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Nick Sirianni says the Eagles are still discussing whether to sit starters in Week 18

Nick Sirianni talked about the advantages and disadvantages of resting some guys, but also acknowledged they want to beat a rival.

Eagles’ head coach Nick Sirianni spoke to reporters on Thursday and talked a bit about their plans for Saturday’s game against the Cowboys, although wouldn’t give a definitive answer about whether starters would play or sit. He also addressed Jalen Hurts being listed as limited on the injury report this week, but Sirianni said that the QB was still just working through the ankle injury he suffered weeks ago, so nothing new there.

Here’s what the head coach had to say:


On resting the starters Saturday

“That’s still something that we’re discussing and we’re working through. So, everybody is ready to go. Even the guys that are out of the building right now are ready to go this week because of the preparation that we’ve had by everybody throughout the week.”

Sirianni went on to mention that every situation is being looked at, because they don’t control their own destiny as far as whether they are the six or seven seed, and they’ve still got to get guys back from the COVID list and from different injuries. So, they are looking at each guy individually to determine their situation. The head coach mentioned wanting to beat a rival, and taking that into consideration as well.

“We’re not coming out with an injury report yet because we have a little bit more time to discuss that. We had an early practice/walk-through, so we have time to continue to talk about that. So, we’re going to use all our time and we’ll let you guys know as soon as possible with some of that stuff.”

Sirianni later talked a bit about the concerns of not getting the starters and key players some snaps this week, and he mentioned losing the momentum of a four-game winning streak. But the alternative is that players get some rest, especially after a long season and heading into the postseason. He noted that he understands both sides.

“I think my confidence is if the decision is to have to rest a couple guys or whatever it is, the way we go about practice and the way we prepare, I have so much confidence in our process and the way we go about how we get ready.

I know we practice hard. I know we’ve really made this a staple of the way we are here, right, is that we go out and practice hard every day. That doesn’t mean you start fast every single game and things don’t happen in a game where you don’t look great at the beginning, but we practice our tails off here. We practice our butts off here because we know how important practice is to getting ready for the game.

And so that’s what would give me the confidence of not worrying about not having the momentum or whatever it is. Because we practice the same no matter if we’re coming off a win, coming off a loss, playing in a wildcard game, playing a preseason game, our practice habits are part of who we are.”

He went on to mention that despite not having much to play for, and several guys missing for various reasons, the intensity of practices has still been high. It’s something they’ve preached all year, and every guy on the team practices as if they are going to play in this game, so he doesn’t notice any differences this week than in previous weeks. As for how they practice, that’s looked a little different with more walk-throughs due to fewer bodies on the scout team, but that doesn’t mean they were less effective.

“That’s why I keep saying every guy that’s in this building and even virtually this week, are ready to go because of the way they go about their business. No man suddenly becomes different than his cherished thoughts and habits. It’s not like, all of a sudden, you’re in the playoffs and, boom, you forget how to work or, boom, you change who you are and how you’ve prepared for 17 weeks.”

On coaching a QB like Jalen Hurts

A lot has been made the past week about Hurts’ ability to stay pretty even keeled regardless of the situation, and Sirianni said that it’s a sign of a good player — like some of the other good quarerbacks he’s coached. Being able to look ahead to the next play and not get too caught up in whatever just happened, good or bad, and not letting themselves get too up or don.

“I think not only quarterbacks, I think that’s the common denominator among a lot of good players, is that they know how to block out what happened in the past and focus on the play at hand and focus on what their job is at hand.

Jalen has done a good job of that for the entire time I’ve been with him because we have been through ups and downs together, just like you would expect in a 17-game season.”

On Gardner Minshew asking about a starting role

Sirianni was asked about a report last week indicating Gardner Minshew met with him to see what he had to do to be the team’s starter following the Jets game. The head coach wouldn’t go into detail about whether or not that happened, or what was said — he cited his number one value of connection and how any conversations between himself and players will stay private.

“But I will say about Gardner [Minshew], he is a competitor. He is locked in, whether he’s the backup, whether he’s playing, right? He’s been in both scenarios this year with the Jets game, playing in that game, not knowing if he was playing in that game until late in the week.

The guy is going to prepare like crazy, no matter what the situation, and he’s competitive. Of course, every backup that we have on this team, if they didn’t want to be the starter, I would have an issue with them being the backup.

So, Gardner has played a lot of football in this league. I got a lot of confidence in him that he’s our backup and he’s the player that he is – again, we always talk about wanting your backup quarterback to be able to come in and function and give you a chance to win.

And we saw that. He was awesome in the game that he played against the Jets. And so, I would be disappointed if Gardner didn’t want to be the starter, but obviously Jalen [Hurts] is our starter.”