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Nick Sirianni talks Eagles’ preseason and why their game plans are already in place

Plus, the head coach gives an update on DeVonta Smith and the WR position.

The Eagles were gearing up for their first padded practice on Tuesday and head coach Nick Sirianni spoke to reporters before taking the field. He noted that they weren’t going to be tackling their first day in practice, but that’s something they’ll continue to talk about as an option throughout camp.

Sirianni also admitted that it’s going to get chippy on the field once the pads come on, and while they stress the importance of connecting with each other, that doesn’t mean that fighting isn’t going to happen. Obviously, the team knows he would prefer they not fight, but they’re going to handle it as it comes. Fighting in a game will draw penalties and distract from the play at hand, so keeping cool in those situations is something they’ll also practice during camp if it arises.

Here’s what else the head coach had to say:

On the WR group

With Smith on the sideline, Sirianni said that he’s really been impressed with the entire receiver group so far in camp. He noted that Kevin Patullo keeps coming up to him saying, “We didn’t have this speed in Indy,” and further points out that they definitely didn’t have that speed right away. So they’re seeing that they’ve got some guys that can really run, which is exciting.

DeVonta Smith

The rookie wide receiver was out on the field ahead of Tuesday’s practice, catching balls from the jugs machine, much to the delight of Sirianni. The head coach said that Smith just needs to attack things in the training room and get himself healthy, but also be mentally engaged while he’s sidelined. As far as whether they expect Smith to be back and able to play in the preseason, Siriranni didn’t want to put any kind of timetable on the rookie’s return.

On their plan for the preseason

“It’s case-by-case, and we’ll talk through every guy and what their experience is, and it’s just like you don’t treat every player the same. It’s truly case-by-case and what we to show, and what we don’t want to show. Those are discussions we’ve had.

We’ve had our game plan for our preseason done, because my philosophy is, ‘Hey, let’s get the scripting done — we can always adjust it —, let’s get the game plans done for the preseason — we can always adjust it. So when we’re here with the players, we’re not up all night thinking about what we’re going to run against the Steelers or the Patriots or the Jets. We’re thinking about, our sole focus is how do we get our players better.’ That’s all that matters, is how we get those players better. So, again, there will be adjusting to those game plans and talk through all that, but really everyday we’re just focused on how we’re getting our guys better.”

On Boston Scott

“I think he’s a great leader and really good for the running back room, I think he’s highly respected amongst his teammates. Love that he knows what to do at all times, and he shows ability in the back field, in the run game, and in the pass game — whether that’s protecting or splitting out wide. So, guys that are multiple with what they can do and not just a one-trick pony, to say, they’re hard to defend. I’m glad we have Boston because it seems like he can do a lot.”

Other notables

  • Sirianni was asked how much they are game planning for Zach Ertz, but he admitted they’re pretty far away from actual game planning and are just working on installing the offense. The head coach did point out though that they have been throwing the ball to the tight ends quite a bit in camp, so seeing what Ertz can do has been impressive.
  • As far as analytics goes and how they plan to use it, Sirianni noted that it’s one aspect of their game planning and decision making. He explained that they study the tape first, and then go to the numbers to see if they back up what they saw, or tell a different story.
  • The head coach quipped that when they’re talking about Joe Flacco in the coaches room, they always note that he’s played a lot of football and it shows in the meeting room and on the field.

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