The Eagles had a few days off, and while players aren’t back in the building just yet, head coach Nick Sirianni was on Monday and spoke to reporters about fill Avonte Maddox’s role in the slot, what he’s seen from the offensive passing game, and why traveling Eagles fans give them an advantage. He also admitted that not going for two points at the end of the Vikings games was a mistake.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On Avonte Maddox’s injury
It was reported earlier on Monday that Maddox would be undergoing surgery, and while Sirianni wouldn’t confirm that the CB has a torn pec, he acknowledged Maddox will be out for awhile. The head coach said that they feel like they have good options in-house to fill his role in the slot.
“Listen, are we gonna miss Avonte [Maddox]? Of course we are. He’s a great football player who’s made a lot of plays here, and I thought he was playing really good football — really being aggressive, caused that fumble, and then made some really good plays on the perimeter. So, we’ll miss his contributions, both as a teammate and then on the field.”
Still, he went on to note that they like the options they have, explaining that’s why the do so much cross-training in the offseason. Whether that’s moving a CB, a safety, or someone already at nickel, they have depth they feel comfortable with. Of course, he wasn’t willing to share any information, as that’s a competitive advantage heading into their next game.
He later talked about Mario Goodrich and Josh Jobe, and said they were happy with their performances on Thursday night. It was some of the most extensive playing time they’ve had in their careers, and everybody has things they need to improve on, but they were happy with what those guys did.
On the Eagles’ passing offense
Sirianni said that part of the issue with the passing game is that they’re taking what defense’s are giving them, and they were able to have a lot of production in Week 2, but getting the ball down the field just looked a little different. He said that they aren’t hitting the panic button, and fortunately for them, they’re able to win on the ground and in the air depending on what the defense is giving them.
“I thought Brian [Johnson] and the offensive staff did a phenomenal job of saying, ‘Hey, okay, they’re packing this in the middle of the field right here, and keeping all these guys high having this three-down front. Alright, cool. You guys are doing that, we’ll do what we have to do to win the game.’
So, Jalen [Hurts] was 18-of-23 in that game, so he was completing a high percentage of his passes, it’s just we had 48 runs to 23 passes. Well of course your run stats are gonna look different than your pass stats, and it’s going to appear that your pass stats may be down.”
The head coach went on to admit that their Week 1 performance wasn’t their passing game, either, but noted there were some similarities with that game plan.
Sirianni later talked about how he addresses the team before the season, noting that there are going to be weeks where someone might get more touches than others, and how they have a lot of playmakers to spread the ball around to. Still, he feels like the guys in the locker room genuinely like and care for each other, as well as ultimately just want to win. And in games where they only have 23 passes compared to 48 runs, there isn’t going to be enough targets to get everyone a share.
He went on to quip that on a frustration scale of what he’s seen between receivers and quarterbacks, what he saw from A.J. Brown to Jalen Hurts on Thursday night would be a 2-out-of-10.
On facing the Bucs
Sirianni smiled while talking about how well Eagles fans travel, and said it feels like they travel well for every game and they really appreciate that.
“We feel like it’s a big benefit, and so, to the Eagles fans that live in Florida, we look forward to seeing you there and seeing the green and hearing the crowd noise. We get excited about that. So, yeah, big advantage for us that we have the best fans in the world and then that they also travel well.”
- As for some of the other injured guys like, Kenny Gainwell, James Bradberry, and Reed Blankenship, Sirianni said he’ll never put a timeline on injuries, but that they’re hopeful they’ll all be able to play on Monday. Still, they have a long week to see how things look.
- After the final D’Andre Swift TD against the Vikings, up 12 points, the head coach was asked why he didn’t go for 2 points, and he admitted that he should have. Looking back, Sirianni said that he didn’t do a good enough job with that play call, and should have gone for two.
- Despite Swift’s big game in Week 2, the head coach said that he feels confident with all the running backs on the roster, and how they utilize those guys is going to look different each week.
- Sirianni said that he isn’t concerned with the number of sacks so far this season, and was sure to point out that sacks aren’t just a product of one position — it could be an offensive lineman, a running back, a receiver running a poor route, the QB holding the ball too long. Early in the season, they’re going to run into these types of issues, and it’s about getting them sorted out and learning from them.