Eagles’ Sirianni: ‘I love this roster; I love our defensive roster’

Things started well for the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday in Las Vegas against the Raiders. Philadelphia went on an eight-play, 67-yard scoring drive on the team’s opening possession, resulting in a 13-yard TD pass from Jalen Hurts to Kenneth Gainwell to take an early 7-0 lead.

Philadelphia committed to the running game on that series, and Miles Sanders rushed for 25 yards on five attempts.

However, it was all downhill from there. The Raiders would score 30 consecutive points and take a 30-7 lead into the fourth quarter. Philadelphia would score two meaningless touchdowns in the fourth and would fall to the Raiders 33-22. 

Philadelphia had a difficult time stopping the Raiders’ offense. Las Vegas quarterback Derek Carr was 31/34 for 323 yards and two touchdowns, interception. The Raiders had 442 yards of total offense.

Following the game, Eagles DT Fletcher Cox, who was notably frustrated during the game, appeared to take a shot at Eagles DC Jonathan Gannon after he was asked about a screen play.

“I don’t get paid to play screens,” Cox said after the game. “I get paid to sack the quarterback, play in the backfield, tackle. I don’t get paid to play screens. We get screened all the time. Get out of stack and run to the football.”

On Monday, Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni addressed Cox’s comments.

“You know what, frustration, everyone has frustration after you lose,” Sirianni said. “As players, coaches, everybody is going to have frustration. We’ll talk about everything. We’ll talk through it. We’re going to address anything that we need to address as a team. But I’ll keep those conversations private that we’ll have there.

“I understand Fletch’s frustration. I’m frustrated. He’s frustrated. We just got to do everything we can do to get the ship righted.”

Not many expected the Eagles to be very good in 2021. Plus, the early part of their schedule was challenging. After winning their first game on opening day, Philadelphia has lost two straight and five of its last six games, but the next ten games should be manageable for the Eagles starting next week on the road against the Lions. In those ten games, Philadelphia plays three teams who are currently above .500. 

However, none of that matters for the Eagles if they don’t play better on both sides of the ball. Defensively, the question becomes, is it Gannon’s game plan, or is it the players? The linebackers are below average, the secondary is below average, and the defensive line is average. They are not getting after the quarterback with their front four, and they’re not blitzing, so the secondary is getting exposed. Also, they are not stopping the run. Philadelphia is 28th against the run, so teams are doing anything they want against this Eagles’ defense. 

According to Sirianni, he has had conversations with Gannon about making changes to the defensive schemes.

“Well, with our conversations, Jonathan and I’s conversations, it is just mixing up the coverages. He did that a little bit more yesterday. Still, it didn’t, obviously, work in the sense that [Raiders QB Derek] Carr was 31-of-34.

“We just talked a lot – we know we can get home with our four defensive linemen when they’re there. We just talked a lot about tightening it up as far as the way we’re mixing in some man-to-man, the way we’re mixing in some of the zones with the man-to-man. Just different ways to challenge on the perimeter and get our hands on balls and get in the throwing lane. That’s been the main discussion. It’s been more about to be able to mix a little bit more man-to-man in there…

“I love this roster; I love our defensive roster. I got a lot of faith in them. Again, we’re working like crazy to get it fixed.”

In terms of the offense, they have to be more consistent there as well. Hurts is young, so we should expect struggles, but they can run the ball more and just have a little bit more imagination on offense. 

The Eagles are a bad team right now, but it does appear the coaches could do a better job of putting the players in a position to succeed.

Flacco to the Jets

Eagles have acquired a 2022 conditional sixth-round draft pick from the Jets in exchange for QB Joe Flacco, the team announced on Monday. Flacco, who signed with the Eagles in the offseason, played with New York last season.

“Joe(Flacco) is just a great person to be around, great pro to be around,” Sirianni said. “Had a phenomenal preseason and was really good for our room. The opportunity arose for him to go and be able to contribute somewhere else. Then also, obviously, us get a pick for that.

