The Eagles are officially 1-0 after barely holding on to beat the Patriots, 25-20, but head coach Nick Sirianni was all smiles after the game. He admitted that there a lot of things they need to clean up in all three phases of the game, but said Brian Johnson did a great job with playcalling, and took responsibility for having to burn timeouts on special teams.
He was asked about Jalen Hurts’ performance, which was below expectations for the quarterback.
“I’ll definitely re-evaluate some of the preseason stuff next year. I know they played the first two years that we were here — they only played one series against the Jets in 2022. Maybe I should’ve played them a series or two this preseason, and I already wrote that in my notes, and I’m constantly self-evaluating myself. And, I’m not promising anything.”
Sirianni went on to say that giving it some thought, if he could do it over, he would have played the starters for a series or two in the preseason.
Here’s what else the head coach had to say:
On the offensive struggles
Sirianni credited the Patriots defense, saying that he’s seen DeVonta Smith get out of a few of those situations in the past, but not able to on Sunday. He also noted that New England’s defense made really good tackles, and it’s what he’d expect from a Bill Belichick coached team.
“Now, was it our cleanest performance offensively? No. We have a lot of mistakes to clean up, and we have a short time to do so. But, shoot, I thought that we just didn’t finish some drives. We got in a rut a little bit in the second quarter, and then didn’t finish some drives late in the game.”
The head coach went on to say that they have a lot of confidence in Jake Elliott, who was able to make some field goals and put them up a couple of scores.
He later explained the rut they had in the second quarter, noting that they weren’t winning on first downs and struggling on second downs. Sirianni said that it falls on everybody, starting with the coaches putting players in position to succeed, and then the players having to execute. He admitted he has to look at the tape, but pointed to both the run game and pass game for those issues.
The head coach was asked about Rashaad Penny being a healthy scratch, and he said that the three guys that dressed — Kenny Gainwell, Boston Scott, and D’Andre Swift — were the first three guys in camp, and it just came down to the numbers. Sirianni also acknowledged that he doesn’t want to come out of a game with Swift only getting two touches either, so the whole approach will need addressed.
He was also asked about Dallas Goedert only having one target, but Sirianni pointed to last year’s Lions game when DeVonta Smith didn’t have any catches.
“We can’t go a game without getting [Dallas Goedert] the football. He’s too good of a playmaker, but there are some that the Patriots did that made it difficult for us to be able to get him some quick, easy touches. That happens.”
On Brian Johnson’s playcalling
“I thought he was awesome.”
Sirianni went on to say that the OC adjusted well, and they didn’t have any communication issues or operation problems on the offensive side of the ball. Johnson was cool and calm, and had a great demeanor about himself.
“I thought he called a great game.”
He later disagreed about some of their third down play calls not being aggressive, namely when they ran the ball. Calling a run play on a 3rd-and-8 isn’t necessarily common, but they thought they were aggressive with that style of play.
On Sirianni’s situational playcalling
The head coach was later asked about staying on the field on 4th-and-2 at the two-minute mark, and he emphasized that he had conviction that the offense was going to succeed, conviction that they were putting players in position to succeed, and conviction that if they didn’t that the defense would get a stop.
He also mentioned that he had that same conviction when he declined a penalty that would have put the Patriots in position to possibly score three points. Sirianni knows that if it didn’t work out, he’d be the dumbest coach in the world, and if did, he’d be the smartest coach. But, to him, it’s not about the outcome exactly, it’s more about trusting the decision-making process and doing so with conviction.
On calling a timeout for special teams
“I hate that.
It was operation that we need to clean up. You’re not gonna come out and play your cleanest game — we talked about it an awful lot, but we had some mistakes and that’s on us as coaches. And, anytime you have to burn a timeout like that with the guys not on the field, is because we didn’t start, as coaches, communication first, and that’s always, always.
Don’t look at anybody else but me.”
Sirianni emphasized that it wasn’t the fault of Sean Desai or the defensive coaches, not the offensive coaches, or even the special teams coaches. It starts and ends with the head coach. He has to be the one to communicate whether they are kicking it, punting it, or staying on the field,