:
Talking about Eagles and the NFL at large on The ODDcast on The SB Nation NFL Show: