The Eagles beat the Giants to close out the 2022 NFL regular season and earned the NFC East title and No. 1 seed in the NFC with the win. Head coach Nick Sirianni spoke to reporters after the game and admitted that Jalen Hurts was still hurting and sore from his shoulder sprain, but noted it was important to get him on the field to shake off some of the rust. Sirianni also talked about why this team has every reason to be confident, although not cocky, heading into the postseason.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On Jalen Hurts
Sirianni didn’t want to get into how much their game plan was designed to protect Hurts, but admitted that they didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks.
“We had to win the game, however we needed to win the game. And you saw, [Hurts] made some plays with his feet. They were doing a lot of different things on defense, just throwing some things out there, and we obviously, did some different things. We’ll always take into account the health of our players.”
The head coach later was asked about the offensive struggles and whether they were related to his injury.
“Where I thought the offense wasn’t good today was in the red zone. We were able to move the ball, we were able to get some short fields because of our special teams with some of the on-side kicks and the fake field goal that they did, so more my concern with red zone plan and execution.”
Sirianni said that Hurts has proved all year that he’s not just a zone-read quarterback, pointing out that the QB is in the MVP conversation because he does everything.
“We’ve won a lot of different ways this year. And just him fighting through what he fought through to get back — because, still, it’s not like he was perfect out there in terms of what he felt like. We didn’t feel like there was more risk, but I know he was hurting. He was hurting bad, but that’s the kind of competitor he is, that’s the kind of person that he is, the kind of teammate and leader that he is, that he was able to go out there and tough through it.”
The head coach later said that the bye week is really important for Hurts to get more time to rehab his shoulder injury, but at the same time, Sirianni noted that there was some obvious rust with the QB back, so it was good to be able to get him on the field.
On heading into the postseason
“This team has done some special things. Some of the records that this team has had, as far as A.J. [Brown] and DeVonta [Smith], to have two receivers to do that, the most points, the most wins — most importantly —, the most sacks, just a lot of great things to happen in the regular season. We understand that. So, that’s what we talked about a lot this week. We talked a lot about this week, about how we should be confident.”
Sirianni admitted that they didn’t play a great game against the Giants on Sunday, but this Eagles team should be confident. The head coach noted that confident doesn’t mean cocky, but with all the things they’ve accomplished this year, even after two losses in a row, they have a reason to be confident.
He said that winning the division was a great accomplishment, and they are taking things one game a time, but they have bigger goals. Although, later, Sirianni said that their next goal isn’t the Super Bowl, it’s the next day. Getting to that stage takes several wins in the weeks prior, so they have to stay focused and committed to their Dog Mentality.
Sirianni also talked about the advantage of having the extra bye week heading into the postseason, explaining that it’s an extra week to self-scout and to make corrections. Since they can’t be sure who they’ll be playing next, the head coach reiterated that this week will be mostly devoted to self-scouting, but they will try and get a little head start and have their staff start studying different teams.
- Sirianni said that winning pretty is not a priority, but they still want to be sure that they’re heading in the right direction. So, it’s important for them to make some corrections, highlighting that they didn’t think the play the last two weeks was up to their standard.
- The head coach said that there is a sense of pride being able to give his family NFC East Champion hats.
- Sirianni talked about all the foundation work they’ve put in through last year and this year, and how they’ve continued to improve along the way, and that’s what they’ll continue to do through the playoffs. He mentioned that when he’s likely to yell most is when a mistake is made a second time, not the first, and so they have a big focus on fixing mistakes and they’ve done that consistently.