EXPECT the Eagles to get off to a fast start. Head Coach Nick Siriannihas been an assistant for years, so he knows the NFL. In fact, right now, he knows the NFL better than it knows him. That will eventually change once teams get film of what he calls, when he calls it, who he leans on, how he uses time outs, how skilled he is in using the environment as a weapon, etc.
But for now…
Like any coach, Sirianni is going to try to develop certain strengths. Some things will develop on schedule. Some things possibly not at all. When things don’t pan out, he’ll have to adjust. However, when something happens that’s better than he was hoping for, or faster than he was hoping for, he needs to adjust to that too.
Use any advantage, like an advantage.
FOR EXAMPLE! Last year, WR Travis Fulgham came from out of nowhere. He had a few hot games, then he disappeared. He got targets, but the former coaching staff didn’t try very hard to scheme him open, or scheme to his strengths.
Nothing special was done during Fulgham’s emergence, so perhaps the feeling was that nothing needed to be specially adapted for him, once he’d made his presence known. This turned out to be a mistake.
That can’t happen again. If we stumble across another hot player, we need to scheme opportunities for them to capitalize on. Think of it as sleight of hand. While the opponent struggles to figure out how to stop our new shiny toy, Sirianni can focus on nailing down the principles that he wants to install as cornerstones.
This is me highlighting a possible path to Sirianni having long-term success, as an Eagles coach. Stay loose. Stay fluid. And capitalize quickly on opportunities, when players become them.
EAGLES QB Carson Wentz was traded to the Indianapolis Colts on February 18th, 2021. At that point, all talk of the drama could cease. The was nothing left to do for the Eagles organization and fans, but look towards the future.
With that in mind, I stepped back and observed. I watched. I listened. I waited to see what the new coach envisioned for the team. I waited to see what the fans would chatter excitedly over.
Two excruciating weeks have dripped by, and there’s been practically nothing about the team. Most peculiarly, from the organization itself. It’s 3:04a.m., March 4th as I write this, and these are stories on the Eagles website:
Now don’t get me wrong. I understand not tipping your hand, but to say nothing? Are they telling us that no one, has an encouraging word for presumed starting QB Jalen Hurts? Are they telling us that “Where Are They Now?” articles are more important than “This Year’s Break-out Player Will Be” articles?
Aside from my THE 12 series, there doesn’t seem to be much passion for football in this city, anymore. Sad. Maybe we traded it away on February 18th.
Eagles Head Coach, Nick Sirianni says that he can design an offense around either QB Carson Wentz or QB Jalen Hurts. He says that he will design the system according to the player’s strengths. Sounds like he’s got mad skills, right? Sounds like we’re on our way, right?
Sirianni says that he doesn’t even know who his starting QB is yet. He said that spot will be decided by competition. I think it’s fair to assume that such a competition will begin with OTA’s, and conclude during training camp at the earliest, or following the preseason at the latest.
So Sirianni has to wait to see who wins the competition, to know who the QB is.
Until he knows who the QB is, he can’t design an offense.
So what are the QB’s running while they compete?
If the two QB’s are competing using a system that is designed for neither, how can Sirianni feel that he got the best look at either man?
What system is being taught to the rest of the players during OTA’s, Mini-camp, Training Camp, and the preseason?
Will we have to wait until 2022 to see a demonstration of Sirianni’s reputed offensive genius?
This is like when Sarah Palin was John McCain’s VP candidate. We were all so curious. Then she finally spoke, and it was like the Hindenburg from there on out.
That’s how I feel about our head coach right now. His press conference has left me with that noise in my ears. You know the one from the Emergency Broadcast System? That empty, ringing annoyance? That’s what reading about the Eagles feels like since that presser.
HEY! Did you hear what Jalen Hurts said, when asked about who the starter would be in 2021: “I’ll tell you that I’m putting the work in on my end, trying to build those relationships with my guys.”
Did he say “my guys”? Is that what they are now? His guys? Choice cut of pert, that there!
