Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni spoke to reporters on Monday and gave several injury updates, as well as what they’re thinking for C.J. Gardner-Johnson once he’s ready to get back on the field. He also talked about Gardner Minshew’s performance against the Cowboys and defended his decision to spike the ball on their final offensive drive rather than call a timeout — a decision he said he would make again without question.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
- Sirianni acknowledged that both Avonte Maddox and Lane Johnson were injured during the Cowboys game and didn’t return, and while they are both expected to miss some time, they won’t put a timetable on anything.
- He pointed out that Jalen Hurts worked really hard to be able to play against Dallas, so they are still taking things day-by-day with the quarterback and aren’t ruling him out just yet against the Saints.
- As for C.J. Gardner-Johnson — who is eligible to return this week — Sirianni said that they need to see how everything is healing, which isn’t something they can physically see without a CAT scan. He noted that as much as they want all the guys to play, they’ll always prioritize their long-term health over their availability.
“Especially with something like Chauncey is going through. It will always be about where he is, because that’s something you don’t mess around with. So, when he’s healthy, he’ll go. We’ll find out more as he gets some of these tests done.”
Sirianni later talked about the team being very well-equipped to handle of these injuries and still continue to win. He noted that he’d be worried if the locker room wasn’t filled with guys who love football with the right mental makeup, as well as great team leaders. They’ve been talking about adversity coming at some point in the season since back in training camp, so the team isn’t fazed by needing to rely on their depth.
“Are they still hard? Absolutely they’re still hard. Are we still mad about our loss? Absolutely we are. Sometimes that fuels you to dig a little bit deeper so you don’t let each other down.
That’s where we are right now. We are going to dig deeper, find more answers.”
On where C.J. Gardner-Johnson would play
Sirianni was asked about where CJGJ would line up when he does return, especially given Avonte Maddox’s injury. The head coach acknowledged that he has a lot of versatility, and while he hasn’t played nickel in over a year, he can still do that if needed. That’s something they’ll figure out when CJGJ is ready to return.
“He’s been around. I love having him around. He has great energy about himself. He’s always positive. I know the guys like being around him. I like being around him.
So, as he’s gotten healthier, as he’s been able to get up and move around, he’s been around the team more and been in meetings and out at walk-through at times as his body allows him to be.”
On Gardner Minshew’s performance
Sirianni said that Minshew did a really nice job against Dallas, while pointing out that they quarterback would want a couple plays back.
“I thought Gardner really handled himself with a lot of poise. I thought he made some really nice plays. We were texting back and forth yesterday, I’m just going through corrections with him as I am texting him, and then also just some of the plays I thought he was really good.
The plays that I was texting him that I thought were really good far outweighed the ones that I was giving him corrections on, so I thought he played well not having played in a year and coming in there. But we kind of expected that out of Gardner because we have so much confidence in him, and we know what type of player he is.”
As for Minshew spiking the ball late in the game instead of making a play, Sirianni emphasized that he liked the decision and would do the same thing again to save the timeout. They still had about 33 seconds on the clock, and he understands that it gives them one less down to move the sticks, but it opens up the field.
The head coach noted that he didn’t even think the spike would be something that was talked about after the game, until he was prepped for his press conference. To him, it was and still is a no-brainer
“Yeah, feel really good about that decision. Obviously, we didn’t end up winning the game, so I also understand that my job as a head coach is to take criticism on that, and that’s okay. I know what I signed up for, but I would do that same thing again if I was presented with that situation tomorrow.”
- Sirianni acknowledged that Sunday’s game against the Saints affects both winning the NFC East and giving them a preferable draft pick in 2023.
- A.J. Brown mentioned post-game the challenges of playing three road games in a row, and Sirianni said that it’s always an advantage to be able to play at home in Philadelphia, especially with how electric the stadium is. But, he did disagree with Brown a little bit, saying that they’re so focused on each week’s game, they aren’t necessarily looking at how many in a row they’re on the road.
- The head coach said that he didn’t think the three interceptions when Quez Watkins was targeted was a common theme, but more coincidence. He admitted that Watkins would want the second one back against Dallas, but the outcome of the game was from more than just one play.