Eagles HC Nick Sirianni



SEPTEMBER 10, 2023


NS: I’m great, to come out of here with a win? Shoot. Start us off Jeff.


Q: Offensively, was it the Patriots or was it you guys?

NS: You know, that’s a good defense. That’s a really good defense. They are really well-coached. There’s a couple that I saw, Smitty [DeVonta Smith], little throws on the sideline where I saw Smitty get out of those and spin out of those and they made really good tackles. That team, shoot, Bill Belichick-coached team, it’s going to be well-coached, and I thought that’s exactly what it was. Now was it our cleanest performance offensively? No. We have a lot of mistakes to clean up and we have got 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 didn’t finish some drives late in the game. Jake [Elliott] did a really good job. We have a lot of confidence in Jake to kick the field goals to put us up a couple scores. A ton of respect. There’s a lot of good players on that Patriot defense, also, starting with [Matthew] Judon. They all play really solid football. I’ve got a lot of respect for that team.


Q: The second quarter, seemed pretty run-heavy at that time. Was that part of the rut?

NS: It was just hard. We weren’t winning on first down and we were getting ourselves into second down and that’s on everybody, right. That’s on us putting in, first of all, first and foremost, us putting the players in position to succeed and us being able to execute. And so the rut was just that we weren’t winning on first and second down and getting ourselves into third down and not manageable. So, you know, again, some of it was, you know, the run game, some of it was the pass game and I think it was equally – I’ve got to look at the game obviously to have a better answer for you but I thought it was a little bit of both that we struggled in both parts of that game right there and like I said, that starts with us, myself and Brian [Johnson] putting them in the right position to succeed.


Q: What went behind the decision to make Rashaad Penny inactive today?

NS: There was just a number count. You saw that – I don’t ever want to come out of a game where D’Andre Swift has only two touches, either. Where we were with numbers and some of the things, you know, our first three guys and through camp are those three guys, they dressed. So like I said with Boston [Scott], to have four backs up, Boston and D’Andre both only had one carry, we have to play that number game.


Q: You mentioned Swift – Dallas Goedert only had one target, were they doing something to take him away?

NS: You know, sometimes it’s going to be – this reminds me a lot of last year against the Lions. Smitty [DeVonta Smith] had no catches against the Lions last year. This year, it was Dallas. We can’t go a game without getting him the football. He’s too good of a playmaker but there are some things that the Patriots did that made it difficult for us to be able to get him some quick, easy touches. So that happens, and so some of the plays that you think you can get easy touches for your guys, quick, don’t necessarily happen for your backs and tight ends when you play a Patriots-style defense, and so again, hats off to them. They made it hard for us to get the ball to our playmakers, and that’s what a defense like that usually does is try to take away your good play-makers, so we had to get it to the other guys.


Q: How did Brian Johnson do, first time play calling?

NS: I thought he was awesome. I thought he adjusted. We’re always talking, communication was great. I didn’t feel the operation problems on the offensive side. We had some operation problems elsewhere, which I’m sure y’all will ask me about. But I thought Brian – Brian’s cool and calm and just got a great demeanor about himself. I thought he called a great game. I thought he made some adjustments in the second half to throw it a little bit more knowing that we were struggling in the running game. If we throw it 20 times in a row, that’s because we think that’s the right thing to do. If we run it 20 times in a row, it’s because we think that’s the right thing to do, and that’s conviction. I thought Brian had conviction today, and I was really happy with how Brian performed as the offensive coordinator today.


Q: Jalen Hurts has not played in a real game since February 12. Do you think that had anything to do – we know he’s better than that. Do you think that had anything to do with it, shaking off?

NS: I’ll definitely reevaluate some of the preseason stuff next year. You know, 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 have played him a series or two this preseason, and I already wrote that in my notes. I’m constantly self-evaluating myself. And I’m not promising anything, and I know y’all will remember this conversation and play it, and that’s okay. But I have to – I’ll re-evaluate that. You know, second thought, if I had to do it over again right now, I would say, yeah, I would have played starters one or two drives in the preseason. But next year will be a new thing with new situations and new everything, so I’m not worrying about that right now. I’m just got it in my notes to think about right now though.