You know, one of the hallmarks of Carson Wentz’s tenure, has been the Eagles organization constant turning a blind eye to the Eagles locker room being divided over the QB. Many fans see this as a weakness on Wentz’s part, but that’s blaming the teacher for the kids lobbying for the substitute. If the school makes it clear that ‘This is Ms. Such-n-such’s class, end of story’, preference be damned, when Ms. Such-n-such comes back, you give her full effort. That’s not been the course we’ve charted though.
The Pederson staff looked the other way on those issues. Carson’s guy was TE Zach Ertz. QB Nick Foles guy was WR Alshon Jeffery. Jalen Hurts likes WR Greg Ward. Some guys just seem to play better for QB’s they like. Maybe you’ve noticed? Instead of addressing this, the coaching staff allowed it. Allowed shrines. Hemmed and hawed about who was playing. And similar type bullshit.
And here we are today, with more of the same. This is starting out as a divided locker room under Sirianni, even before anyone sets foot in the locker room. That’s what happens when a man has no idea what being a leader is all about.
Look. Listen. Leadership is about three things. 1)Setting a goal that you get others to pursue with you. 2) Getting people to agree to be responsible for reaching some part of that goal.3) Being, and holding others accountable, for how you are all handling your individual responsibilities to the group effort.
So far, Sirianni isn’t even attempting any of these. 1) We have no idea what his vision is.2)That means he can’t get anyone to contribute to the group effort. In fact, right now the spirit of competition is all about each man trying to serve his individual interest. 3) With everyone serving themselves, and no system to speak of, there is no way to measure how each man is contributing to the whole.
Then again why would we expect this from Sirianni, when he clearly isn’t the leader of the team?
This is not me dumping on competition. Back in November, it was me who said that competition was the easiest way to fix the team. So I’m on-board with competing. However, competition only works when the finish line has been established, and everyone knows what the goal is. Otherwise, it’s just chickens running in a yard.
Football is about more than X’s and O’s. It’s about more than a player’s 40 time. Every team has brilliant minds, and great athletes. What sets some teams apart, is their character. Their leadership. That thing that has allowed the Eagles to be a team that never knew what “quit” was. Until the Washington game. Back when they were Jalen’s guys.
HEAD Coach Nick Sirianni had his introductory press conference on Thursday, and the fan base has been talking about it since then. I have been listening. However, before I weighed in, I wanted to step back, and fully digest exactly what it was that we saw.
Here it is, Monday, and my chief takeaway from Sirianni’s press conference, was that the Eagles Front Office wants the coach to be the hired help, and not the true leader of the football team. Sirianni’s job is to manage just what happens in relation to X’s and O’s. Unfortunately, that’s going to become a problem sooner, rather than later.
Stripping him of the ability to even decide his 53 man roster on Sundays, gives him no leverage when a star player gets out of line, or doesn’t buy into what Sirianni sells, this coming Spring. Not even being able to tell a player that he’s suspended, and will not travel with the team, cuts Sirianni’s balls off, putting blood in the water, right at the outset.
Younger players will be brought in to help lower the salary cap, and replenish the talent pool. Coming in knowing that they can test and challenge a head coach who has to ask permission to even sit them… Former Eagles S Malcolm Jenkins, said to Rich Eisen “you just hope that the competitiveness and the culture and the egos of what that team stands for at least stays in place.” In the current climate, that can’t happen. You can expect the Eagles locker room culture to slide. And in very short order.
The silver lining is that if it doesn’t work, if the team doesn’t win, and the players don’t pan out, General Manager Howie Roseman will be the one left holding the bag. Sirianni would be collateral damage of course, but the weight will be on Roseman. Owner Jeffery Luriewill actually be more responsible, but he can’t fire himself.
Understand, the Eagles could have given Doug Pederson more rope. They didn’t. They could have brought in an experienced ex-head coach. They didn’t. They could have gone with a hot-shot Offensive Coordinator. Didn’t take that road either.
What they did, was pick a guy who has never even called plays before. Who has also never made in-game adjustments. Who has never had to be the front-man for a billion dollar franchise. And now… now he’s doing it in the nations 4th or 5th largest television market. How is this possible? Why is this happening?