“But our time with Joe Flacco was really good. We really appreciated him and everything that he did. He’s a great pro. You can see why he won so many games when he was in Baltimore and all the other places he’s been.”

Update on Sanders:

Sanders left the game in the first quarter after injuring his ankle. Sirianni gave an update on Sanders:

“Miles will probably be down. Actually, we are week-to-week with him, pardon me. It’s a stretch for him to be up this week, but we’re not ruling anything out yet.”

Eagles’ Hurts: ‘I hold myself to a high standard of play’

The Philadelphia Eagles’ offensive struggles continued on Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Philadelphia, who had only 273 yards of total offense in a 21-18 victory over the Panthers last Sunday, totaled only 213 yards of total offense in the team’s 28-22 loss to the Buccaneers at Lincoln Financial Field. 

Philadelphia scored only seven points in the first half but made the game close in the fourth quarter. However, it was too little, too late.

“Just like us, we prepare as well as the other team,” Eagles OT Jordan Mailata said postgame. “I feel like [the Buccaneers] came out there and knew what we were doing right away. We just had to adapt – and it took us a little bit of time to adapt – but like I said, they do their homework, too. Just like we do. We have to learn to adapt, and we have to learn to adapt faster.”

Second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts was only 12/26 for 115 yards, touchdown, interception. He also added two touchdowns on the ground. Hurts struggled with accuracy and were not very sharp, but he made no excuses after the game.

“I don’t want to make excuses for anything,” Hurts said. “I know I hold myself to a high standard of play, and I am trying to go out there and play at a high level for the guys around me. We all do that. We all have that mentality to go out there and play together and have each other’s backs. You look at this game and this past game that we played in, and we started off slow. This whole year, we kind of shot ourselves in the foot, and we know, and we believe.

Despite the struggles, Hurts remains confident.

“I have unwavering faith in the guys on this football team and everybody on this field and that we have everything we need,” Hurts said. “It is just a matter of us putting that together. It is tough, but I have unwavering faith with everyone in this building and that it will come. To go toe-to-toe with a team like that, as bad as I started. It is bad, and we didn’t click early. When it came down to clutch time, at the end of the game, we ran out of time.”

Philadelphia’s best weapon on offense running back, Miles Sanders, had only one carry for one yard in the first half, but Sanders was more involved in the offense in the second half. He had eight carries for 55 yards, and the Eagles’ offense benefitted. 

When asked if the offense worked better when Sanders is involved, Hurts said the following:

“We saw the production later on in the game.”

Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni explained why we saw Sanders get more touches later in the game.

“The way they were playing at the end of the second quarter into the third quarter is when they started playing the zone read a little bit different, which opened up a couple of those runs that we had called for that,” Sirianni said. “It was good adjustment by our offensive staff getting to those runs after they made a little adjustment how they were playing the zone read.”

The Eagles’ offense has to be better. That includes both Hurts and Sirianni. The offense seemed very predictable on Thursday night. It’s clear if they want to get better, Philadelphia has to give Sanders more touches in the run game going forward.

Eagles’ Sirianni praises Hurts for his play in second half against Panthers

The first half for Eagles QB Jalen Hurts against the Panthers on Sunday was not very good. The second-year quarterback was 15/24 for 74 yards, which is 3.1 yards per completion, and ultimately the Eagles trailed 15-6 at halftime.

The second half for Hurts was not great, but it was much better. Hurts led the Eagles on two scoring drives, including the game-winning drive, which he capped off with a six-yard touchdown run to give the Eagles a 21-18 road victory over the Panthers.

It was Hurts’ first-career game-winning drive, as well as his first-career fourth-quarter comeback, and he finished the game 23/37 for 198 yards, interception, and rushed for 30 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni discussed how Hurts overcame the slow start to lead Philadelphia to victory.

