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Nick Sirianni explains the balance of pairing explosive plays with protecting the ball

The Eagles head coach also took responsibility for the Jalen Hurts to Kenny Gainwell pass that was picked off in Week 2.

Eagles’ head coach Nick Sirianni spoke with reporters on Friday ahead of their game against the Commanders, and he talked a lot about how they work on pairing explosive plays with protecting the football.

Sirianni was asked how they allow Jalen Hurts to play big, while also trying to mitigate turnovers — the QB has only had one turnover through two games. The head coach said that the two stats, other than wins and losses, that they look at and focus on, are winning the explosive play battle and winning the turnover battle. It takes a lot of work, but those two areas are worked on throughout the week.

The head coach explained that because they put so much work on the fundamentals and keeping the ball safe, they are able to be aggressive without being careless with the ball.

“So, you can be aggressive and still be able to protect the football. As far as the interceptions go, you can be aggressive and still protect the football.

That doesn’t mean careless, though. Yeah, that play’s there, I’m trying to take this deep shot right here. Is it there? No. Check it down. Is it there? Yeah. Got a step, take it.

So, we don’t ever want to freeze him in those scenarios, but hopefully we have done enough to teach him, hey, this is what it looks like when it’s there and here is what it looks like when it’s not there, and let’s move on.”

Sirianni was then asked about the interception from Monday night on a pass from Jalen Hurts to Kenny Gainwell, but the head coach took responsibility for that turnover.

“That was on me. I just felt like I didn’t love the way that looked as far as to the quarterback’s eye and to the running back’s eye.

So, it was a little muddy in there. When it’s muddy, and I knew it could be muddy in there, and so it was something I thought that was 100% on me.

We needed to have a little bit more reps. I had to feel a little bit better about it to call it. That’s a good lesson for me, right, in the sense of if you’re not really convicted on a play or a scheme because of something, the way it looks, then don’t run it and that’s 100% on me.”

As for explosive plays, he’s also expecting the same from the return game. Sirianni later acknowledged that he does pay attention to average field position — the Eagles are last in the league —, and where they’re getting the ball to start a drive. The head coach doesn’t spend too much time on it because he knows it changes throughout the year, but he expects it to get improve.

Other notables

  • After watching the defense’s film from Monday night, Sirianni said that Hasson Reddick looks like he’s really close to having a big game. In his experience, sometimes defensive ends need a couple weeks to get warmed up, and then they have a breakout game.
  • Sirianni echoed what Shane Steichen said on Thursday about their use of 11 personnel on Monday. That was just the case for the game plan against the Vikings. He did say that when you get hot with something, you stick with it, but that could be any of the personnel groupings in any game.

“So that’s kind of how that’s been. We don’t want to be predictable in anything we do. But then again, we want to put our best players on the field. I think for the most part, we’ve always been more dominant of 11. I don’t want to say by a lot, by significant like we were on Monday night, but we still want to be balanced in that.

That’s just the way that game plan went right there and the way the game shook out.”

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