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Nick Sirianni talks Eagles run game success, DeVonta Smith’s recent drops

Plus, the Eagles’ head coach talks young defense and linebacker roster spots.

Eagles’ head coach Nick Sirianni spoke to reporters on Monday after returning from Detroit and talked a little bit about the success they had in the run game, his thoughts on DeVonta Smith’s drops the past couple weeks, and what he’s seen from the young defense.

He was asked about being mid-way through the season, and while he wouldn’t divulge the letter grade he has for himself at the moment, Sirianni said that it would be higher if they were 5-3 or better on the season. As for the wild card spot still being in play, Sirianni also emphasized that he only takes things one week at a time, and isn’t even close to looking at something that far in the future.

Here’s what else the head coach had to say:

On the success of the run game

Sirianni echoed what he said post-game about the success they had against the Lions, noting that it’s a little bit of them finding their identity and a little bit of them being able to take advantage of Detroit’s defense.

“But, obviously, we want to be able to be balanced in our attack with running the football, and setting up some play-actions from that, so the game allowed for that and the situation that happened yesterday. But, then again, we see that we can run the ball pretty well, so we want to repeat the things we do well, also.”

The head coach went on to say that it doesn’t mean they’ll always stick with the style of runs that they did on Sunday, and that what they do will depend on their opponents defense and what they’re doing with their defensive ends and front seven.

He was asked if Miles Sanders texted him after the game wondering where these carries were when he was healthy, but Sirianni said that he actually got a text from Sanders saying, “HELL YEA!” in all caps. Sirianni went on to say that Sanders is a great teammate and was just happy for his team.

On DeVonta Smith’s drops

Sirianni drew from his experience as a wide receiver and with wide receivers, and noted that when a player has a couple drops in back-to-back games, they want to fix the issue and fix the technique that caused them. He talked about how both of Smith’s drops were throws into his midsection.

“And so, you want to get those reps, but you don’t want to make a big deal about it. That is something that – a receiver dropping a ball, like I want DeVonta to catch the ball really bad on first and 10, first play of the game. You want DeVonta to catch the ball really bad. The fans want DeVonta to catch the ball really bad.

But nobody wants to catch the ball more than DeVonta wants to catch that ball. That’s just a spot with wide receiver play that I’ve never went like the coaching point, ‘Catch the ball!’ And getting mad at a guy for not catching the ball – you fix what’s wrong fundamentally and move on.

It’s been my experience to never dwell on a drop. You just try to build that confidence back up. He knows he has good hands. He knows he has great hands, we have a lot of the confidence in him.”

On the Eagles’ defense

Sirianni was asked about linebacker Eric Wilson being a healthy scratch on Sunday, and he noted that they don’t have the luxury to dress that many linebackers right now due to the numbers. So, they knew that Davion Taylor and T.J. Edwards were going to play a little bit more, there was a role for Alex Singleton on third down, and then Shaun Bradley has been an important special teams contributor through eight games, so he got the game-day roster spot.

The head coach also said that they are gaining more and more confidence with some of the young players as the season goes on, including Taylor and DT Milton Williams. Sirianni wanted to point out that Williams was actually the recipient of the defensive game ball for his performance against Detroit.

On the trade deadline approaching

“My experience is just to be honest with players and just talk to players and be openly communicating with them. Rumors are sometimes just that, so there is nothing to talk about. You always want communicate with guys on everything and every subject because, again, that’s the first thing. Like this connecting thing – I mean, I know I beat the dead horse here of connection, but that’s where it starts. You got to connect with everything because that’s where the player-coach relationship grows and that’s where I think just the best teams happen, where the guys are connected and the coaches are connected.”

Other notables

  • Both Jalen Reagor (ankle) and Jack Driscoll (hand) are day-to-day with the injuries they suffered on Sunday, but no new updates and time will tell if they can play in Week 9.
  • Sirianni was asked about Kevin Patullo’s role in marrying the run and pass game with the RPOs, and the head noted that he wanted Patullo on the staff because of his extensive experience game-planning. He went on to say that Patullo is in every game planning meeting, and it’s often Sirianni, OC Shane Steichen and Patullo putting the offense together.

“Again, he does bring a wealth of knowledge in the RPO game, and he’s helping us make sure we’re meshed with things and formations are meshed together with the run and the pass. Our run-pass ratio is where it needs to be. Kevin has just as much input and say as Shane and I in this whole thing.”

  • The head coach talked a little bit about Dallas Goedert as the No. 1 tight end, and said that he’s played two great games in a row as the main guy. He isn’t surprised, however, and it was their confidence in Goedert that allowed them to feel comfortable trading Zach Ertz a couple weeks back.

“We were really comfortable that Dallas was ready for this role, to be the guy. He’s excelled in it. He’s blocked really hard, blocked really well. He’s had 70 yards, I believe, in the last two games. He’s had explosive play after explosive play. I would’ve liked that screen to go a little bit longer that he had yesterday. He had the two screens, but I wanted that one to go a little bit longer. He got a little bit wide on that, and I thought that would’ve turned into another big play right there had he hit it inside a little bit.”

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