“It was perseverance and his ability to just forget what happened in the first half because everything that we wanted out of that game, which is obviously to win the game, was right there in front of us,” Sirianni said on Monday. “He took advantage of it and played a really good game in the second half. You’re just going to want some throws back, some reads back, and that kind of even extended into the third quarter a little bit for all of us, not just Jalen but the entire offensive unit and coaching staff. But again, it was just completely playing the next play and knowing that the defense was keeping us in the game and keeping us right there. Then it’s just going to take one play to really turn the tide, and he made a heck of a throw then to [WR] Quez [Watkins] to really turn the tide and help that comeback start.”

Fortunately for Hurts, the defense and special teams kept the Eagles in the game on Sunday. Philly picked off Sam Darnold three times, including two by Darius Slay and a blocked punt by T.J. Edwards to set up the game-winning score.

Obviously, with Tom Brady and the Buccaneers coming to town on Thursday night, Philly’s offense and Hurts will have to be much better if they want to get a win.

 

 

 

Eagles’ Sirianni on Hurts: ‘That’s one of the better quarterback performances I’ve seen’

After four games, the Philadelphia Eagles(1-3) have struggled with penalties. Coming into Sunday’s game against the Chiefs(2-2), Philadelphia led the league in penalties. The Eagles had three touchdowns wiped away due to penalties against the Chiefs and had nine in total as Philadelphia fell to Kansas City 42-30 at Lincoln Financial Field.

“The self-inflicted wounds have to stop,” Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said after the game. “I know I sound the same, but it’s still true. We have to stop the self-inflicted wounds of putting ourselves in holes with penalties.”

Defensively, Philadelphia had no answer for Kansas City, who had 471 total yards and did not have to punt. Patrick Mahomes had 278 yards passing and five touchdowns. Offensively, the Eagles were able to move the ball as they had 461 yards of total offense, but they struggled in the red zone and were 3-6 in the red area. The bottom line, they kicked too many field goals and did not score enough touchdowns.

“It’s not something I can really pinpoint,” Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts said about the team’s red zone struggles. “I’m going to take accountability for everything on my end; you know what I’m saying? Whether it’s being more decisive down there or flat out just executing and getting into the endzone, we got a lot of playmakers that need to get in. It was a difference in this game, clearly.”

Philly now falls to 1-3 and has lost three straight after their opening day victory against the Falcons.

“You’re upset. You’re furious that you go to 1-3,” Sirianni said. “But we can also see there are some things that are to build on there.”

After struggling against Dallas, Hurts had a very good performance on Sunday. The second-year quarterback was 32/48 for 387 yards, two touchdowns. His 32 completions and 387 passing yards were both career highs.

According to Sirianni, it’s one of the best performances he’s seen out of a quarterback.

“I kind of talked to somebody in there. I just said, ‘That’s one of the better quarterback performances I’ve seen.’ And I’ve been around a lot of good quarterbacks, Phillip Rivers and Andrew Luck,” Sirianni said. “He battled. He made good decisions with the football. He got out of trouble when there was trouble. He made good checks. He made good reads. That’s the best I’ve seen him in practice. That’s the best I’ve seen him in a game since I’ve been here. Hats off to Jalen; he battled. That’s going to be important for us moving forward.”

At this point, the Eagles are a work in progress, which Hurts discussed after the game.

“We have to continue to grow, continue to learn, continue to be one percent better every day,” he said. “Continue to clock in and buy into that and believe in that. That’s what it’s going to take. We are not a finished product. No player on this team is a finished product. But it’s about believing in that and continuing to grow. And learn from everything that you do. We played a good football team out there today. A team that many say is generationally one of the best. Great quarterback, great players, all that. We have great players, too. We have to put it together, and we will. We are not a finished product.”

It could get worse for Philadelphia. The next three games are at the Panthers next Sunday, Tampa Bay at home, and on the road against the Raiders, so the Eagles could be 1-6 after seven weeks. Not many expected the Eagles to be good this season, but they have to clean up the penalties and get better in the red zone going forward if they want to avoid 1-6. It’s that simple.

 

 

 

 

Eagles’ Sirianni would like Hurts to spend more time in the pocket

Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts played one of the worst games of his young career in the team’s 41-21 loss to the Cowboys on Monday night.

