Eagles’ head coach Nick Sirianni talked to reporters after practice on Saturday and gave some injury updates, as well as explained why he’s confident in the OL replacements. He also gave some insight into Dallas DC Dan Quinn and what he expects from the Cowboys defense on Monday night.
Sirianni was asked about his Brandon Graham shirt and the sticker on his hat, and he explained it was to show the DE that they still need him and his energy, and his leadership, around the team, and he wasn’t physically out there on the practice field Saturday, so the head coach brought him in spirit out there, instead.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
Injury and personnel updates
- Rodney McLeod will be out against the Cowboys. Despite the safety initially planning to be back in Week 1, Sirianni confirmed that McLeod didn’t suffer any kind of setback, he’s just still day-to-day and will play when he’s ready.
- Zach Ertz was activated from the COVID list and will be able to play on Monday. Sirianni said that they had a couple game plans in place in case Ertz was or wasn’t available, but the head coach feels more comfortable with the TE returning and having a good practice on Saturday.
- With Jordan Mailata still not back at the facility as he deals with a knee injury, Andre Dillard will get the start at left tackle.
“I’ve seen [Dillard] have confidence. I’ve seen him be able to shut the pass rush down in out practice, we’ve given him a couple different looks of different scout team players to go against, and I feel really confident in Andre and he should feel confident in himself.”
- The head coach was asked how tough it was with Dillard in for Mailata and Landon Dickerson in for Brandon Brooks, and how that affects the chemistry of the offensive line. Sirianni said that OL coach Jeff Stoutland does a great job of getting guys different looks during meetings and walk-thrus, so he’s not worried about the communication or chemistry aspect from that group.
On Cowboys DC Dan Quinn
“He’s definitely changed, and we see some of the guys he’s been around, and seen how he’s changed throughout the years. I just think — I got a ton of respect for Coach Quinn. I think he’s a really good — I’ve heard that he’s a top-notch person first of all from all the guys that have worked with him on our staff. And then, just got a lot of respect for his defenses in general, they always play hard, they’re always fundamentally sound, and I just think that when a team is fundamentally sound, I always think they’re well-coached.”
As far as Dallas’ defense in general, Sirianni noted that they have playmakers at all levels, and their secondary can create issues. He talked about the linebackers and how he’s always thought Jalen Smith was a good player, Leighton Vander Esch is very productive, and Micah Parsons is explosive, fast, and playing well. So, when a team has playmakers at every level, and then is coached by someone like Coach Quinn, they are always going to present challenges.
On WR Quez Watkins
The head coach was asked, aside from his speed, what does Quez Watkins bring the offense.
“I think he’s solid catching the football. He’s got good, strong hands, he can go up and get the deep ball — I think we’ve seen that in practice quite a bit, where he just goes up and makes a play. He ran right by the guy the other day and Jalen [Hurts] put a perfect ball in there, so it wasn’t necessary for him to go up and get it, but we know that he can. I think he’s tough, I think he’s scrappy, and just my experience, you got tough and scrappy guys, they’re going to get better and they’re reliable. So, I love that about him.”
- Sirianni talked about how he only uses motions to get a sign of what a defense is doing, or if it makes sense, but that he’s not just going to motion to motion to make them go through checks, because then you’re spending too much time thinking about that instead of everything else.
- The head coach talked about what they have to do to get ready on a short week following the Monday night game, and he mentioned that the play callers have to be completely focused on Monday’s game, but the rest of the staff has to kind of do double duty and have their usual Monday work and a little of their Tuesday work done, in addition to handling their game day responsibilities.
- He isn’t worried about Jalen Hurts leading the team in rushing, noting that the QB is often getting those yards on passing plays. Sirianni said that when you have a quarterback who can open things up like that, it can actually boost the run game for the backs, as well. He thinks that overtime it’ll balance itself out.