The Eagles still have yet to get a win at home in Philly, suffering a late-game loss to the Chargers in Week 9, 27-24. Head coach Nick Sirianni spoke to reporters after the game and talked about Jalen Hurt’s performance, particularly on that fourth quarter drive to tie things up, and touched on the officiating, Justin Herbert’s completion percentage, and the Chargers final drive.
He was asked about what the week was like for DeVonta Smith, but Sirianni said that all conversations he has with his players are private, so it’s up to Smith as to whether or not he wants to open up about how he’s handling the situation of his college teammate Henry Ruggs III.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On Jalen Hurts’ performance
The head coach was asked how he felt the quarterback handled himself on that fourth quarter drive.
“He was a stud. He was a big time stud. I mean, I’ve got a lot of respect for [Chargers HC] Brandon Staley, they knew we were moving the ball really well on offense, and he didn’t leave anything — I’m pretty confident he didn’t leave anything on his call sheet. He started coming with different things, and I think they had a blitz-zero on that last play, Jalen ended up — we all saw that, ended up getting to a play, Jalen ended up doing great communication telling everybody what the play was, and then just fired a strike to DeVonta [Smith].
But, what I think was really, really impressive — obviously that throw was really unbelievable in the face of some pressure, the offensive line did a heck of a job just protecting against that blitz-zero, but that’s advanced football right there. To be able to see what was going on, and then to be able to get the communication at the line of scrimmage and talk and get everybody on the same page for a 28-yard score, I believe it was.
And then just a couple of the drives he made. He was just really unfazed by the scenario and he just showed a lot of poise. Down seven, everything in his eyes said put it on me and let’s go, let’s keep running the ball, let’s keep play-actioning it, let’s make sure we’re converting on third downs, and he made some unbelievable plays on third down. The play where he jumped over the top and did the flip, I think if we would’ve won that game, that would be a played they showed over in Philly for a long time. He was just really composed in a tight situation, and that’s what you want out of your quarterbacks.”
Sirianni went on to acknowledge that having a good run game opened some things for Hurts and the offense, because when you’re running the ball well, the defense has to prepare for different things. The Eagles finished with 176 rushing yards, which helped keep some of the defense occupied to open things up with the passing game.
On the officiating
Sirianni said that he was on the officiating crew a few times during the game, and it happens in the heat of the moment. He went on to say that he understands that officials have a tough job.
On the illegal lineman downfield call, Sirianni said that he and the officials just didn’t agree, but he knows that the offense has made strides when it comes to reducing penalties — in fact, Sirianni said that they had actually stopped running that particular play because they didn’t think they’d be able to do it without drawing a flag.
“I have to look at the tape. Again, I know they have a hard job, and so I’m not here to criticize them at all. They said they were two yards down the field, which is legal, and so I have to trust in that.”
On the final Chargers drive
The head coach said that he would’ve liked for the defense to get a stop in some of the 3rd-and-1, 4th-and-1 situations, but he liked that they didn’t jump offsides. He thought the Chargers were going to kick a field goal after the no-brainer, but they went for it, and got the first down. Obviously, Sirianni said they’d like to get stop on short yardage and get the ball back to the offense, but he’ll have to watch the tape to see exactly what happened.
On Justin Herbert’s completion percentage
“Any time you play a quarterback like Justin Herbert — there’s no surprise I think he’s a good quarterback, we all know he’s a good quarterback — you gotta be on your A game, and it starts with us as coaches. So, I’m not going to say Jonathan [Gannon] anything because my name’s on that, right, so whatever happens out there on that field, my name’s on it. Offensively, defensively, I’m not the offensive coordinator, I’m the head coach.”
Sirianni went on to acknowledge that when a guy finishes 84 percent, you’re going to say that they didn’t do their job.
He later talked a bit about the pass rush and why they weren’t as effective on Sunday, noting that Herbert does a good job of getting the ball our quickly and he’s seen Keenan Allen over the years do some good things over the middle of the field. When they’re able to get the ball out quick, they have to be able to tighten up the coverage to get the QB to hold onto the ball a little bit.