The Eagles had a rough day in Chicago on Sunday, but eventually finished with a 25-20 victory. Head coach Nick Sirianni talked about the offensive playcalling, particularly in the first half, and why they didn’t lean more on the run game. He also talked about Jalen Hurts’ performance, the defense playing lights out, and what he thought about the Cowboys losing to the Jaguars.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On the first-half playcalling
Sirianni was asked about passing most of the first half and not utilizing the run game, he admitted that it was a little bit based on what the defense was presenting and a little bit of what they prepared earlier in the week.
“You think you have some matchups that you like, and I mean, at the end of the day A.J. [Brown] had 170 yards and DeVonta [Smith] had 126 — we saw some matchups that we liked out there. So, you know, I think that’s just how we went out today and it wasn’t our best game, as we know.
A lot of credit to them, I know that’s a really well-coached team. It’s a really well-coached team, that the team preaches takeaways and protecting the football, just like we do.”
The head coach said that he still needs to watch the tape to see what happened with the offensive struggles, but he doubled down with crediting the Bears for doing a really good job of making it hard for the Eagles on offense. Sirianni also mentioned needing to look more at what happened on the three turnovers, noting he has an idea what happened, but needs to dive deeper to have the correct coaching points this week.
On Jalen Hurts’ performance
“The weather — it was cold out there, and it was windy off and on, but he struggled a little bit. I mean, that early throw that got him a pick, he just doesn’t have a lot of interceptions, so I would say that that play was a struggle for him. But, he really bounced back and threw the ball well in tough conditions, and you have to be able to do that as we continue on.”
Sirianni mentioned again that it’s a necessity to be able to play in cold weather as the season goes on, and it was good to see Hurts make some good throws later in the game. He said they had a lot of confidence in Hurts and A.J. Brown on third down at the end of the game, and they were able to make the play and end the game with the ball in their hands.
The head coach went on to talk about Hurts being able to move on from the tough first half, explaining that the QB focuses on things he can control, which are the plays in front of him, not behind. Sirianni said that it’s not a surprise for them because that’s who Hurts is and who he has been since getting the Philly.
Sirianni admitted that Hurts will probably be sore from the hits he took on Sunday, especially on a short week, but he’s tough and he’ll be okay. He also mentioned that some of those big hits he took, like from the Bears’ linebacker, don’t hurt quite as much as they look when they’re squared up.
The head coach acknowledged that having a more QB-centric run game was part of their game plan heading into matchup. He did clarify though, that it wasn’t exactly a QB-centric game plan as much as reading things on the backside and having to pull the ball a few times — unlike Fields who had a few more QB-designed runs than Hurts.
On the Eagles defensive performance
“I thought the defense played lights out. I do think Justin Fields is special — he’s got some special abilities. I know our quarterback is special, as well, but give Justin Fields a lot of love right there, because you see him live — you see it on tape and you see how good he is, and then you see it up close and personal, and he’s special.”
On Dallas Goedert not being active
Sirianni said that tight end is “getting there,” but they’ll have to see how things go this week. Goedert did have a good week at practice with some of the things that he did, but they felt like he wasn’t quite ready, yet.
“When he’s ready, he’ll go.”
On Dallas losing to Jacksonville
Sirianni said that they found out when they got into the locker room that the Cowboys-Jaguars game went to overtime. He noted that he went into his office to think about what he was going to say to the team, and they all saw the pick-6 and end result.
“All we’re thinking about is how we’re going to make these corrections this week, and we’re on a short week, so today is like Monday. So, we’ll be working to fix the corrections from this game and then get going on Dallas. We have familiarity with them and they have familiarity with us. We know it’s a really good football team, I got a lot of respect for how well-coached they are at all fronts — offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, head coach —, and I got a lot of respect for those players that they have over there. So, we’re going to have to have our best week of preparation to make sure we’re ready to go 1-0 this week.”