The Eagles won BIG in their 2021 NFL Season opener against the Falcons, 32-6, and head coach Nick Sirianni spoke to reporters after the game about some of the offensive game plan, what he thought of Jalen Hurts’ performance, and his feelings about two rookies getting their first touchdowns.
Sirianni said that he thought the offense played well, the defense played “lights out”, and the special teams did a good job, so all-in-all it was a good team win on Sunday. He was asked about this moment in his career, but he went back to the team playing so well together and noted that all facets played complimentary ball — he also emphasized that he can’t say enough good things about the Eagles defense.
On the offensive game plan
“We wanted to execute some of that short, controlled passing game, but still be able to take the ball down the field like the deep ball to Zach [Ertz], and there were some other things that were down the field as well, that Atlanta did a good job of taking away, forcing us to throw underneath. But, yeah, we get a coverage that we want and we have the ability to go down the field, if not, Jalen [Hurts] did a good job with his reads and taking what the defense gave him.”
As far as opening their first offensive drive with three straight screens to Quez Watkins, Sirianni pointed to the looks the defense was giving them — it wasn’t necessarily called to go to Watkins each time. The head coach said that he like to give the QB, Hurts, options with plays and then go based off what the defense is doing.
Sirianni was asked about the play calling and having very few negative yard plays, and the head coach said that being confident in the run game was due to the confidence they have in their offensive line and the guys they have up front. He admitted that it makes it easier to call the game knowing they’re firing on all cylinders like that. Sirianni did point out, however, that they had a few too many pre-snap penalties that they have to clean up.
The head coach also said that he felt good about the calls to go for it on fourth down, even though they weren’t executed. He went on to explain that they were green lights for them given the field position, especially with the way the defense was playing.
On Jalen Hurts’ performance
Sirianni said that he was impressed with the QBs ability to read the defense, methodically get the offense down the field, make big throws when he needed to — and then to get a touchdown during a two-minute drill, Hurts was in complete control then and throughout the entire game.
Goedert’s touchdown was later brought up and Sirianni admitted he didn’t have a great view of it and looks forward to watching it on the film, but Hurts made a great football play and despite not getting what they hoped from the defense, it was good to have a quarterback who could bail them out of the situation.
- Sirianni was asked about his message to the team on Saturday night, and he explained that it was about having a dog mentality — which meant that no matter what happened each play, good or bad, you have to get back to work on the next one. Stay focused and prepared to hunt. He thought the team had a good first half against the Falcons, especially how they ended the half with a score, but at halftime they put that behind them to stay focused and in the moment when the clock started the second half.
- The head coach talked about how hard the team practices which is why he wasn’t worried about the starters not getting many snaps in the preseason. He emphasized that if you’re truly in the business of getting better everyday, every time you step on the field, you’re giving the same effort and attention as if it were a game. So, in that respect he felt like his team was ready for Week 1 regardless of who took how many snaps, or when.
- Sirianni emphasized that what he loves about football is how it’s a team effort, so while two rookies scored on Sunday — DeVonta Smith and Kenny Gainwell — it was Zach Ertz who opened things up for Smith’s TD and Hurts who threw a good ball, and the offensive line made things easy for Gainwell’s score. He admitted he needs to watch the tape to see how those two first-year players did overall, but it was cool for them to get into the endzone in their first career game.