Hurts was 25/39 for 326 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions, including a pick-six that helped the Cowboys take complete control of the game.

The second-year quarterback, who was making the seventh start of his career, often used his legs against the Cowboys and did not spend much time in the pocket.

Hurts was criticized by the Monday Night Football broadcast team for not staying in the pocket and going through his progressions. Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni appeared to agree with that assessment, which he discussed on Wednesday.

“So from the beginning, we’ve been talking about, ‘Hey, how do we’ — because I heard something one time where his off-schedule throws on 1st and 2nd down were like 50 percent, or whatever it was, and then I heard that our old quarterback in Indy, Philip [Rivers], was like 14 percent, so they were at the vast difference of the spectrum; one was No. 1 in the league, one was 32, Sirianni said. “‘Whatever it was. My point was to him is, ‘Hey, we’ve got to bring that from 50 to 35. And by no means do I want you to get to 14 because you guys are different players. But get that to 35,’ and I think that’s what he’s — because he still has this unbelievable weapon of being able to extend plays and being able to make things happen out of the pocket.

“Yes, we want him to throw in rhythm, but we don’t want to limit him to who he is and what he can do. Again, it’s a fine line there. I think he’s done a better job. Are there plays that I thought he got out of the pocket too quick? Sure, there’s going to be a couple of those, but those are things that we’re constantly talking about. Again, I’ve got to do my job as a coach of, yes, getting him at 35 but not limiting him to what his strengths are and who he is as a player.”

When a quarterback has excellent running ability, it can be challenging to teach them to stay in the pocket and go through the necessary progressions. There will be growing pains with young quarterbacks, and Hurts is no different.

Eagles’ Hurts: ‘We had a lot of opportunities out there that we didn’t capitalize on’

For most of the first half on Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles(1-1), in their home-opener, were outplaying the San Francisco 49ers(2-0), and after a 91-yard reception by Quez Watkins gave the team first and goal from the six-yard line and Philly leading 3-0, it appeared that the Eagles were about to take complete control of the game.

However, after a pass interference penalty gave the Eagles the ball at the one, Philadelphia was not able to score and was stopped on 4th and goal from the three after trying to pull off the “Philly Special,” but Greg Ward’s pass sailed through the end zone and the 49ers would hold. Ultimately, San Francisco would drive the ball 97 yards, which would end with a Jimmy Garoppolo 11-yard touchdown pass to Jauan Jennings to give the 49ers a 7-3 lead at halftime. In the end, San Francisco would defeat the Eagles 17=11 at Lincoln Financial Field.

That 14-point swing before the half turned the game around, and the 49ers goal-line stand was the key. Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni, who calls the plays for Philadelphia, felt he let the team down with his play-calling during that red zone sequence.

“I don’t think I called good plays in that area,” Sirianni said. “There are going to be times where you’re going to look at it and be like, ‘I want those calls back.’ When they work, it was a good play. They didn’t.

“So, it was my fault. I didn’t call good enough plays right there. I didn’t put the players in good enough positions, but we’re all in this together, coaches and players.”

Philadelphia had several missed opportunities on Sunday, including a blocked field goal. In addition, they out-gained San Francisco(328-306). Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, who was 12/23 for 190 yards with 82 yards rushing, touchdown, felt the team had too many self-inflicted wounds against the 49ers.

“We had a lot of opportunities out there that we didn’t capitalize on,” Hurts said. “I think that’s plain and simple right there. We have to be consistent in our execution. I have to be consistent in my execution and operation as a field general. It’s something to learn from today – a lot to learn from. They were things we could control, so that’s what hurts the most. We give credit to a good team and a good defense out there. Those wounds out there were self-inflicted.”

The Eagles may have also lost one of its leaders on Sunday. Pro Bowl DE Brandon Graham limped off the field in the second quarter, and according to reports, he may have a ruptured Achilles tendon. Eagles DT Fletcher Cox discussed Graham’s injury after the game.

