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Nick Sirianni defends Quez Watkins’ role in the Rams game

The Eagles head coach spoke on Monday about Quez Watkins’ lesser appreciated contributions, and also about rookie DT Jalen Carter’s “phenomenal” start to the season.

The Eagles are back in Philly after beating the Rams in Week 5 and head coach Nick Sirianni answered some questions about Quez Watkins taking so many more snaps than Olamide Zaccheaus, and spoke about how rookie DT Jalen Carter has been phenomenal up to this point.

He also talked about the slot position and how they rotating between guys, saying that it wouldn’t have been fair to put Bradley Roby out there all game after he hasn’t played this season. Roby, along with Eli Ricks and Mario Goodrich, played well collectively after Cooper Kupp had some big catches early in the game.

Here’s what else the head coach had to say:

On Quez Watkins’ role

Sirianni was asked about the disparity of snaps between Quez Watkins and Olamide Zaccheaus, and the head coach explained that was the plan. Zaccheaus has done some things really well for the Eagles offense, but what Watkins brings isn’t always highlighted. It’s a really deep skill group, and so he’s not going to have the same production that he did in 2021.

“What is unknown about Quez [Watkins], what can’t ever show up on a stat sheet with Quez, is his ability to stretch the field. His speed is real. And so, there’s a lot of things that happen where maybe it’s a slant that A.J. [Brown] catches where Quez clears the middle to make it a cleaner throw. So Quez’s speed brings a real factor.”

On Jalen Carter’s development

“First of all, phenomenal player who works really hard to continue to get better, and that’s been a phenomenal player through the first five weeks, right and so he’s just got to keep doing it. We saw that he was a phenomenal player in college, right. He’s had a great first five weeks. We have high hopes for him.”

Sirianni went on to say that Carter needs to keep proving it over-and-over again because consistency is what separates top players. The rookie has the talent, and has had a good start, but he needs to continue putting in the work and learning from the guys around him like Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham. The head coach also highlighted that Carter gets to go against a top-tier offensive line with guys like Jason Kelce, Cam Jurgens, and Sua Opeta.

“We won’t put him in Canton yet. He’s got to just keep going each and every day and getting better, and it’s about consistency. He’s got the ability to do it. He’s just got to be consistent with it, and that’s by working hard and growing each day.”

Quarter-season insights

DC Sean Desai

Sirianni that Desai has done a nice job this season — giving credit to the entire defensive staff, as well —, but said that the defensive coordinator did a good job adjusting against the Rams. Ideally, they need to make adjustments before halftime, but Los Angeles only had three drives, one of which was a two-minute, so there wasn’t much to complete that picture any earlier than he did.

On this year’s roster

“You just have a team that likes to have fun with each other and holds each other accountable. I think those are the things that stick out. We have won in a couple of different ways and that kind of shows the character of your team. I think you see — you guys get to see it Sunday, I get to see it Monday through Saturday —, a team that really works hard and has this growth mindset. You can’t have a growth mindset and then not go out there and practice your butts off. They go together, right?

So, our practices have been intense through these first five weeks, and we’ve handled the different scenarios. We had a West Coast game, we had a Monday night game, we had a Thursday night game, we’ve had a one o’clock game.”

Other notables

  • Sirianni said that Sua Opeta played a really good game on Sunday. He noted that it may have been Opeta’s first start of the season, but he had some playing time last year and stepped up in big moments back in 2021. They had a lot of confidence in Opeta to step into Cam Jurgens spot and the head coach said the OL did a great job against Aaron Donald.
  • He talked about their red zone struggles, and said it’s a top-down issue. It’s on him to work with the coaches to put the players in the best positions, and then it’s on the players to execute. For various reasons things didn’t work out on Sunday, and it’s something they’re evaluating to see what they did from a scheme perspective, as well as execution. Sirianni said that they’re all in it together, so it’s something they all have to get right in order to improve in that area.
  • On the Eagles offense scoring with 32 seconds to halftime, Sirianni said that it was a unique situation to be in, but OC Brian Johnson did a nice job and the players did a great job executing. The head coach said that was a momentum-shifting moment, filled with emotion. He also gave A.J. Brown credit for keeping his composure during the drive and making some really big plays.

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