Sirianni was allowed to skip a couple of rungs on his way to being a head coach. The reason he beat out more qualified candidates is (according to Lurie), “because he cares”. Yeah. Right. Before Eagles fans eat that horse shit, you’ll have to win us another Lombardi, first.
Sirianni is here because he’s too naive to realize the predicament he’s in. Remember how Robert Saleh recently opted for the Jets job over this one? The Jets. Owned by Woody Johnson, who’s only a slightly better businessman than Donald Trump. Fact is, due to Roseman’s presence, the Eagles aren’t a gig that many candidates were lining up for. Most credible options said
Former Eagles Assistant Head Coach Duce Staley was the logical replacement for Pederson. But anyone who knows anything about the man, understands that he wouldn’t stand for being a figurehead, and so he wasn’t offered the job.
From an X’s and O’s standpoint, it’s very easy to be excited about this team. From a leadership standpoint, it’s impossible to be anything besides deeply, severely, gravely concerned. At least until Lurie finds someone better at giving him head, than Howie.
FIRING Head Coach Doug Pederson the way that Owner Jeffery Lurie did, was definitely bad optics on the Eagles part. That said, bad optics and a bad move are not the same thing. I am not billing new Head Coach Nick Sirianni, as a savior. What I am, is low-key excited about the likely directions that the Offense and Defense are going in.
On Offense, (according to ESPN) we ran more vertical routes than any team last year, and had the 3rd slowest time ‘from snap to pass’. While I didn’t know that until I read it this week, that information doesn’t surprise me in the least. Not one iota. It also explains pretty much everything about last year. Check it out.
Long routes take longer to develop. That means the QB has to hold the ball longer. Behind last year’s shaky Offensive Line, that was a recipe to be sacked 50 times. Meanwhile QB Carson Wentz was thrown under the bus on a weekly basis, and ultimately benched, for rookie QB Jalen Hurts. Mostly for doing what the system apparently asked of him. That sort of thing will sour a QB on a coach.
That spark that Pederson said he was looking for? Completion percentage: Wentz 57.4/Hurts 52.0 – TD percentage: Wentz 3.7/Hurts 4.1 – Interception Percentage: Wentz 3.4/Hurts 2.7 – Sacks per Attempt Wentz 10.3/Hurts 8.1.
Before you get caught up saying one is better than the other, consider: ALL of these were bad numbers. Particularly when compared to most winning NFL QB’s. Arguing in favor of either is just picking gnat shit out of pepper. Those kind of numbers, with this much QB talent, will get a head coach fired. And then not offered a job anywhere. Despite his jewelry. (Sips tea.)
Sirianni has never called plays. His career has been spent designing them. Last year he designed plays for practically immobile QB Phillip Rivers. Rivers was sacked just 19 times in 2020.
Sirianni’s play designs have typically favored getting the ball to a receiver within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage. The Offensive Coordinator Shane Steichen worked with Sirianni in San Diego, and they are both of like mind. That means the ball will have to come out quickly and accurately. It also means more of the weight is on the WR’s to uncover quickly. So the passing game isn’t 75% on Carson anymore. So by design, there is no more Superhero Ball!
If everyone does their jobs well, it will mean fewer negative plays. That keeps third downs manageable, and helps the Eagles win the field position game, even when drives don’t result in points. That makes life easier on the Defense.
Speaking of defense! Our Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon, has his primary background with the 4 – 3 system, has developed star DB’s, and is rumored to favor a Cover Two base. If I were a woman, I’d be floating in my chair. I’ve been asking, begging, praying for this sort of coordinator, since Jim Johnson died in 2009.
Keep in mind, all of this is all just reading tea leaves, right now. That said, these are some of the biggest damned tea leaves I’ve ever seen!
Did I mention that on Offense, Sirianni is a big believer in 12 Personnel? I didn’t? Well guess what?!
We still don’t know what this means for the run game, or how this is going to change how the Defensive Line attacks. Today’s press conference should shed more light on that.
