The Eagles were back in Philly after their win in Arizona, and head coach Nick Sirianni spoke to reporters on Monday about the balance they try to strike with Jalen Hurts being part of the run game and keeping him safe. He also talked about preparing for the Cowboys, specifically Micah Parsons, and why they aren’t worried about how the series has gone in recent years.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On Jalen Hurts’ performance
Sirianni was asked how they balance letting Hurts loose in the run game with making sure he stays healthy. He admitted that they never want the QB to take a lot of hits — or any hits for that matter — but they also calculate what kind of runs they are. Seven of the runs on Sunday against the Cardinals were QB sneaks, which not that it’s entirely safe for Hurts, but that is a safer play than some of the other options.
“But we’re going to do what we need to do to win the football game. One of the things that makes Jalen [Hurts] a really good quarterback is the ability that he has to throw the ball, read the defenses, and have the ability to move around and make plays.
So, one big reason — you hear me talk about the offensive line every time I talk about our run game, of why our run game is good. Jalen has a huge, huge, influence on the backside of the run game because of his ability to run the ball.”
As far as taking hits go, Sirianni was also asked how Hurts was holding up physically at this point in the season. The head coach acknowledged that the QB is smart with how he takes hits and always tries to protect himself as best he can. Still, just like all the players, Hurts’ body isn’t going to feel as good as it did at the beginning of training camp, but that’s just the case when you’re five games in.
Sirianni also talked about how they gauge every play to make sure they aren’t putting him in harm’s way, and weigh whether it’s worth it in certain situations.
“What you’re not seeing is obviously the ways we’re protecting him when we say scratch that, get that out, move this out, change this guy’s blocking technique here. And I don’t want to get too far into that because I think that would be a competitive advantage if I get too far into this but, change this guy’s blocking technique here to allow him to not take this hit that we don’t want him to.”
Hurts has done a good job so far this season protecting the football, something Sirianni really emphasizes week-in and week-out. The head coach said it’s something that comes instinctually to the QB, probably based on growing up with a high school football coach as a Dad, and having college coaches preach it, as well.
“I think he has that innate reaction to knowing how important it is to protect the football, but of course, like anything, we’re trying to master the fundamentals of how to protect the football. So, him going through reads the way he’s going through reads, that helps protect the football because he doesn’t expose himself to as many hits when he is in the pocket and if he holds onto the ball.”
On the Cowboys
As they prepare for Dallas on Sunday Night Football, Sirianni noted that they’ll have to try not to allow their best players to wreck the game — like LB Micah Parsons.
“He’ll be accounted for every single play. That’s doesn’t mean he’s not going to make some plays here and there. He’s a really outstanding, outstanding player. I think we all know that. The league knows that. He’s proved it for the last year and a half.
So, we need to do our jobs as coaches and put the guys in positions to not only be at their best, but also to defeat their best, right, and contain their best. He’ll be thought about.”
It was brought up that the Cowboys have had the Eagles’ number in recent years, but Sirianni admitted they don’t care about that — bringing up that the Eagles hadn’t won in Arizona since 2001. He emphasized that nothing really changes for them as a team, their preparations will be the same and they’ll stay focused on just winning every day to get ready for Sunday. Plus, there’s been a lot of changes on the roster, so it’s not exactly the same team that’s struggled against Dallas lately.
“We know how big of a game it is because it’s the Cowboys, and we know how big of a game it is because it’s the next one, and we know how big of a game it is because it’s a division game.
We’re just going to go about our business that way to prepare like we always prepare and leave no stone unturned. So, we don’t get wrapped up in that. The best teams I’ve been on don’t get too wrapped up in all those different things and they go about their business this week to get ready.”
Sirianni said he hadn’t studied the Cowboys’ offense enough yet to answer about the differences between Dak Prescott and Cooper Rush, and deferred to Jonathan Gannon for that information.
- Sirianni was asked about the missed field goal at the end of the game and whether Milton Williams got a hand on it. The head coach admitted that it was hard to tell based on the tape, and since the guys had Monday off, he’d have to ask Williams about it on Tuesday.
- The head coach talked a little bit about A.J. Brown getting three catches in the opening drive but then nothing else the rest of the game. Sirianni noted that it’s not that they didn’t have anything planned for him, but sometimes the pass gets batted or the pressure off the edge affects the throw. Just like DeVonta Smith in Week 1, they might have more things planned for each guy that don’t end up working out for one reason or another.
- The Eagles knew the Cardinals were going to blitz a lot, but Sirianni pointed out that when they have six to block and Arizona bring seven, there’s going to be one guy that’ll get through. They did their best to adapt and he didn’t recall too many free rushers, and when a man did get free, Sirianni pointed to a missed coaching point rather than an error by a player.