Eagles’ head coach Nick Sirianni spoke to reporters on Wednesday and talked a little about their preparations this week for the Giants, especially with someone new calling plays for New York. He also gave some insight into their recent success on third down, why they’re utilizing a running back by committee approach, and had some injury updates as well.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On preparing for the Giants
Sirianni said that they will have to look at some different things now that the Giants fired OC Jason Garrett. The head coach mentioned having to look at some of the tape from when Freddie Kitchens was calling plays in Cleveland, but ultimately, they’ll just have to prepare for unscouted looks and be sure that the Eagles’ players are disciplined in their role.
The team had Monday and Tuesday off, and have a weird week with Thanksgiving on Thursday and other distractions, so Sirianni just emphasized that the intensity needs to be there in meetings and walk-throughs. He explained that they’re going to have extra meetings at lunch on Wednesday and extra meetings on Wednesday night since they get to leave early on Thursday so everyone can spend time with their family.
On their recent 3rd down success
Sirianni explained that they add an extra element for defense’s having a quarterback who can scramble and get out of trouble.
“That’s a big advantage to have. I think if you look at teams that are high on third down, I think, or in the past, they’ve had that ability — the quarterbacks have that ability to create with his legs. So, that’s a huge advantage, and obviously to keep the chains moving — when the chains are moving and you’re converting third downs, that’s more opportunities for more plays, which means more points, which means more run attempts, which means more opportunities for guys on the field to get touches. That’s a huge part of our preparation, obviously, which it is for everybody in the NFL, is that situational football. That third down and redzone.”
On the defense’s improvement
Since Sirianni’s comments after the Raiders game about needing the defense to be more aggressive, the unit has been markedly better. The head coach said that it wasn’t all due to changes made after that game, because each game things are going to look better, but they’re also starting to find a groove with things they do well and adapting to things that are working for them.
On the run game and RB rotation
The head coach has emphasized players not making the same mistake twice, but Miles Sanders did on Sunday when he ran out of bounds — which happened twice against Carolina. Sirianni said they pulled Sanders out of the game to remind him to stay in bounds, and had been on the field for the next carry, instead of being talked to on the sideline, he would’ve had 100 yards on the day.
They’ve been utilizing a running back by committee approach recently, but Sirianni said that they are still definitely willing to go with the hot-hand, but right now the committee approach has been working.
Sirianni was also asked about his message to Kenny Gainwell, who has taken a more limited role the past couple weeks. The head coach said that he encourages Gainwell to just stay ready and that they still have high hopes for him and still think very highly of him. He’s still someone they have a niche role for, particularly with his catching ability, they just haven’t used it a lot the past couple weeks.
- Davion Taylor did end up having knee surgery on Tuesday, but they aren’t sure yet what that means for his timeline to return. Sirianni did mention that it’s still possible the linebacker is back before the end of the season.
- There are no new updates on Brandon Brooks. Sirianni wouldn’t say whether or not he’d be back in the starting lineup when he does return, saying they aren’t in a position to have to make that decision yet. He also wouldn’t say whether there’s been any kind of setback, just that there’s no new information.
- With some coaches around the league having to sit out due to COVID recently, Sirianni acknowledged that it’s the same with players, the next man up, but they do have a plan and have worked through logistics involved should they be affected by something like that.
- After Sunday’s win over the Saints, Sirianni admitted that he had gotten too conservative in their play-calling, which allowed New Orleans to fight their way back. He elaborated a bit on Wednesday explaining that they went a bit run-heavy, which has been working for them recently, but also that they still need to throw the ball. He also pointed out calling a screen to Jalen Reagor he didn’t like, especially with the way the Saints’ DEs were playing.