Eagles’ head coach Nick Sirianni spoke with reporters ahead of the team’s final on-field practice leading into their preseason opener on Thursday against the Steelers. He spoke a little about their fluid game plan for Thursday and the rest of the preseason, as well as how he’ll handle in-game situations and play-calling duties.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On Thursday’s preseason opener
Sirianni acknowledged that the plan for every guy looks a little different, but they do expect everybody to play “for the most part,” including Jalen Hurts. As far as the quarterback rotation, the head coach said it’ll be the same as it’s been in practice with Hurts going with the starters, followed by Joe Flacco and then Nick Mullens.
He did mention that one benefit is that teams don’t know what the Eagles’ offense will be running, so they obviously aren’t going to be showing everything during the preseason. So, as far as how many drives or plays each guy will get is on a bit of sliding scale — Sirianni noted that if they go out and Hurts throws an 80-yard touchdown on his first play or whether they have a seven-play drive will affect what they do next.
He went on to talk about how they do have a plan in place for both Thursday’s game and the rest of the preseason, but he didn’t want to go into too many details, acknowledging that things can change between now and then. When asked how he’ll handle starters taking snaps in games two and three, Sirianni didn’t want to get too committal, but said that the team also has joint practices — with the Patriots and Jets — which he considers to be similar to preseason games.
Sirianni said that the thing he most wants to see from the offense through the preseason is consistency and eliminating errors in areas that don’t require talent — pre-snap penalties, lining up wrong, things like that.
On in-game management
The head coach talked a little about the preseason games being a trial run for him and the coaching staff to work through their management of situations — Sirianni said that they’ve worked through how they want to handle different timing situations and what they want to call in two-minute drills.
Sirianni later confirmed that he will be doing the play-calling for the offense and offensive coordinator Shane Steichen will be the one communicating with the quarterback, which frees up the head coach to talk to other people and make notes in between plays.
- Sirianni was asked about rookie Landon Dickerson and repeated that he isn’t going to put a timetable on the offensive lineman returning from injury, but he’s been working hard with the training staff. He’s also been working full speed in meetings and in walk-throughs, and he’s been watching practice, so Sirianni is happy with where Dickerson is mentally at this point.
- While he emphasized that the guys have been practicing hard, the head coach admitted that without full tackles there’s been some debate on certain plays between the defense and offense, so the team will definitely be able to evaluate things a bit better during the preseason games.