The Eagles are in Arizona ahead of the Super Bowl, but head coach Nick Sirianni is still talking to reporters like he has every week leading up to this moment — albeit to a slightly larger group of media members. He talked about his messaging to the team, something that’s been consistent since their 2-5 start back in 2021, and also spoke about Jalen Hurts, the core group of 4 veterans, and a whole lot more.
Sirianni was asked his opinion about Monday’s Opening Night, to which he smiled, and admitted, “There were some interesting questions.” But, he said it was cool for his guys to be able to see that and enjoy it, as long as they aren’t getting distracted by it.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On his consistent messaging to the team
Sirianni said that his message to the team on Monday was just to be locked in and to stick with the same routine they’ve had for the past 20 weeks.
After starting his first season as a head coach 2-5, Sirianni said that he found the resolve to continue based on his experiences. When he was in Indy, they started slow, too, but Frank Reich emphasized doubling down on everything they knew to be important, and Sirianni took that approach in Philadelphia.
“We talked about doubling down on connecting. Doubling down on competing, accountability, football IQ, fundamentals, and just continue to grow. Even though the outside world might not see that we’re growing, we knew that we were.”
So, Sirianni’s message was the same then as it is now, double down on the things that are important, and tweak things to improve the process along the way.
The other emphasis the head coach made, was not looking at everything they had to do to get to where they wanted to be, but rather take things one day at a time. That approach kept them focused on what they could do right now, and didn’t make things too overwhelming by looking too far in the future.
That has continued even into this week. Sirianni said they are still taking things one day at a time, regardless of the fact that they are preparing to take part in the Super Bowl.
“One day at a time. One walk-through at a time. One meeting at a time.”
On Jalen Hurts
Sirianni was asked if he’s ever taken aback by Hurts and his ability to stay calm and level-headed despite being only 24 years old.
“I think that’s just who he is. Regardless of his age, that’s just who he is as a competitor, as a player. I guess it’s rare in the fact that — I see it everyday, I mean, I witness it everyday of him just not being caught up in any moment, and that speaks to who he is, how he was raised, and that he’s steady. So, it’s impressive to see, but that’s what I’m accustomed to with Jalen, and he’s the same guy every day.”
On the Eagles’ 4 core veterans
Sirianni echoed what he’s said all season regarding the core four veterans on the team — Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson, Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox. He explained that he was super fortunate his first season as head coach because he already had 10-plus year veterans on the team, and guys who had already been to the mountain top, to rely on.
“Those guys are phenomenal leaders. They lead the way, not only in the standard of how to practice, how to meet, how to be a pro, how to take care of your body — like, this is unbelievable for a guy to have Jason Kelce for Cam Jurgens, that’s such an important thing for Cam and his development. And it’s the same thing for Jordan Davis with Fletcher Cox.
Got good leaders. Got good captains on this team leading the way.”
On their success in limiting turnovers
Sirianni explained that they work really hard to prevent turnovers, and on offense, there are some very specific fundamentals that they can focus on. Things like how to protect the football, how to carry the football, and making sure the QB knows where to go with the football on certain looks.
The head coach also talked about getting around Tom Rathman in Indianapolis, and learning how much more fundamentals went into teaching ball security.
“Our job as coaches is to make sure that we’re taking that talent that we get and maximizing it by putting them in the right positions and by teaching them fundamentals — and just harping on fundamentals, and being a pain in the butt about them, and not letting anything go.”
At the end of the day, though, Sirianni said that it’s all about the players going out on the field and executing what they’ve worked on in practice.
- The head coach was asked, with so much emphasis put on connection among players and coaches, whether he’s addressed that this will the last time this group of guys will compete together. Sirianni explained that they don’t look at it that way. They see Sunday’s game as another opportunity to play for each other.
- Sirianni didn’t want to say that A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith are competitive against each other, but rather help each other out and are happy for each other when one makes plays. He explained that the duo also understands that they help each other in the fact that if a defense tries to take one of them out of the game, the other will likely have a big outing.
- As always, Sirianni didn’t want to give away any competitive advantages, like what they are doing at the punter position. He mentioned that they don’t have to make that decision just yet, and they’ll see how practice goes this week.
- The head coach talked again about his history with Andy Reid, and said that he appreciated Big Red meeting with him in person in Kansas City to let him know that he wasn’t retaining Sirianni on his staff. Sirianni acknowledged that he didn’t have to do that face-to-face, but he always respected that Reid did.
- Sirianni was asked about Devon Allen, who he called, “a special athlete.” Allen had a few bright spots in the preseason, and they aren’t keeping him around because he went to the Olympics, he’s still on the roster because he’s someone they think can develop into a really good player.