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Nick Sirianni expects Kevin Byard’s experience to ease his Eagles transition

The Eagles head coach is excited to add Byard to the secondary, someone he’s heard a lot of very high praise about.

The Eagles are back to practice on Wednesday with a walk-through and head coach Nick Sirianni spoke to reporters before taking the field. He talked about adding Kevin Byard to the secondary, why he’s confident in Marcus Mariota, and how the Brotherly Shove is utilized.

Here’s what the head coach had to say:

On adding Kevin Byard

Sirianni recalled facing him as an opponent several times when Byard was in Tennessee and the head coach was in Indianapolis.

“Obviously, as a player, I have a lot of respect there, and then also I know some people in the building at Tennessee and that couldn’t say more good things about him. Very high praise as a player, very high praise as a person, very high praise as a leader, and so we know we’re not only getting a good player but also a good person. And that’s exciting, because when you get the right people in here, they can handle the ups and downs of a season.”

The head coach expects that Byard’s years of experience will help make the transition a little smoother, especially because he’s played in different systems. They’ll see how he’s catching on to things during Wednesday’s walk-through, and see how he’s communicating.

On QB2 Marcus Mariota

“[Marcus Mariota’s] great in the room. He’s got an ability to really be explosive, I think he’s a weapon with the ball in his hands, and we like the way he goes through progressions and throws the football.

He’s played a lot of football games and we have the utmost confidence in him that if he had to step in to play, he’d be ready to go because he’s a pro.”

Other notables

  • He didn’t want to comment on how Jalen Hurts was feeling, instead saying that’s a question for the QB, but did note they are hopeful that he’ll be able to play with no limitations on Sunday.
  • Sirianni said that he probably wouldn’t use the Brotherly Shove in strategic ways — like if they face a 2nd-and-1 late in the game, he wouldn’t take a knee to run the clock down knowing he could call the QB sneak on 3rd-and-1 or 4th-and-1. He explained that there’s a time and place for the play, and it’s not every time they have one yard to go. But, he emphasized that the whole team is confident in that play.
  • As for the offseason attention to the run defense, Sirianni said that anytime they self-scout, they look at how they rank in different areas, and last year they were middle of the league. So it was an area they wanted to improve. Just like now, the Eagles are middle of the league in turnover differential, and that’s an area they want to get better.

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