Meet the New Boss

Posted: January 29th, 2021 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 4 Comments »

It is officially official. No takesie-backsies. Nick Sirianni is the Eagles new coach. I know this because Sirianni finally had his introductory press conference. It was…interesting.

Jeff Lurie opened and talked for 15 minutes. He then handed the baton to Sirianni, who talked and answered questions for about 40 minutes.

This wasn’t Sirianni’s best day. To say he was kind of nervous would be like saying Andy Reid kind of likes cheeseburgers. It was awkward. To be fair, doing this via zoom could not have been easy. Go back and re-watch Doug Pederson’s intro pc. He talked to the crowd and had people on the stage with him. There was a vibe in the room. That was a much more natural setting.

If we move past the awkward delivery and focus on the answers, Sirianni said some useful things. I thought he made a compelling argument for his key hires, OC Shane Steichen, DC Jonathan Gannon and QB coach Brian Johnson. Sirianni has worked with the two coordinators. He explained that their time together was like a 3-year job interview. That’s a twist on just hiring guys you know. Sirianni essentially pointed out that he truly knows them and that lessens the risk of making a bad hire.

I loved his answer on Johnson, who can be a good teacher, but also brings college ideas with him. Sirianni said the Colts hired Tom Manning from college and liked the ideas he brought to them. He wants Johnson to do the same thing for the Eagles.

Sirianni told a good story about the value of preparation. He showed some new assistants the clip of Villanova hitting the game winning shot in the NCAA title game over UNC. After the clip, Villanova players explained that they had practiced that situation all year so they were ready when it actually came up in a game.

This reminds me of a Jon Gruden story. Tampa had never won a game in cold weather. Gruden had QB Brad Johnson wear a glove one day a week in practice starting in July. He wanted Johnson ready for the cold weather. Unfortunately that helped Johnson be ready for the 2002 NFC title game when the Bucs beat the Eagles. You don’t prepare when situations come up. You do it all year to be ready for when they do come up.

Sirianni got a lot of questions about Carson Wentz and the QB position. He would not commit to anything, repeating over and over that he still needed to study tape and evaluate the roster. No surprises here. It would have been fun to get a commitment, but this is a complicated situation and one that needs to be handled just right. Today wasn’t the day.

He did offer this.

Safe, smart answer. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.

Jimmy Bama asked him who had control of the roster. Sirianni said Howie Roseman will have control of the 53-man roster, but that he would have control of the gameday roster. I think that is pretty common in the league. Some coaches do have full roster control, but even then it is going to be a collaborative process.

When asked about his offensive philosophy, Sirianni said he wanted to be multiple and to focus on calling plays that fit the players. He talked about how the Colts had different starting QBs in 2018, 2019 and 2020. They adjusted the offense for each one. Sirianni did say there would be core plays, but he wants to find ways to utilize his players more than show off a specific scheme.

He didn’t get into this today, but it sure seems like the coaches will focus on creating matchups. That’s what he did in Indy and what Johnson did when he was at Florida. Scheme up things so players are in a good situation and can get open. That was a real weakness of the Eagles last year.

Sirianni will be calling plays for the first time in the NFL. He was asked about that and gave a good answer. The gameplan is put together Monday through Saturday. Multiple coaches and the QBs all have input. A play sheet is put together with all kinds of plays for situations. When it is 3rd-and-3, he just looks at the sheet to see what his options are. It isn’t like he’s out there with the playbook, thumbing over to the “Let’s Get A 1st Down” section.

That said, there is an art to calling the right play at the right moment. We’ll have to wait and see if Sirianni is good at that. I’m sure there will be ups and downs as he gets used to it.

There are plenty of people ripping on Sirianni for the awkward PC. That’s fine. Part of being an NFL head coach is your ability to communicate with the media and the public. When you take that job, you open yourself up to criticism from everyone.

I’m not overly concerned. I like his background and the actual message he shared in the PC. I think he’s a grinder type of coach and I tend to like those guys.

Leonard is a LB for the Colts. He’s taking up for Sirianni, who never coached him directly. I think that is a great sign. The most important thing for a coach is to connect with his players. It sounds like Sirianni did that in Indy.

It is going to be really interesting to see if he pans out. There is a strong argument for and against him. I like what he’s done so far so I’m optimistic for now.


4 Comments on “Meet the New Boss”

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