The jokes were running fast and furious on social media following Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni’s latest Zoom news conference this morning. Sitting to the right of general manager Howie Roseman and Vice President of Player Personnel Andy Weidl, Sirianni took part in the team’s pre-draft news conference and peppered his questioners with answers in what has become his signature style.
Hyperactive and enthusiastic.
Take this 1:30 snippet from today’s news conference as a prime example.
If Nick Sirianni consistently wins as a coach... He'll be an all time favorite in this city.— Rob Hodge (@RobHodge_) April 21, 2021
Folks, you could hook up a car battery to Coach Sirianni and get it to run from one end of the block to the other. There doesn’t appear to be a setting lower than 11, and that’s fine for now. While he doesn’t come across as the seasoned, grizzled, veteran head coach everyone in Philadelphia has become used to, it’s fair to note he’s not a seasoned, grizzled, veteran head coach.
And it doesn’t mean anything. At least, not yet.
Sure, Sirianni is taking some guff on social media for comments he made regarding asking potential draftees to play “paper-rock-scissors” and Jeopardy as part of a test to see how competitive they are.
#Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni told media that he decided to play rock paper scissors with prospects to see their competitiveness spirit.— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) April 21, 2021
He added he trashed talked them as well.pic.twitter.com/Joe2L3q8Og
Yes, that sound you hear are the eyes of the entire Delaware Valley scraping the tops of their heads as they roll them around. Is it dumb to ask potential draft picks to play these games to judge competitiveness? Yeah, a bit. Is it a little cringe-worthy? I think so, sure. Does it give you a ton of confidence that he knows what he’s doing? No, not really.
But it’s honestly not that big of a deal. At least, not yet.
Let’s not forget Andy Reid was routinely filleted for not showing enough emotion, and Philadelphians have never been a city that’s shy to hide their feelings, so the visceral reaction to Sirianni’s personality has been a bit interesting.
Sometimes, first impressions are hard to shake. Ask former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler, who was booed at his home opener in 2018 before his team ever took the field. But it’s important to note he was not booed for any of the unorthodox things he said or the way he looked. He was booed because he committed tremendous gaffes in his first handful of games that season and looked foolish on the field. Doug Pederson and Charlie Manuel also came across as buffoonish before they actually went on the field and proved they knew what they were doing.
Sirianni’s “run through a brick wall” mantra will work if his team wins, but he’ll likely learn there needs to be another setting to his personality. Veteran players don’t usually go for that “all-in, all the time” stuff unless it produces results. There’s a danger Sirianni’s hyper-competitiveness could wear out his players.
We’ve only seen the new head coach in one color thus far — highly energetic, kinetic, and loud. But perhaps there is another color to Coach Sirianni, one that hasn’t made its way into the public sphere yet. What matters most is whether or not he will help his players improve and get them to play better football and set them up for success in 2022.
Much of what an NFL head coach does is inspire his players to play for him and every coach has a different way of doing that. The worry with Sirianni is that a maniacal style is going to burn out his players, but only time will tell on that one.
In the meantime, I’m holding my powder until we see this team play some football games before judging whether Nick Sirianni is a good coach or not.