The Philadelphia Eagles are one day closer to competing against the Chiefs in the Super Bowl, and for the third consecutive day we had a chance to hear from head coach Nick Sirianni. He talked about a wide variety of topics including how the team’s been able to stay so healthy, how A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith have been able to help each other, and his thoughts on carrying a 3rd QB on Sunday.
After a few days filled with travel and other obligations, the team got back on the practice field on Wednesday, and Sirianni said the guys were locked in.
“We understand that there’s a lot of distractions. There’s a lot of things that aren’t apart of our typical week, so we have to do our best to make sure that our routine stays the same in the midst of the madness.”
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On the team staying healthy
It was pointed out that prior to Sirianni’s era with the Eagles, the team had a lot of issues with guys staying healthy throughout the season, but under his regime they potentially have all 22 starters from Week 1 available for the Super Bowl.
“We spend a lot of time thinking about the players’ health and what we can do to keep them healthy, while also getting them ready to play football games.
We have a lot of different people that get me information — our strength coaches, our trainers, our doctors give me information. At the end of the day, I have to do what’s best, what I feel is best for the team as far as practice, getting them ready for practice, and everything like that. But, I’m not an expert in those things, so I use the experts advice. I got a lot of good people that are giving me information.
And, there’s a little bit of luck to it, also. But, we work really hard at the nutrition, at the sports science, everything that goes into it to keep the guys healthy because we have a lot of talented players on our roster, but if they’re not available, then their talents can’t be seen.”
On having a 3rd QB active on Sunday
The head coach was asked about whether or not the team would consider having Ian Book active on Sunday given what happened in the NFC Championship game to the 49ers. Sirianni acknowledged that they always talk about every possible situation, and everything is always on the table — he noted, however, he wasn’t going to give a definitive answer.
“As far as the rule change, I don’t really — I try to only control what I can control. After that, does the rule change? Maybe, but I don’t know, and we’ll just play the rules we have right now until it does change.”
On QB coach Brian Johnson
The quarterback have spoken this week about how Johnson has an ability to simplify things for them, and Sirianni explained that the QB coach does a great job of simplifying the checks, the reads, and the defense.
“Brian’s a really smart coach. Brian’s played the position of quarterback at a very high level — was he was second runner-up for the Heisman behind Sam Bradford? So, he’s played this game at a high level at Utah, and now he coaches at a high level.
I think what you always want for coaches is to make this game, which is complex, simple. Because they’re making these decisions in split-seconds and it’s hard to play this game in your mind super complex, you have to play it simple so you play fast. And, Brian does a great job of that.”
On WRs Brown and Smith
Sirianni talked about how both A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith are phenomenal receivers in their own right, and both have their own unique skill set.
“A.J. plays with strength and quickness, and really goes and plucks the ball in traffic, and DeVonta is this route runner that has a great feel and a great understanding of how to attack. And so, you take little pieces of people’s game and you use it.
So, there’s definitely things as far as route-running A.J. has picked up from DeVonta, and then there’s definitely things that DeVonta has taken from A.J. of how to use his body and how to create separation with his body like A.J. does.”
On Jordan Mailata
Sirianni was asked about the Aussie’s on the team, Jordan Mailata and Arryn Siposs. He, again, wouldn’t comment on whether Siposs would be ready to play on Sunday, but did talk about Mailata and the journey he’s had in Philly.
“What I really admire about Jordan is that he’s like a protector in many ways. That’s his job, to protect the quarterback, and then it’s just the way he is as a teammate — he protects his teammates, he loves his teammates, he fights for his teammates. And, so, super important to this team. Jordan Mailata is super important to this team. Guys love him, he’s a heck of a football player.”
He went on to say that we all know how good of a singer Mailata is, but he was really impressed that the former rugby player decided to take up a sport like football in his early-20s and now he’s one of the premier tackles in the NFL.
On Jonathan Gannon
“Our job as coaches is to take the players that we have and then put them in positions to succeed, where they can use their talents and have their talents shine. And, it’s also to teach them the fundamentals to take their game to another level.
And so, Jonathan does a great job at both those things.”
Sirianni went on to say that whenever he’s looking at a coach to be on his staff, he wants to know two things: 1) Can they scheme and put guys in position to make plays, and 2) can they teach the guys the fundamentals to allow them to get better.
“Jonathan Gannon does that, and he does that really well.”
- Sirianni was asked if he’s looking for any kind of revenge given that Andy Reid fired him when the former Eagles’ head coach took the Chiefs job. Sirianni said Sunday’s game isn’t about him, and he chose this profession and everything that comes along with it, including moving around and occasionally losing your job when an incoming coach may have other guys for his staff.
- Today was Nick Sirianni Day back at the high school in his hometown, and he joked that it’s probably because his brother and sister-in-law still teach at the school, but he’s flattered. The head coach said he put a lot of work in when he was in school, probably moreso athletically than academically, but it’s nice to be honored by them.
- Sirianni wouldn’t answer specifically about how the Eagles’ defense plans to stop Travis Kelce, but he did note that they’ll have to give him different looks and have to be aware of where he is at all times.
- He admitted that he used to be really aware of his game day rituals as a player and early on in his coaching career, but it got to a point where it was exhausting. Sirianni said he believes in routine, but that’s different from being superstitious — he noted that his superstition is to not be superstitious.