Q: At the fourth and two at the two-minute mark, what made you want to keep your offense on the field and why was that the play call?

NS: Again we just try to give them options in situations like that. I guess really the word, again, I’m going to say is conviction. Conviction that our offense is going to succeed. Conviction that we’ll call the right play to put them in position to make a play and conviction if we don’t that our defense will get a stop. I know I’m going to hear it from my dad when I get on the phone with him when we land in Philadelphia and I’m driving back to my home, I’m going to call my dad and wake him up, and I know exactly what he’s going to say; the exact question you just asked me there. So I’d better have an answer for him, too. I was convicted there. You know, it didn’t work. Sometimes that’s going to happen, that you make that call that you feel good about but it’s about the process that you put to get to that position; that there wasn’t a hesitation in my mind because we have put ourselves in that scenario in the film room all week. We didn’t execute. On second thought, we’ve got to get a little bit better play. We’re always going to look at ourselves first and I was convicted in that kind of like I was convicted in accepting the penalty on fourth down when it was fourth and 11 that put them back because I didn’t want to get points on the board that would have gave them three potentially right there. If I make that call pulling back into third and 20 and they convert, I’m the dumbest coach in the world. If they don’t convert, I’m the smartest coach in the world. So I understand that, and so it’s always about conviction. And it’s always about, I can look myself in the mirror knowing that I’ve put myself in those scenarios, us as a staff have put ourselves in those scenarios and thought through those things so we don’t make gut knee-jerk reactions in a game, so I do feel good about that preparation and that process.


Q: Some third downs seemed like they weren’t aggressive, run calls.

NS: That’s not necessarily true. A run call could be aggressive. It doesn’t have to be a pass to be aggressive and so I actually think calling a run play in a third and eight situation is aggressive. It’s not – it’s not, what’s the word, it’s not common. That’s not the word I was looking for. That’s an easy one. Thinking of another word. It’s unique but I thought we were aggressive with that style of play that we ran in that scenario. So I respectfully disagree with not being aggressive. We just thought it was the right call for that scenario.


Q: You had to burn a timeout in the first half –

NS: I hate that. I hate that. It was operation that we need to clean up. You’re not going to 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. Any time you have to burn a timeout like that with the guys down the field, because we didn’t start as coaches communication first and that’s always, always – don’t look at anybody else but me in that. Don’t look at Sean Desai; don’t look at the defensive coaches; don’t look at the offensive coaches; don’t look at the special teams coaches. That’s always on me because it starts with me telling them, hey, we are kicking it; hey, we are punting it; hey, we are going for a field goal. That’s always – any time something like that that happens, it’s on me.

Now I get upset with myself and I might be yelling it up but it’s always on me in those scenarios, and it was in this case. I actually had to do it twice. So I’m kicking myself about that and I’m going to make sure that I’m working my butt off to fix that.


Q: How do you think the defense looked? A lot of new starters.

NS: Yeah, any time you create two turnovers that lead to 14 points, that’s big time, right. That’s the difference in the game, right. Jordan [Davis] making that great play on the screen and then also the coverage that happened and the pressure that happened on the interception for a touchdown that Slay finished. Slay has a great knack to get the ball and finish plays like that. You know, obviously we have a lot to clean up on all phases but I was pleased with the defense and the pressure that we got, and you know, it was – Mac Jones I thought did a really nice job and Bill O’Brien, so much respect for Coach O’Brien. Man, I’ve seen him call plays for a long time being in that division and I just think he’s an outstanding play caller and he did a good job of getting the ball out of Mac’s hands and Mac did a good job of seeing it. But where I was really excited was, you know, there was a couple times there I’m like, “we’ve got to get to this quarterback at some point” and two of the biggest moments in the game we did. And so but that’s the waves that we can come at with the defensive line so great job by them. Also great job obviously getting to the quarterback when we needed to.


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