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Nick Sirianni talks game planning, how Miles Sanders is handling Kenny Gainwell’s emergence

Plus, the Eagles head coach gave some offensive line updates.

Eagles’ head coach Nick Sirianni spoke to reporters on Wednesday and gave some offensive line updates. He also talked about play calling, game planning, and how Miles Sanders is handling a bigger workload for Kenny Gainwell.

Here’s what the head coach had to say:

Offensive line updates

  • Sirianni said that Lane Johnson wasn’t back to the facility yet, as of midday, and wouldn’t go further into the reasoning for his absence or whether or not he’d be available to play on Sunday.
  • Jordan Mailata was expected to be limited at Wednesday’s practice, but Sirianni said that he was excited to get the tackle back out on the field during walk-through and get him some work.
  • He wouldn’t talk about Jack Driscoll and what they might do in terms of the starting lineup on Sunday, noting (again) that it’s an advantage to keep that under wraps, but they have some more flexibility with hopefully getting Mailata and Johnson back in the mix.

On play calling and game planning

Sirianni was asked about some of the plays the call to get the ball to Jalen Reagor, and he said that there are some plays that depend on the defensive line technique they are facing, and sometimes it’s dependent on the secondary techniques. He noted that there are some variations and because of that, they are able to have those plays included in the plans each week. He said they want to sprinkle in creative ways to get Reagor the ball because they know he’s a creative play maker.

The head coach then went on to talk about how he makes corrections to the game plans during the week.

“Everything I do is just what I think is best to do to win that football game. And so that’s going to look different each and every week. Some weeks, it’s going to look like there’s a lot of RPOs. Some weeks there’s going to be gadgets. Some weeks there’s going to be shots down the field. Some weeks it’s going to be dink and dunk.

We know there’s many different ways to win the game. And we do have a scheme. And we do fit — we do have players that fit our scheme and vice versa. We try to fit our scheme for our players. And that just changes. That’s why I just don’t get too caught up in all that.

Knowing that our plan and the way we kind of attack — and even if it’s a certain play, like maybe we’re running this certain play, but we get to it a little different way with a motion or with a shift or with a different personnel grouping. So, I don’t get too wrapped up into that.”

On the run game

Sirianni talked a little bit about the potential they saw in Kenny Gainwell during the pre-draft process, and noted that they were looking for someone who fit their offensive style — like Danny Woodhead with the Chargers or Nyheim Hines with the Colts. He said when they saw Gainwell’s tape, they knew he was the guy that would fit the role of plays they schemed out. Not only that, but the tape also highlighted the pass plays he made, and how strong he was with the ball in his hands, he can break tackles, and he has good lower body strength and balance.

As for how Gainwell’s workload has affected Miles Sanders, Sirianni pointed out that he’s been the same guy and puts in the work every single day.

“Does he want the football? Of course he does. And that’s any good player, any player in general. And that’s the same way it’s going to be in the receiver room or the tight end room or the running back room. They all want the ball.

That’s a good problem to have that you got guys that want the football. And that’s our job to get it to them. But there is only one football. And when you kind are going up and down the field like we did last week, the guys that got the football last week, it was just a product of what was happening. And so, I think the guys see that.”

Other notables

  • Sirianni said he isn’t really surprised to see what Jalen Hurts can do during games because they practice hard and he sees those plays throughout the week. He mentioned that they practice the plays they want to call on Sunday throughout the week, and the ones that players executed they include in the game plan, and the ones that don’t work out, they scrap. What he wants to see from Hurts now is consistency.
  • The head coach was asked again about penalties and how specifically he is working with the team to limit them moving forward. He repeated what he’s said all week, and that’s how they work to correct every single mistake, and the tone for that changes, but they don’t let anything slide. Additionally, they work on some technique things that can help reduce illegal down field flags, and things like that.
  • Sirianni talked about what he likes about Greg Ward Jr. in the red zone, and pointed to the WR having a good feel and good savvy toward the endzone, and he’s got a good knack for finding zones and holes. He also noted Ward’s quickness and ability to separate in man-to-man.

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