What we do know, is that many of the weaknesses that we’ve learned to live with, are getting fundamentally wiped away. They will of course give way to new weaknesses, but we’ll burn those bridges when we get to them.
HE’S a diva! He’s babied! He’s uncoachable! He hates Doug Pederson! He’s insubordinate! He wants out of Philadelphia! Why is it that everyone with something bad to say about QB Carson Wentz, isn’t man enough to own his words?
We’ve been reading rumors for over two years now, but strangely, everyone is afraid go on record. I could understand if Carson had gotten a coach fired in the past. Or if he’d gotten WR Alshon Jeffery (largely suspected of being a rumor source) booted off the team. But none of that has ever happened.
On the field, we see a guy with an injury history, playing as hard as we’ve seen ANY QB play. (And yes I’m including Jim Kelly.) We don’t see Carson arguing with teammates on the sideline. When he congratulates them, they don’t pull away from him, or give him the cold shoulder. We watched him give QB Jalen Hurts pointers, even after being benched. We watched that!
So what’s with this “other” Carson Wentz that we keep reading about, but that no one can give us proof of? I have a theory about that.
Carson Wentz is boring. Especially if you’re a sportswriter in a city known for colorful personalities. Like Andy Reid, Carson goes about his business, and then… You don’t hear from him. It’s football, family, and his Audience Of 1 food truck(s). Unless the local scribes want to write about Carson’s love for God (and they don’t), he’s of no use to them. Put bluntly, Carson doesn’t sell papers or generate clicks.
That is, until the media creates a situation where they can portray him as a bad guy. Ah-ha! Now they can challenge him, even force him, to defend his name. Except he doesn’t. He never responds to these rumors. He knows who he is, and he truly has no interest in the circus. Thus, he doesn’t participate in it. Ever. Which is only more infuriating for the media.
Remember the trade that NFL.com reporter Adam Schefter said Carson wanted? Here’s the link to refresh your memory. Remember when Schefter had to walk that shit back, because it wasn’t true? Here’s that link too. Remember when ESPN reporter Chris Mortensen said that Carson would force a trade? Here’s one more link. Since Pederson was fired, Mortensen has been eerily quiet on the subject of Carson Wentz. How ‘bout that?! Carson doesn’t respond. He just lets the truth find it’s own way to us.
Carson had nothing to say about last year’s rumors, and had even less to say about this year’s speculation. In fact, he’s been radio silent since his December 6th benching at Green Bay. He did skip his year-end exit interview with then Head Coach Doug Pederson, and the local media took off running with that.
Now don’t get me wrong, that move says a ton. But it says so much, that it’s important to clarify EXACTLY what Carson himself, meant by it. His intentions are subject to speculation by us fans. His intentions are not subject to speculation by reporters who are supposed to report facts.
Just as the media is taking liberties by speculating on his intent, I suspect that they may also be exaggerating some of his teammate’s comments. Any statement by an “anonymous source” allows the media to write whatever they like, however they like, while avoiding “lying” specifically.
Let me give you an example from NFL.com itself. This is an excerpt from yesterday’s Michael Silver article. This is his interpretation of an Aaron Rodgers quote, after losing to Tampa Bay. Keep in mind, this section was copy and pasted, with no alteration by me, save for the orange font color:
And when he spoke, I believe he delivered a message to his bosses, one I’d roughly translate thusly: Your way of doing business has to change, or maybe I should be on my way.
“[There are] a lot of guys’ futures that are uncertain,” Rodgers told reporters, “myself included. That’s what’s sad about it most … getting this far. Obviously there’s going to be an end to it at some point, whether we make it past this one or not. Just the uncertainties, (it) is tough, and the finality of it.”
In that quote, Rodgers says dick about the Packers way of doing business. Also, at no point does he suggest that he would leave. Silver entirely ignores both the text, and the subtext of Rodgers words, in order to superimpose his own. Sadly, fans will buy it because a guy at NFL.com wrote it!
