The Eagles have a short week heading into their Week 3 division game against the Washington Commanders. Head coach Nick Sirianni spoke to reporters on Wednesday and talked about preparing for Carson Wentz and leaving no stone unturned, as well as talked about Jalen Hurts’ ceiling, and ignoring the outside noise — both good and bad.
Sirianni’s message to the team last week was about connection, and this week it’s about competing with a focus on how they need to practice utilize their time in a short week.
Here’s what else the head coach had to say:
On facing Carson Wentz in Week 3
Sirianni was asked if he has to address Wentz’s time in Philly with the team ahead of Sunday’s game, but the head coach pointed out that what needs addressed is that you never leave a stone unturned. This is something he’s talked about a few times this season when asked if they watched Hard Knocks before facing the Lions, or if he watched head coach Kevin O’Connell’s press conferences before facing the Vikings.
So on whether he would be talking to people around the building who knew Wentz, the answer is yes, the head coach admits he’s looking for information.
“I think he’s doing a nice job over there, Like what I’ve seen — I’ve seen, obviously, he’s thrown for a bunch of yards and we know that he can get hot, and be really on, and we know he’s powerful with the ball in his hands and he can make a play at any time. So, we’re going through our process to get ready for him and we know he can make a lot of plays.”
He didn’t want to admit that he spoke to Frank Reich in Indy about Wentz, but said that he’s talked to some of the other Colts’ coaches, and emphasized again that he leaves no stone unturned.
Sirianni later kept things vague about whether he was planning for Wentz to be his quarterback last season — the QB was still on the Eagles roster when Sirianni was hired. He said that he reached out to a lot of players at different positions to start building relationships, but ultimately, he didn’t do any sort of planning because he wanted to evaluate every player in person versus from their tape.
On second-half offense vs. Vikings
“I took my foot off the gas, and I forced Shane [Steichen] to take his foot off the gas, and I know I did that. That’s not good enough on my part. So, you know, there’s a lot of room for improvement — the penalties, we’ve got to clean to clean up. The communication was better from Detroit. So, you’re just hoping to see that improvement each and every day.”
On Jalen Hurts’ ceiling
Sirianni was asked if the quarterback’s performance on Monday night changed his perception of what Hurts’ ceiling is.
“I don’t think I know what his ceiling is yet, you know, I just continue to see him get better. So, yeah, I knew he had it in him. Again, I’m not surprised by anything that Jalen does on the football field because I’ve seen him doing this all offseason, all training camp, practices, the meeting room. I see his growth consistently all the time.”
On tuning out the outside noise
Sirianni said that he was blessed to have great captains and leaders in the locker room, including four lineman — Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson, Brandon Graham, and Fletcher Cox — who have “climbed the mountain” and know what it takes to get the job job done. He said that when his guys are just focused on their job and getting better everyday, it doesn’t matter what people on the outside are saying — whether it’s saying how good they are like this week, or how bad they are like this time last year.
There’s a similar mentality with defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, who didn’t pay attention to all the noise following their rough Week 1 performance against Detroit’s ground game. Sirianni said that the DC just went back to work, had a list of things he wanted to clean up, and then focused on putting players in the best spot to be successful.
“He didn’t allow anything to affect him on that. That’s a great quality to have — not everybody has it. Not everybody’s built to coach, I get it. Not everybody’s built to coach in this city or play in this city. But, that’s why we’re trying to create this mindset. The common denominator of players that are really good have this mindset of I am in the moment of where I am right now, and I’m not worried about anything else. That’s dog mentality”
- On the illegal down field penalties they’ve racked up in just two games, Sirianni admitted that the refs made the right calls on Monday night. The head coach took responsibility for one of the penalties — on a screen —, acknowledging that he tried to make a change to the timing of something to throw off the defense, but it didn’t work and resulted in a flag. Still, he says they’ve had some explosive plays come from that particular call, so they’ll work at it and coach it better, but the play isn’t going anywhere.
- Sirianni said that the relationship between quarterback Jalen Hurts and OC Shane Steichen continues to grow and strengthen. They’ve spent a lot of time together watching film and talking through plays and preferences, so that rapport is bound to grow.
- The head coach was asked about Zach Pascall and he lauded the wide receiver for the work he’s doing on special teams and as their enforcer at times. He mentioned that Pascall is doing what they ask of him and his role is one that will be rewarded when possible with a target that can turn into an explosive play.