Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni spoke to reporters Wednesday, and explained a bit about the playcalling from Monday night’s loss to the Cowboys and admitted they need to the run the ball more. He also talked about getting Miles Sanders more touches, why he appreciates Jalen Hurts shouldering the blame for the loss but doesn’t think it’s fair, and how he holds players accountable.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On play calling
The head coach talked about how they script a lot of RPOs and so the play may have been called for Jalen Hurts to hand the ball off, but then they see something from the defense and pull the ball to pass. He acknowledged, that’s going to happen, but there wasn’t a lot of times that Hurts checked out of a run play.
“We count RPOs — if they’re going to take a guy and get him out of position for the pass, we actually count those as runs, but we gotta run the ball more.”
Sirianni went on to say that he’s okay living with the fact that using RPOs can skew the ratio of run and pass plays. He noted that they are reading the defense not blocking defenders which actually creates better angles for the entire offensive line. The head coach also explained their use of motions.
“We motion for a very distinct reason. We’re going to motion if we can create an advantage, if we can figure out what defense their in — majorly those two things — if we can get a guy in a position to do his job better. So, we’re just not a team that’s going to motion to motion, we’re going to do it for those three main reasons.”
On Miles Sanders’ workload
“Does he need more than five touches? Of course. The way the game went, he didn’t get that. And, yes, when guys — I don’t want to just single out Miles, but when guys are down because of their role, and we expect more out of their role, because they didn’t accomplish it on their own or I didn’t give them a chance to accomplish it on their own, we’ve gotta pick guys up. That’s what a team does, pick him up and let him know that you believe in him still. And so, as far as Miles getting touches, there’s no doubt we gotta get our playmakers the ball. He’s a playmaker, he’s shown that he’s a playmaker — whether it’s in screen game, whether it’s out of the backfield, or getting the ball.”
On Jalen Hurts’ performance
Sirianni was asked about Hurts’ post-game comments about shouldering the blame for the loss to the Cowboys, but the head coach doesn’t think that’s fair for him to say. He does appreciate that Hurts is taking accountability for his role in the loss, because accountability is something that they built the program on. The head coach noted that everyone should feel that way after a loss, and that if they did something different on one or two plays, the outcome may have been different.
“I don’t think he played his best game. I don’t think he played a bad game.”
As for Hurts getting out of the pocket too quickly, Sirianni explained that there’s a fine line between the QB throwing in rhythm and keeping him from using his talents, and being true to himself as a player. They do want him to work on reducing his off-schedule throws, but Sirianni thinks Hurts has been making improvements — he also, acknowledged, however, that there were some plays he thought the QB got out of the pocket too quickly.
On DeVonta Smith’s production
It was pointed out that Smith has been targeted 13 times over the past few games, but has been just 5-for-13. Sirianni said that they need to get him some easy touches to just get him going. The head coach was sure to point out that Smith doesn’t lack confidence, so the easy touches are more about getting him into a groove.
On the OL and injuries
Sirianni said that with Isaac Seumalo now out, they’ve thought through every situation and possible personnel grouping, but for now they are keeping that information in-house. At least for this week, it’s to their advantage not to disclose who will play where, and they still have a while to figure out what they’ll do when Brandon Brooks returns.
“Losing Isaac hurts because he’s a good player, he’s a good teammate, and we’ll miss him out there.”
On how players are being held accountable
Sirianni explained that they set a standard for each and every play, so holding players to that standard is as simple as pointing out the mistakes that were made. When the standard is met, they congratulate guys, and when it’s not, they correct it.
The head coach illustrated that when they watch film, every play is featured and in the bottom right corner, the number of each player who made a mistake is on the screen. He noted that’s for film of every game and every practice, so it’s about pointing out each mistake and holding everyone to expectations. He acknowledged that the tone for pointing out those mistakes may differ, but holding them to the standard is consistent.
“Too many pre-snap penalties on all of us.”
Sirianni talked a little about Derek Barnett specifically and how he wasn’t the only one on defense that drew a false start or offsides flag, but he does see Barnett improving. He emphasized that their job as coaches is to not let anything slide, and they have to continue to hammer in every detail. Ultimately though, they trust the players, including Barnett, but if a player does keep making the same mistakes, they can’t keep putting them on the field in the same situations.