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Nick Sirianni explains play-calling decisions vs. Chiefs, discusses Eagles’ penalties

Plus, the Eagles head coach calls Jalen Hurts’ performance one of the best he’s seen.

The Eagles fell to 1-3 on Sunday afternoon and head coach Nick Sirianni spoke to reporters following the loss to the Chiefs and answered questions about some of his play calling decisions, explained his thoughts on some of the penalties, and called Jalen Hurts’ performance one of the best he’s seen. Sirianni also talked about his feelings on the loss and his messaging to the team.

Here’s what the head coach had to say:

On Jalen Hurts’ performance

“I kind of talked to somebody in there, and I said, ‘That’s one of the better quarterback performances I’ve seen,’ and I’ve been around a lot of good quarterbacks — with Phillip Rivers and Andrew Luck. I mean, he battled. He battled, made good decisions with the football, he got out of trouble when there was trouble, he made good checks, he made good reads. I thought that’s the best I’ve seen him in practice, and that’s the best I’ve seen him in a game since I’ve been here. So, hats off to Jalen, he battled and that’s going to be important for us moving forward.”

On the 4th-and-3 field goal call

“We we all the way down there, we had a really good drive. We ran out of time on the play clock, on the one, I didn’t get the call in quick enough. And, so, once we got to that, I thought it was important that we got points on the board at that particular time. I thought it would be too much of a momentum swing if they stopped up on 4th-and-3, so I decided to kick the field goal.”

He didn’t want to talk about the conversation he had with the ref about taking a time out, something he wouldn’t have needed to call if they were kicking a field goal. Sirianni said that he didn’t want to make an excuse about anything and he needs to be better.

On the JJAW flag to negate a TD

“They thought that he pushed him downfield, and they thought it was [OPI]. And, you know what, they’ve got a tough job. The referees have a tough job, we got a tough job, players have a tough job, they’re trying to get it right. I know they’re trying to get it right, they’re trying to do their best to get it right and sometimes they do, and sometimes — you, know, I’m not saying one way or the other, they got that right, I’ll keep my opinion to myself. But they have a tough job just like all of us.”

On his instant reaction to the game

“You’re upset. You’re furious that you go to 1-3, but we can also see that there’s a lot of things to build on there. The self-inflicted wounds have to stop — and, I know I sound the same, but it’s still true. We’ve got to stop the self-inflicted wounds of putting ourselves in holes with penalties.

The guys did a good job. We won the turnover battle — our defense took it away, we didn’t give it away, they forced another fumble on special teams. So there’s some good things, obviously right there, obviously we have to do things better offensively and defensively, and special teams-wise — there was one time we started inside the 15. So, we have to use this tape and get better from it.

My message is really never going to change win or lose, that we gotta make our corrections and get better from it. But, there’s a lot of guys that battled their tails off today, and there’s a lot of guys who played good football today, and you’re happy with that, but obviously you’re never satisfied and you’re always upset when you lose.”

On the offensive line

The head coach said that he learned that Lane Johnson would miss the game for personal reasons just a few hours before the game — Sirianni wouldn’t go into specifics about whether he was in the building or what happened —, but he thinks OL coach Jeff Stoutland and OC Shane Steichen did a good job of having everyone prepared to play for such a situation. He noted he’ll need to review the tape to see exactly how guys played on Sunday, but overall he thought the group did well and battled hard and played physical.

Sirianni was also asked about all the ineligible player penalties they’ve had the past few games, and he noted that he things the referees are calling that harder than they have in the past, but that just means they have to adjust. He said it’s on him and the coaching staff to work on how they prepare players, how they’re teaching the blocking schemes, and how they’re reading it.

“That’s my fault. I gotta get better at that. It’s not Andre [Dillard]’s fault that he was downfield on that one, because the timing was pretty good. And the referees I thought did a pretty good job of refereeing it.”

Other notables

  • Sirianni said he would double down on the call to snap the ball just before halftime instead of calling a timeout. He said they do a ton of research during the week and go through all those scenarios, and they thought they’d have enough time to get a play off and out of bounds. The head coach admits it didn’t work and they got a sack, but he’ll stick with that call all day — if it had gotten a little bit lower, he would’ve clocked it or called a time out.
  • He talked a bit about struggles in the red zone and only converting 3-of-6, their worst so far this season. Sirianni noted that it’s a combination of the plays he’s calling and a lack of execution, but emphasized that the failures always start with him and he has to call better plays and put players in better situations to win.

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