The Eagles came from behind to get a division win against the Commanders on Sunday and head coach Nick Sirianni spoke to reporters afterward about Jalen Hurts’ performance, A.J. Brown setting an NFL record, and his faith in Kenny Gainwell.
Sirianni quickly agreed that the Eagles didn’t have a pretty game on Sunday, and explained that they’ll go back and correct mistakes — notably needing to cut out turnovers —, just like they do after an ugly win, pretty win, or ugly loss.
“But, yeah, it wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t pretty at all.
Now, this is the National Football League and it’s tough to win games. We came into a road game, ended up winning, but we have a lot of work to do to make sure that we’re continuing to climb.
In this league, you have to be mentally tough to treat the walk-through, to treat the meeting, to treat the practice, the exact same way as you treat it after a win, after a loss, after Week 1, after Week 4, after whatever week we’re in right now. And I know we got the right guys in that locker room to make sure we’re getting better.”
Here’s what else the head coach had to say:
On Jalen Hurts’ performance
Sirianni admitted that the QB would have to answer about how his knee is feeling, but said Hurts played lights out.
“He played outstanding. Completely outstanding. I think what you’re seeing is how good he’s playing in the pocket when he maybe not feeling the best that he can feel and he can’t run, or isn’t running as much.
He’s playing outstanding football. I thought he played lights out.”
On A.J. Brown
Sirianni lauded the wide receiver, noting that Brown the exact same one-handed catch, against the same coverage, in practice just days before the game.
“It was huge.
That’s a big moment. Anytime you make a play like that, everyone feels that. Whether that’s Haason [Reddick] getting a sack when he did on the fourth down, or D’Andre [Swift]’s touchdown. Anytime there’s a play like that — this game is about momentum and our guys were able to hang on to some momentum after that.”
When asked about Brown’s NFL history-making day, Sirianni joked that he wants that jersey before the NFL can get their hands on it. He noted that the history of the league is special to him, and anytime you have a player that has done something for the first time is really cool.
“So, A.J. [Brown] has done it better over a six-game stretch than anybody ever to play this game, and that’s pretty special.”
Sirianni couldn’t say enough good things about Brown, calling him a great person on and off the field, and one of the best people in the locker room.
On the team culture
The head coach talked about how their big talking point this week was “belief” and believing in themselves and each other.
“Belief is built through trust, spending time together, practicing together, your past experiences — in football.”
Sirianni said that the team believes in each other because they put the work in, it’s not blind faith, it’s been built.
On the turnovers
Sirianni said that they weren’t going to overlook the fumbles just because they won, they “aren’t built like that,” so they’ll review the mistakes and try and rep them in practice to correct.
He was asked about whether giving the ball back to Kenny Gainwell after his fumble was by design or just part of the rotation.
“We don’t ever lose faith in Kenny. He had a fumble, and — if Jalen [Hurts] has an interception we don’t take him out, if Kenny has a fumble, we don’t take him out. If I’d have done that with A.J. [Brown] last year when he had a couple three games in a row with a fumble, that would’ve been dumb. So, you know, we trust him.”
- Sirianni said that they have a pretty good idea of what was happening with the defense allowing Sam Howell to get the ball out quickly, but it starts with coaches putting player in positions to make plays and then the players to execute.
- The head coach gave credit to Julio Jones and Jalen Hurts for working the play that resulted in the WR getting his first touchdown as an Eagle. Sirianni explained that the play went in on Friday, and it’s a play the players had a lot of conviction in it. They ran it twice in practice, the first time they missed — so, the pair worked on it about 15 times —, and then got it on the second attempt.
- He talked about how getting a win on the road, having some ups and downs, teaches them how to handle adversity and builds the character of the team.