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Nick Sirianni says his confidence on 4th down comes from trust in Jalen Hurts

The head coach talked to reporters Monday and talked about their playcalling and gave some injury updates following the Jaguars game.

Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni spoke to reporters on Monday following the team’s win over the Jaguars and talked a little about some of the injuries sustained and their next man up mentality, as well as some of the decisions to go for it on fourth down.

Here’s what the head coach had to say:

On injuries and the next men up

As far as injuries go, Sirianni wasn’t ready to comment on anyone’s particular situation, noting they still need to see doctors and trainers, but in terms of the severity, he said everybody has a chance to play this weekend. He didn’t want to commit to that other than to say it’s a possibility for all of the guys injured in Week 4.

Sirianni went on to give credit to all the players who stepped into the game on Sunday. He acknowledged that those guys don’t always know when or if they’ll be playing in any given game, but they stay ready and prepare as though they’ll play during the week. The head coach thought all the guys who filled a role against the Jaguars did a nice job.

He later mentioned that they’ll leave no stone unturned in terms of making sure they have a contingency plan for all the starters who may not be back on the field just yet, including kicker Jake Elliott. Sirianni said that he’s hopeful the kicker will be able to play, but they’ll be ready in case he’s not able to.

“And then as far as Andre [Dillard], again, don’t have to do anything quite yet. Still working through some things. We will get you guys some more injury reports on Wednesday. But he’s really attacking his rehab. You know how I am, I don’t like to put a timetable on anything, but he’s doing a great job, trainers are doing a great job of working with him. He’s doing a great job of working like crazy to get back and he’s attacking his rehab with everything he’s got.”

Sirianni was asked about the decision to put in Sua Opeta when Isaac Seumalo went out versus rookie Cam Jurgens. He mentioned that the rookie is getting some cross training at the guard position, but is really spending a ton of time with Jason Kelce and Jeff Stoutland to learn the center position.

“Sua’s [Opeta] played a lot of good football for us at guard. Sua started in a playoff game at guard for us. Sua has been on that wall in the indoor as far as being parts of players of the game.

We’ve got a lot of faith in both of them. Just right now, at this particular time, Sua is the next man up at the guard position. Sometimes you do that because of the amount of reps, the amount of time that the guys are getting at the certain spots. That’s just what we feel best about it at this particular time.”

On 3rd down conversions and 4th down calls

It was pointed out that usually the Eagles convert about 40 percent of their third downs, but on Sunday against the Jaguars, it was about 26-27 percent. Sirianni gave credit to a well-coached defense with really good players, and didn’t want to use the weather as a reason because he felt the team did a good job playing in the elements.

The head coach also talked about why he had confidence going for it on fourth down several times on Sunday.

“The very first thing of why we go for it on fourth down, or why we went for it on fourth down yesterday, I trust our guys. Who do you trust? I trust Jalen [Hurts] to make the right decisions with the football. I trust Jalen if it’s a pass. I trust Jalen that if it’s a run that he creates an extra gap for the defense. I trust the heck out of our offensive line and I trust our guys on the perimeter to make a play with the football in their hands. I trust our defense if we don’t get it that they’re going to get a stop.”

Sirianni emphasized several more times how much he trusts Hurts, not only in those situations, but every time the ball is in his hands. He explained that trust grows as relationships grow, with each rep and conversation. The head coach mentioned that it’s not a blind trust, it’s something that’s been built up over time.

“Does that mean we’re going to be 100% in those scenarios? No. We were, what, 60% yesterday, right? But I still have that trust in him, and of course that is built through practice, that’s built through the reps you have at practice, that’s built through the reps you’ve had together in games, and that’s built through the conversations that you have throughout the week and throughout the months and throughout the years that you have together.”

On former Eagles TE Zach Ertz

The Eagles play the Cardinals in Week 5 and Sirianni was asked about Zach Ertz and how he helped put Dallas Goedert in a good position to lead the TE room.

“Zach is a really classy guy. He works his butt off. So my memories of Zach is the hard work he put in every single day to be at his best. I thought that you saw that every day at practice. You saw that every day at a game, that he worked his butt off to maximize his potential. Obviously he’s still playing at a very high level.

When guys work like that, that’s contagious and other guys see it, and obviously Dallas was able to see that. Again, I was only with the two of them for about five months, but I know that Dallas obviously saw the great playmaking ability that Zach has made in the past and how Zach’s an all-time Eagle, and I think Dallas saw the way — you guys can ask Dallas, but I think naturally, I saw it, you know, the way Zach worked.

Zach worked his butt off, and I’m sure he still works his butt off, and that’s why he’s still playing at a high level. A lot of respect for Zach Ertz.”

Other notables

  • Sirianni towed the company line about Dallas Goedert’s penalty to negate A.J. Brown’s touchdown, saying that he felt the refs got it right and made the right call. The head coach took responsibility for that play, and cited a timing issue for the flag — he didn’t want to give too much away about the actual play, but said they’ll coach it up for in the future. Sirianni followed up and confirmed that Goedert can’t engage until the ball leaves the hands.
  • He talked about the interception by James Bradberry, and not just the importance of the play, but the athleticism of it and how the CB not only made the catch but then was able to land on his back to keep the ball from hitting the ground. Sirianni said it was the type of catch they teach the receivers to make — which was even more impressive given the conditions they were playing in. Bradberrry is someone Sirianni is really happy to have on the team and he makes sure to tell the CB every so often.

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