“I mean, it’s always tough, and it was a pretty emotional moment for me to see BG limp off the field because I think me and BG – I know me and Brandon have played so much ball together and to see him walk off the field was pretty rough for me,” Cox said. “But we know Brandon, he’s in a good spot right now, and we’ll talk once he figures out what’s going on. At the same time, we got his back, and we’ll go from there and get ready for the next game.”

Philadelphia got another solid performance from their defense, and without a first down in the first quarter, but a lot of credit goes to the 49ers’ defense, who did a good job of limiting Hurts and the Eagles. 

This is a game the Eagles should have gotten, and they will be kicking themselves after this one.

Eagles’ Sirianni on win over Falcons: ‘I’m really pleased with the way we played as a football team’

On Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles(1-0) had a complete performance in their 32-6 road victory against the Atlanta Falcons(0-1).

Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts finished the game 27/35 for 264 yards and three touchdowns to go along with 62 yards on the ground.

Hurts got a lot of players involved in the passing game, including rookie wide receiver DeVonta Smith, who had six receptions for 71 yards and one touchdown. Also, Jalen Reagor and Dallas Goedert each caught six passes, and both had a touchdown reception.

“It’s me going out there and doing what I’m coached to do,” Hurts said. “We prepare, we hit it every day. I always talk about executing. I want to execute at a high level running the ball, throwing the ball, alignment things, situation things, I just want to execute at a high level.”

Defensively, Philadelphia kept Atlanta out of the endzone. They allowed 260 yards of total offense(102 total yards in the second half) and sacked Matt Ryan three times. The Eagles also allowed only 114 yards after the Falcons’ first two offensive drives, both of which resulted in field goals.

Eagles’ head coach Nick Sirianni got a victory in his head coaching debut, and he was happy with how well the Eagles played in all three phases of the game.

“Offense played really well,” Sirianni said after the game. “Defense played lights out, special teams — it was a good team win. It felt like the guys played together, for each other, with each other, so I’m really pleased with the way we played as a football team.”

The Eagles dominated the Falcons in the trenches. Hurts had plenty of time to throw, and Philadelphia was able to run the ball effectively with Miles Sanders(74 yards) and Kenneth Gainwell(39 yards, TD). On defense, Philadelphia put pressure on Ryan throughout the game.

Philadelphia hopes to keep the momentum going as they host the 49ers(1-0) in their home-opener next Sunday, which won’t be easy. However, there seems to be some hope in Philadelphia after defeating the Falcons in Week 1.

 

 

Eagles’ Sirianni talks relationship with Jalen Hurts

The relationship between coach and quarterback is very important in the NFL, and Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni and quarterback Jalen Hurts will be working together this year, and if both do their jobs at a high level, maybe beyond.

Sirianni, who the Eagles hired in January, will be making his head coaching debut on Sunday in Atlanta against the Falcons, while Hurts, who started the last four games of the 2020 season, will begin his second season as the full-time starter for the first time in his NFL career.

Former Eagles head coach Doug Pederson and former Eagles starting quarterback Carson Wentz’s relationship reportedly dissolved last season, and ultimately, Pederson was fired, and Wentz was traded to Indianapolis.

Obviously, Sirianni wants to have a solid relationship with Hurts, and on Wednesday, he discussed the importance of growing his relationship with his quarterback.

“Part of you, with the quarterback, you have no choice but to grow closer,’ Sirianni said. “You get closer just because of the time you spend with them. But we’re obviously – and I joke about that because I’m saying Jalen has to be close to me because I’m in the meetings with him all the time, and it’s just other ways to do that. It’s important that we don’t just have a football relationship. That’s important for me, with every player on our team, that I have more than a surface-level relationship with our players. There is more to it. That’s connecting on different things.

“I text him(Hurts) after the Alabama game, I text him after the Oklahoma game. He’s got two teams I can razz him about. [Laughing] You don’t really get to razz him about Alabama too much. So, it’s finding different ways to connect.”