There’s an awful lot of character assassination going on, based solely on rumor, from people who are supposed to be experts at verification, and factual reporting. Yet they keep coming up snake-eyes on facts. And as long as we keep letting them substitute rumor for scoop (or letting John Clark get away with reporting what he sees on ESPN) this will keep happening.
Damned shame when a fan/blogger has higher operating standards than professional journalists.
DON’T let the noise fool you. The media is selling that new Eagles Head Coach Nick Sirianni, is here to “fix” QB Carson Wentz. That’s not true. It’s not even close to true.
Eagles Owner Jeffery Lurieexpects the new staff to get Wentz “back to that elite progression”. He has never said, nor hinted that Wentz was broken. He never said, nor even hinted at Wentz’s confidence being damaged. He never said, nor even hinted at Wentz losing his love for the game. That kind of speculation has come strictly from the muckrakers, to whom Wentz hasn’t spoken, since his benching.
Lurie (for his part), when speaking about Wentz, sounds like this “This guy is tireless. He has his heart in the right place and he’s really dedicated off-season, on-season – he’s just what you want”. This is the polar opposite of what the speculation says. Lurie isn’t trying to salvage a QB. He isn’t trying to get Wentz back to being a functional starter.
Lurie expects Wentz to be elite. His quote here, tells you exactly what company he expect Wentz to keep “understand that there have been many quarterbacks in their fourth and fifth year … if you trace this, you can come up with many, many quarterbacks that have a single year where it’s just, whoa, the touchdown-to-interception ratio is not what you want. And we’re talking some great ones, like Peyton [Manning] and Ben [Roethlisberger] and guys like that.”
Nothing in that quote indicates that Lurie thinks Wentz is “broken”, or “needs fixing”. He called it “a single year”. Which is exactly what I spent the season TELLING EVERYONE. It was just a bad year. That’s how Lurie saw it, and he’s right. It’s not sexy. It’s not interesting. It doesn’t give you something to blame. It just was, what it was. A bad year. They happen.
That being the case, I suspect that Lurie (brace yourselves) may have hired Nick Sirianni to coach his entire football team. I know it seems crazy, right? Who hires a head coach, with more than just one player in mind?! That kooky Lurie. Will he ever learn? (Sigh)
(By the way, just in case an idiot stumbles across this article: The last half, of that last paragraph, was entirely sarcasm. Calm down.)
I told you in the Fourth Quarter review, that if you isolate Andy Reid’s first five years here, then subtract his best and worst seasons, he’d still be 34 – 14 (.708). Do the same with Doug Pederson and his record is 25 – 23 (.520). Lurie clearly felt that the coach was holding back the team. That’s why he moved the coach and not the player.
Don’t let the noise fool you. Nick Sirianni isn’t here to fix Carson Wentz. Nick Sirianni is here to fix the 4 – 11 – 1 Eagles.
WHAT did I tell you back in November? I told you that (then) Head Coach Doug Pederson,couldn’t bench QBCarson Wentz. Well he did. And he was fired. I also told you that Wentz was the 2021 starter. Owner Jeff Lurieseems to be backing my assessment, and fueling rumors that the next HC hired, is largely based on the candidate’s desire to work with Wentz.
Not to say “I told you so” but…
For the last couple weeks I’m out here on a day-to-day, reading interactions between fans who want to argue about the QB. I don’t engage much. I mostly hang back, because I don’t want to get any stupid on me. Some are arguing that Wentz can’t play anymore. Some are perpetuating rumors that he’s “uncoachable”. Like he’s friggin Johnny Manziel, Ryan Leaf, or Jay Cutler. Can you believe this?
The truth? No matter what has come up, Wentz holds his head up, doesn’t embarrass his team, feeds his community, honors his marriage, and never makes you feel like he’s dogging it out there. In fact, he’s been routinely criticized for (Superman ball) trying to do too much. Exhibit A. Exhibit B. Exhibit C. Exhibit D. etc.
Meanwhile, all the shit talk about him is spouted by “ grown men” who won’t even apply their name to their words.
