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Nick Sirianni credits the Eagles’ defense with keeping them in the Giants game

Plus, he talked about their rough start, ability to bounce back, and Lane Johnson’s TD.

Eagles’ head coach Nick Sirianni spoke to reporters following their big win over the New York Giants on Sunday, and explained a bit about the rough start and how they bounced back in the second half. He also lauded the team’s defensive effort, and also talked a bit about Lane Johnson’s touchdown.

Here’s what the head coach had to say:

On the rocky start

Sirianni was asked whether he felt his absence and the short week contributed to the errors made at the beginning of the game, but he didn’t really think those were factors. He noted that the defense played an outstanding game, but starting with a special teams fumble is never the way you want to go right away. The head coach admitted that they weren’t executing offensively, but he has a lot of respect for the Giants’ defense and their Defensive Coordinator.

“Any time you start off that way and you only score three points in the first half, it’s always going to be, we didn’t coach well enough, for sure, and we didn’t play well enough. But, hats off to them because that’s a good defense. So, it’s a combination of all three, but I don’t put anything into the short week. This team has handled adversity all year through different things, and that’s just what you have to do in the NFL. You have to handle adversity, because it’s rarely going to go the way you thinks it’s going to go — which is perfectly smooth the whole time.”

He went on to credit the leaders and captains on the team for the way they’ve handled adversity throughout the season. Sirianni named Jason Kelce, Fletcher Cox, Rodney McLeod, Jalen Hurts, Alex Singleton, and Brandon Graham as those leading the way.

On the second-half boost

The head coach talked about his message to the team at halftime and how good teams win games however they need to, which could mean relying on the defense and just slopping their way through if they have to. He emphasized for them to have that next-play mentality, leave the first half in the past, and execute in the second half.

As for Jalen Hurts’ improved performance coming out of halftime, Sirianni said it was a combination of how the entire offense plays. He admitted that the QB missed some throws in the first half that he’ll want back, but he went to the right place on some of them — citing one particular red zone throw to Quez [Watkins] over the middle.

On the defensive performance

“They played incredible, there’s no doubt. The defense kept the game a game when it wasn’t going well. Huge, huge play by Rodney [McLeod]. Unbelievable rush by Genard Avery, just to get pressure on the quarterback, and the game that they played up front. And so, you get that pressure, he sails the ball high, and Rodney gets a big play.”

Sirianni went on to say that at that point it was still 3-3 and it was their first drive out of halftime, so the interception was everything. All of a sudden they were up by seven points and the energy shifts to where they feel like they can’t lose the game because of how great the defense is playing.

The head coach credited their ability to shut down the Giants run game, and take away some of the dink-and-dunks, especially when the wind was blowing a bit more than they expected. And then the pick-6 really put the game out of reach and they were able to take some guys out to keep them healthy.

On Lane Johnson’s touchdown

Sirianni was asked the name of the play that saw the offensive tackle score and he quipped that it’s called, “East Texas.”

“We had a lot of confidence in the play because of the way we practiced this week, and just confidence in Lane. I mean, Lane’s a phenomenal football player. I don’t agree that he’s not in the Pro Bowl, I think that you have a chance to have a guy that’s going to be a first or second team All-Pro and not in the Pro Bowl. So, it was great to be able to get him a touchdown. He just deserves so much more credit than he’s getting.

This guy is just — I’ve never been in around an offensive tackle that is as talented as this guy is. It’s like, he could play tight end if you want him too. You should see him throw the football. This guy is so immensely talented, I just got so much respect for him. It’s always great when you can reward guys that don’t get into the endzone with a touchdown like that.

I think it was his first touchdown since high school — I’m sure he scored a lot of them in high school because the guy, he’s just a stud. And just so happy that he’s achoring our offensive line and looking forward to the accolades he’s going to get because he deserves them.”

Other notables

  • Sirianni talked a bit about how far they’ve come as a team and how they’ve embraced the dog mentality he’s talked about all season. Again, emphasizing how well they’ve tackled adversity — such as playing a game off 13 days rest and then another just five days later. He also said Jason Kelce gave a speech on Saturday night about pressing on regardless of the bad things they might face.
  • The head coach also credited Howie Roseman and his staff for the team that they’ve assembled, notably on the offensive and defensive lines. Roseman told Sirianni he’s done a great job bouncing back from a 2-5 start, but the he in-turn thanks the GM for putting him in such a good position as a first time head coach with a well-built roster.
  • Sirianni wasn’t exactly sure what was taking so long with the review of DeVonta Smith’s touchdown, but he was just glad that it counted. He also credited the wide receiver for having to learn to be such a great sideline and back line receiver, and making sure he gets two feet down in-bounds.

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