Eagles’ head coach Nick Sirianni spoke to reporters on Saturday, and talked a little bit about how Jonathan Gannon is helping the offense prepare for the Vikings on Monday night, and what he’s seen from first-year head coach Kevin O’Connell. He also addressed Jalen Reagor’s “revenge” comments, and why it’s totally normal for him to feel that way.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On Vikings prep
Sirianni acknowledged that it is an advantage that the Vikings defense runs a similar scheme to what Jonathan Gannon does with the Eagles defense. While he noted that there are still a lot of differences, being able to ask Gannon questions about certain situations, is definitely a benefit.
“I know I’ve mentioned this before, but that’s something I did with Jonathan back in Indy as well. Ask him, ‘Hey, what do you think they’re trying to do here? How do you think this route would work versus this? How do you think run will work versus this?’
So that’s always an advantage that you have, and that’s something that we definitely — again, we’ll leave no stone unturned, and definitely have had a lot of communication with the defensive guys this week.
Same thing, obviously Nick Rallis was on the staff at Minnesota, and so was Jonathan Gannon with some of these guys, and so we’ve had conversations about players as well and just different things that make them go.”
The head coach was asked about Jalen Reagor’s comments earlier in the week about revenge being on his mind coming back to Philly, but Sirianni completely understands that mentality.
“Any time we play a team that I used to coach on, I’m like, ‘Hey, let’s go’. I love those guys over there, but I really want to get the best of them because it’s just a continuation of all the times I used to go against them in practice.
I think that’s a normal reaction for anybody to have that is coming back to play at their old place. I just think that’s normal. Like I said, I go through it as well.”
Sirianni also talked about Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell and said that, while it’s a small sample size, he does see a bit of Sean McVay’s influence. He quipped that of course when you go somewhere new, you’re going to bring things that helped win a Super Bowl. Sirianni has a lot of respect for O’Connell and expects him to also put his own spin on things.
As they get ready to face two really good edge defenders, Sirianni admitted that it’s nice knowing they have some really good tackles in Lane Johnson and Jordan Mailata. He’s really happy with the development of Mailata, and Johnson is someone he considers the best right tackle in the league — and doesn’t think it’s particularly close. Still, they do work through whether they might need to give them some help in certain situations.
On being aggressive
The head coach was asked how his willingness to go for it on fourth down has evolved since last season, and he pointed out that they were pretty aggressive in 2021, as well. It’s something he studies a lot, and it’s not something they like to decide in-game, so they typically have some of those decisions planned out beforehand — same with third down calls.
Ultimately, it comes down to him being more comfortable being aggressive because of the reps he’s had with it. Not just necessarily game reps, but also the reps they work through in meetings. So, he’s more comfortable because they’ve worked through so many possibilities and have things planned out based on that experience.
He said that those reps also help with the third down calls, knowing what their plan is for fourth down.
“That’s a discussion that we have and that’s an advantage the offense has at times that the defense doesn’t know what mode you’re in. Are they in really a third and six mode or — are they really in a third and seven mode right here or are they in a go-for-it mode right here?
That’s a huge advantage that an offense has, is we know the mode we’re in, they don’t know what mode we’re in, and we can play — and a lot of different things can be alive.
So that’s what you’re trying to do always as an offensive coach. Trying to make yourself multiple so they have to defend a bunch of different things.”
- Sirianni likes what Britain Covey did as a punt returner, but said that they like Quez Watkins and the speed he brings as a kick returner. Although, the head coach didn’t want to commit to who will be playing what position on Monday night, but said he was happy with both of those guys.
- The head coach was asked about previous comments he made about WR Zach Pascall and him being one of the best No. 4, 5 receiver in the league. He said that there aren’t a ton of those guys out there, someone who is willing to go out there and do the dirty work. Sirianni said it’s also hard because you also have to feel confident throwing them the ball, in addition to the other things they’re being asked to do.