Making matters worse, are fans out there who gobble up those rumors, and spread them. This lends the illusion of merit to the rumors, due to the absence of truly substantive discourse. Honestly, the only thing that keeps this all from being sad, is that fact that:
I WAS RIGHT!
Instead of focusing on the soap opera that the local media has been trying to push, I pulled out my calculator, and applied some common sense. Philadelphia fans have long been reputed as some of the country’s most knowledgeable fans. While many have grown soft, lazy, and no longer deserving of that mantle, I work to ensure that it’s still true.
This allows me a sort of joyful, and well-earned smugness, because no matter what argument some fans make about Wentz’s 2020 season, barring injury, in 2021 he’s The Man. It won’t be QBJalen Hurts. Wentz won’t be traded. There won’t be an “open competition”. None of that bullshit.
Carson Wentz is your 2021 starting quarterback. Period. End of story. Like I TOLD you. In November. Anyone who wants to root for him to get hurt or play poorly, that’s their business. That however, would say a ton more about their character, than it would about Wentz’s skill or coachability.
I guess they’re waiting until we’re above .500. Then all those Eagles casuals will stop rooting for the Cowboys, and hop back on the bandwagon, shouting stuff like “AH bleed green no matter wut!” and “Never lost faith in Wentzlvania!”
LET’S have a conversation that no one is having right now. Just how bad is QB Carson Wentz’s back? It occurs to me that the Eagles concerns may be more physical than mental. Which would also explain why the team drafted QB Jalen Hurts as high as they did, before there was even a whisper of Wentz struggling.
Let’s run the clock back to December 2018. Wentz was diagnosed with a stress fracture of his vertebrae, and though he could have played and wanted to, the Eagles elected to shelve him and let the fracture heal without surgery.
In 2019 Wentz started all 16 games, posted a 9 – 7 mark, threw for 4,000 yards, 27 TD, just 7 picks, while leading an injury decimated team to a division win. Given what he had to work with, or more accurately, what he didn’t have to work with, it could be argued that 2019 may have been Wentz’s best football so far. No one ever mentioned his back.
Still, despite Wentz’s 2019 season, the Eagles took a QB in the second round of 2020’s Draft. Fans hated the pick when it happened. Entering Training Camp, we saw a beefier Carson Wentz. While there was a little bit of “Dad” in his middle, his shoulders and chest looked like he’d been really putting in time with the weights.
Unlike other positions, quarterbacks and aggressive weightlifting usually don’t mix well. Increasing shoulder and bicep density, has a way of altering throwing mechanics. Often unpredictably. This subject came up at the very beginning of camp, but none of us held onto it, nor even revisited it when Wentz struggled this year.
Adding up everything, the 2018 back injury, the career full of short yardage scrums, the more aggressive running in 2020, the 87 sacks over the last 2 seasons, not to mention the contortions that he goes through whenever he escapes a sack… You have to wonder if there is anything to know about Wentz’s back.
As a subject that no one is discussing, it’s of course going to generate zero questions, and zero articles. (Unless you’re smart enough to read here.) That gives the Eagles a chance to sell possibly damaged goods, (or goods predicted to have a shorter shelf-life), to a team that doesn’t do enough due diligence.
I have no inside information on this, and I’m not looking to start a rumor. I however AM still trying to understand the drafting of Hurts. Wentz didn’t struggle last year. So why the urgency in drafting a QB? Some point to his injury history and say, “Insurance Policy”. Truthfully, I said the same thing. At first.
If you just need a guy to fill in for a few games, a free agent veteran will do. Hell, just keeping QB Nate Sudfeld would’ve done! But to draft a QB in the second round? After your Franchise guy just showed the world why he’s the Franchise guy? Like I said, that trigger was pulled BEFORE Wentz struggled. They didn’t get him a tool, they got him competition.
Quarterback factory. Factory. That means that the Eagles intend to produce something they can sell. Merch they can move. So are the Eagles about to be in the business of selling lemons? Or are we about to start churning out MVP capable QB’s, and then shipping them to opponents? It’ll be interesting to see Howie do this. (See what I did there?)