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Nick Sirianni said Eagles struggles with their red zone offense is ‘100% me’

The Eagles’ head coach explained the decision to go with Kenny Gainwell over D’Andre Swift on the nine-minute drive to end out the game, and about some of their red zone deficiencies.

The Eagles were back to work on Wednesday, and have a short turnaround for their Sunday matchup against Washington. Still, head coach Nick Sirianni spoke a little more about some of the offensive decisions they made on Monday night against the Bucs, and explained his decision to go with Kenny Gainwell on the fourth-quarter series.

Here’s what the head coach had to say:

On the Eagles red zone offense

“We had the penalty on one that bumped us back, and the other ones, I felt like we just got to put the players in better positions, and that’s 100 percent me.

I came out of that — dragged myself through the mud there, and some of the things that we tried to do. We just gotta help ‘em be in better positions there. Both in the pass game and in the run game, we’ll spend extra time making sure that we’re doing what we need to do to fix that.

We’ve been really good in the red zone the last two years. Credit to the defense, they did a good job, but it’s not up to our standard of where we want to be.”

On RB roles on the 9-minute drive

He was asked about the decision to lean on Kenny Gainwell in the fourth quarter, after D’Andre Swift had the hot hand for the first three quarters. Sirianni explained that at that point, they were trying to pound the ball a little bit, and Gainwell is good in those situations and with protecting the football.

He wouldn’t specifically confirm that they were trying to preserve Swift with the decision, but noted that everything was in play. Swift had done a good job up until that point, and they chose to go with Gainwell for that series — the head coach joked that the series just happened to go for a really long time.

Sirianni went on to say that having a nine-minute drive in a four-minute drill was really outstanding by the OC Brian Johnson, the whole offense, including the offensive line. He made sure to give credit all around for the long drive, including Gainwell’s running, Jalen Hurts’ performance, A.J. Brown’s big third down conversion, and the catches made by Dallas Goedert.

The head coach mentioned that Howie Roseman reminded him that the last time the Eagles had a nine-minute drive was against Sirianni and the Chargers in 2017.

On D’Andre Swift’s performance

Sirianni later talked about Swift’s production, saying that in addition to a really talented offensive line, the RB has great vision.

“He’s doing a great job of seeing it, and seeing where the holes are, seeing where the cutbacks are, seeing when it’s not there and being able to bounce. I think he’s been able to do it — he can make you miss when you get out in the open field, he can jump over you, he can spin on you. And, so, there’s a lot of different ways he can create once it gets past that initial push.”

Other notables

  • Sirianni said that when they were first installing the “tush push” they didn’t have any concerns about whether it was a legal play. They were aware of the rules, knew it was legal, and it’s been a really good play for them.
  • The head coach was asked about balancing the workload of rookie Jalen Carter — who has been taking about 40-50 percent of defensive snaps — versus the production. He explained that it’s a long season, which is part of the reason for the defensive line rotation. The other part is keeping guys fresh enough throughout the game to come at an offense in waves. Sirianni did acknowledge that Carter’s snap counts could increase in the future, however.
  • They’ve been happy with Cam Jurgens at right guard through three games. Sirianni noted that being sandwiched between Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson certainly helps, but they’ve come out of each game happy with how Jurgens played.
  • Sirianni also talked a little bit about his philosophy regarding motions, and he pointed out that he never wants to do it just because, he wants to motion to create an advantage. He knows that the Eagles are at the bottom of league, in motion about 20 percent of the time — which he says is actually more than when they started.
  • The head coach said that he and the team were all really excited for Britain Covey to have a break out punt return on Monday night. Covey might not get the applause from fans that often, but Sirianni called him a locker room favorite, so they were happy to see him have a moment.

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