The Eagles lost in frustrating fashion on New Years Eve against the Cardinals, but head coach Nick Sirianni spoke after the game and said that they aren’t worried or concerned about how the team is playing.
“Obviously, we are not playing the type of football or coaching the type of football we want to be right now at this time. Again, we have to go back to the drawing board and think through everything, what we’re doing.
So, concerned? No, I don’t think we think that way. All I think we think is how do we get these things fixed. How do we get these things fixed. How do we put the players in positions to succeed. How do we execute as a team. And so that’s what’s going to be on our minds is how do we get these things fixed.
Worry and concern doesn’t get any problems fixed. It doesn’t fix anything. Getting in there, grinding, figuring out what the answers are, that’s what gets things fixed. Worry and concern does not.”
Here’s what else the head coach had to say:
On defensive issues
Sirianni admitted that the Eagles defense didn’t do a good enough job stopping the run, and the Cardinals were able to take a lot of chunks off the clock. He thought Arizona did a good job executing, but also noted that they have to do a better job of putting guys in positions to succeed and they have to execute.
“I still believe in the guys in that locker room, the players. I still believe in the coaches. I think we’ve got the guys in this place to get turned in the right direction. We don’t have much time, obviously, right. We’ve got one more game before playoffs starts, and we’ve got to do everything we can do to get back on track this upcoming week.
I think there’s been spurts, obviously, the last couple games where we played good ball on defense. Tonight wasn’t one of those times.”
He also suggested that former DC Jonathan Gannon likely remembered Washington’s game plan against the Eagles last year, and knew that keeping the offense off the field was a priority.
On Jalen Hurts’ performance
The head coach was asked about Hurts sliding a few times, resulting in third-and-long situations, but Sirianni admitted that the QB protecting himself is a priority.
“He needs to protect himself at all times. Obviously, he played an unbelievable game. The ball didn’t touch the ground very often. I don’t know what all his stats were, but I know the ball didn’t touch the ground. He was in complete control of the game, and he needs to protect himself in those times.
He took a hit on one of them earlier but obviously he’s able to get chunks in the run game. So, we still need to be able to use that. But when it’s time to call it quits, he’s got to do that, and we want him to do that.”
On the onside kick
Sirianni explained that their goal after an onside kick is to score. Obviously, they want to take time off the clock, with just over five minutes left to play, but they want to be aggressive in that situation and try and get into the endzone.
“You’re into a four-minute mode but you’re still being aggressive because they still have all the time outs. So, you’re able to pass. You’re able to get out of bounds. You’re able to get the first down. All those different things. Hey, they executed and they got off the field and they held us to a field goal. Just didn’t work out tonight.”
The head coach also admitted that he had no idea an onside kick was coming, and gave a lot of credit to the special teams unit for picking that up.
On game management
Sirianni disagreed that they were conservative on the final drive that included two QB runs and a screen to Kenny Gainwell. He explained that they were blitzing the gaps, so a gap scheme had a chance for them to pick up big yards.
“We could have thrown it there, too. We chose to go there. Hey, it didn’t hit. But I think that sometimes with the gap scheme stuff that you do, it’s more of, you’ve got to do some different things to cancel out gaps if they are bringing everything out.”
He was also asked about why they didn’t have any timeouts late in the game, and Sirianni was quick to take the blame for the miscommunications earlier on that used those up. The head coach said anytime they don’t have time outs at the end of a game, it’s likely linked to communication issues, which falls on his shoulders.
On his message to the team
“Stick together. Stick together. Everyone’s got to stick together. I think there’s going to be a lot of people trying to point the finger at different things and everybody’s got to stick together, right. We win as a team. We lose as a team. And together is the most important thing that we can be right now.
We are in the playoffs. A lot of teams want to be in the playoffs. We are in the playoffs. We still can do some things here and our goals are still in front of us. Can you get the 1-seed? Can you win the division? I know you can’t get the 1-seed now, but can you still win the division? Yes. Stick together because we still have goals, and we still have things that we want to accomplish.”
Sirianni acknowledged that their path through the postseason will be harder now that they don’t have home-field advantage, and can’t get the No. 1 seed, but said there are still opportunities for them to reach their goals if they get things fixed.