Like his predecessor, Doug Pederson, Sirianni is expected to call the plays, making his relationship with Hurts even more vital. How this relationship goes could determine the fate of Philadelphia in 2021. The division is winnable for every NFC East team, and if Hurts can play well, the Eagles have a shot. However, if he struggles, his time in Philadelphia could end after the 2021 season. 

Eagles’ Sirianni on Hurts: ‘I was really pleased with him’

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts finally got his opportunity to play a preseason game on Thursday night as the Eagles hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused the cancellation of the preseason in 2020, Hurts was never able to play in the preseason until now.

The second-year quarterback played two series against Pittsburgh. He led the Eagles to points in his first series, which was highlighted by a beautiful 34-yard pass to tight end Dallas Goedert. Philadelphia may have scored a touchdown on that first drive. However, drops by Jalen Reagor and Zach Ertz forced the Eagles to settle for a 47-yard Jake Elliott field goal.

In the second series, Hurts missed WR Quez Watkins on a deep pass that could have been a 98-yard touchdown reception. After getting a first down on that drive, Philadelphia was forced to punt.

Hurts finished the game 3/7 for 54 yards, and Philadelphia would lose to the Steelers 24-16.

After the game, Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni gave his thoughts on Hurts’ performance against Pittsburgh.

“Yeah, I thought he handled it well,” Sirianni said. “He made a really good check and great throw to [TE] Dallas [Goedert] for a big play. He saw what defense was coming and checked the play. A ton of credit to him for that and making a perfect throw there. I thought he went with where we wanted the ball to go versus the defenses they were running. He had a couple drops in there, so I was really pleased with him.”

Hurts added on his performance: “I mean, I want to come on the field and complete every pass, score touchdowns every time I touch the field. The competitor in me is like, ‘damn.’ But I think it was a good day. I think it was, you know, we have to be better on third down, for sure. But coming out there, for the most part, executing. There’s a lot to learn from that, always.”

The star of the game for Philadelphia was Quez Watkins. The second-year wide receiver had the Eagles’ only touchdown after turning a bubble screen pass from Joe Flacco into a 79-yard touchdown reception. Many have been impressed by Watkins this summer, and according to him, he’s worked hard in the offseason to get better.

“This whole offseason, I just made everything personal,” he said. “Everything people said I couldn’t do. ‘I was only fast.’ I just made everything personal and put the work in.”

Philadelphia continues the preseason next Thursday when they host the New England Patriots.

 

 

 

Eagles’ Sirianni: ‘We’re going to have competition at every position’

When the Philadelphia Eagles traded QB Carson Wentz to the the Indianapolis Colts, the thought was that Jalen Hurts would be the team’s starting quarterback in 2021. The former second-round pick started four games for the Eagles in 2020 as a rookie and went 1-3.

Hurts threw for 1061 yards with six touchdown and four interceptions last season.

Today, Eagles GM Howie Roseman, head coach Nick Sirianni, and vice president of player personnel Andy Weiland met the media. Sirianni was asked if Hurts would be the team’s starting quarterback this season.

Here is what he had to say:

“To name any starters at this particular time, we’ve been working with these guys for two days, right? We’ve been working with these guys for two days,” Sirianni said. “My biggest thing is competition. Again, we’ve talked a little bit about my core values. It’s my second core value. It’s this team’s second core value. Competition is a huge thing.

We’re going to have competition at every position.”

Hurts, 22 showed flashes in the four games he started, and on the surface, the Eagles were confident enough in Hurts that they willing to move Wentz. Also, you don’t waste a second-round pick on a quarterback if you don’t believe he can eventually be a starter.

Philadelphia signed 36-year-old quarterback Joe Flacco this offseason, and Flacco made it clear that he was looking to compete for the starting job.

By not declaring Hurts the starter, maybe this is a way for the Eagles to motivate him, perhaps they’re looking to draft a quarterback with the 12th pick in this year’s draft, or maybe there will be an actual quarterback competition. Who knows.

However, when it’s all said and done, expect Hurts to be under center for the Eagles in Week 1.