The Eagles are preparing for their Week 6 matchup with the Jets, and head coach Nick Sirianni spoke with reporters on Wednesday about how they approach that preparation. He also talked about Nakobe Dean and how the linebacker handled his time on IR, and about how they try to spread the ball around on offense.
Sirianni was asked about the team being animated on the sideline, and he admitted that he can’t really ask his players not to be animated when he gets so animated — joking that if he wasn’t allowed to be animated, he’d have to watch the game from the press box.
“I think that’s part of the game, emotions are part of the game. Getting to the root of the problem’s part of the game.”
The head coach said it was healthy, and that when you’re connected and together as a team, the only thing that matters is that they’re getting better from it.
Here’s what else he had to say:
On Nakobe Dean’s return
Sirianni said that they don’t have to make a decision about Nakobe Dean just yet, and whether he’ll play — or start. They will see how Wednesday’s practice goes, noting that Dean will be in more individual periods rather than team periods. The head coach also credited the second-year player for how he used his time during the injury.
“You don’t have to ask much of [Dean], he wants to be around at all times. He’s a football junkie. He’s always trying to be around it — you saw, he was at the games, and you don’t always take guys to the away games, but he really wanted to be there. He was great on the sideline, obviously we’d rather have him out on the field, but he was great on the sideline with his teammates, saying what he saw.
So I thought the way he went about his time off, again we’ll see what’s going on as the week progresses, but the way he went about his time off was really continuing to grow and get better. You just can’t keep him out of the building. You can’t keep him out of the film room.”
On preparing for the Jets
When asked about Jets’ QB Zach Wilson, Sirianni said that the quarterback is managing the game well and has a lot of weapons around him.
The head coach was emphatic that their preparation for this game didn’t start until this week, so Aaron Rodgers injured didn’t really affect how they were viewing this game. Sirianni explained that his approach is truly to take things one day, one game at a time, so they weren’t thinking about having to face Aaron Rodgers this season over the summer.
“I know the right mindset to have is to be completely locked in. And that’s something [reporters] don’t have to do that, I do, and the team does. Fans don’t have to do that, we do. If you slip up in this league, and you start looking ahead — if we would have looked toward the Jets in the offseason, or Aaron Rodgers, or anything like that, then we wouldn’t have been ready to tackle the day that we had ahead of us.
So, again, not a mindset I’m asking anyone to understand, but a mindset that’s necessary to be successful, in my opinion, in this league.”
He later talked about expecting the Jets to prepare for their Brotherly Shove QB sneak, but noted that defensive coaches are going to do that even without all the media talk around the play. Sirianni said that when a coach is watching the Eagles tape, they’re going to see the success of the play and know they need to find a way to stop it, and that would’ve been happening even if everyone wasn’t talking about it.
After having to face Aaron Donald last game, Sirianni said they’ll have to focus on Quinnen Williams this week. He acknowledged that they’re different types of players, but they demand the same kind of respect.
“Very good player. Excellent. And so, we have to know where he is on every single play, as well.”
Sirianni later talked about how the Jets are outstanding on defense, and while they have to be aware of Williams, they won’t be able to focus on him quite as much as they were able to against Donald. He said there was a balance they have to find, because they do have a really good front seven, and linebackers.
On spreading the ball around on offense
Sirianni said that while you might be able to try something with screens, it’s never ideal to try and force feed a player and waste a play. Sometimes guys will have down games, like DeVonta Smith against the Rams, but the offense runs through Smith, A.J. Brown and Dallas Goedert, not all will have big production every week.
“That’s what happens sometimes on teams that are really talented with the skill players like we have here. But, what it takes is our guys that are selfless, that care about the success of their teammate, and care about the ultimate goal which is winning. And I think those three are very selfless in their approach, and how they play this game.”
The head coach was also asked about DeAndre Swift, and the Sirianni pointed out how the running back has an amazing ability to get the ball, make a cut, and then accelerate again. He said it’s something you might not notice unless you see it up close every day. Sirianni was very careful not to compare Swift to Jamal Charles, but said that their ability to cut and accelerate is similar.
“[Swift’s] a really good player. We’re looking forward to his continued success, and trying to get him the football, as well.”