The Eagles had one more practice on Thursday before their preseason opener on Saturday night against the Ravens, and head coach Nick Sirianni spoke to reporters about how he decides who will play, why he felt he and the coaches needed more game-like reps on Wednesday, and his thoughts on the Derek Barnett/Landon Dickerson scuffle.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On their Preseason Week 1 game
Sirianni said that he doesn’t have to make any decision just yet about whether the starters will play in the preseason opener on Saturday, joking that he never gives that information before it’s time. Which means he also wouldn’t answer questions about how he’d handle depth player reps or whether the quick turnaround for Week 2 of the preseason is affecting his decision.
He was asked whether Jalen Hurts getting hit late in the first preseason game last year would affect his decision with regard to playing time, but Sirianni said that he knows guys are going to get hit, so it’s more about whether any player needs the reps in a preseason game. That was one reason he was so reluctant to give an answer because that could even change after Thursday’s practice.
The Ravens have won 24 preseason games in a row, an NFL record, but Sirianni said he always wants to win and compete.
“Anytime we go out there, we want to look sharp, we want to play clean football, we want to compete at the highest level, and that’s no different whether they’ve won 24 in a row, or lost 24 in a row.”
Sirianni later talked about how the game is a great opportunity for young guys to get game reps, as well as acknowledged that the Eagles can only keep 53 guys, so these preseason games serve as a chance for guys to show what they can do.
On moving practice to the Linc
As for why he made some changes to the practice schedule this week, and why they went to the Linc on Wednesday, Sirianni said that they need to play and coach in as many game-like situations as they can.
“I thought it was a good opportunity for us. We went to the stadium [Sunday], and there were some things that I needed to work on as a head coach with some game-management things, and I also wanted the coaches to practice some more of the communication of what’s going on before our first preseason game. And so, that was more about coaches getting over there and going through their reps so that we’re operating at Game 10 when we’re on Game 1.”
Sirianni went on to say that he really wanted some more reps for himself, and had the self-awareness to know that after Sunday’s practice, he needed to work on being more locked in.
“I love his competitiveness. I love how tough he is and everything like that, but in a scenario like that, you can’t react. Anytime you get a personal foul, you always want to talk about, ‘Hey, we can’t do that because we gotta fight them within the next play, legally.’
Actually, we didn’t watch the tape as a team yet, we will tonight, and so that will be my message.”
Sirianni said that it will be a good teaching moment for him and the team.
- The head coach pointed out that just like everything else, they have to get so many reps at certain situations — some of which may have come from their own games, or something they saw from another team.
- Sirianni said that the defensive starters are doing a good job adjusting the DC Sean Desai, noting that they aren’t making a lot of mental errors and are locked in and making plays.
- When building the offense during the offseason, Sirianni said that he took into account both the players and their abilities, as well as what defenses might try and do to stop things they’ve had success with.