WHAT I really want the Eagles to get out of the 2021 NFL Draft is: Clarity.
In the Eagles last game of the 2020 season, they deliberately tanked against Washington. We came into that game slotted in the #9 position for the 2021 Draft, but tanking the game moved us into the #6 position. The 2020 season was a burning heap, and so already the Eagles had turned their attention to arming for the 2021 season.
That indicates that the organization was planning ahead. Which says plainly: We have a plan.
Then Owner Jeffrey Lurie, fired head coach Doug Pederson, and replaced him with Nick Sirianni, who is green enough to have been Reggie White’s jersey. Then General Manager Howie Roseman traded franchise QB Carson Wentz to Indianapolis, and signed QB Joe Flacco to compete with QB Jalen Hurts for the starting job. Man, I wish I were joking about that.
After that, the Eagles traded down in the Draft from #6 to #12, picking up a first rounder in 2022 for their trouble. Shrewd move if the guy they want this year, is likely to be at 12 or lower. However, now the Eagles want to move back up. But that is a move that will likely cost them a first rounder next year. So what was the point of trading the #6 spot, in the first place?!
All indications are that this team is in a tailspin, because the pilot is incompetent.
The team that used to be The Gold Standard, seems to lack the clarity of vision, which has more or less defined them since the turn of the millennium.
Or perhaps this Draft will bring it all home for us. Maybe those 11 picks we have, will be used to complete a puzzle that we just can’t make out right now. That’s extremely doubtful, but I want to put it out there. I WANT to be wrong about my team being rudderless. I WANT the Eagles to show me that they’ve had it under control the whole time.
When this Draft is done, I want us Eagles fans to be able to sit back and say, “Ahhhh. Now I get it. Now it makes sense.” Because right now, it seems like incompetence is in charge. As of right now, it seems like if Howie counted his balls 10 times, he’d never get the same number twice.
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.
NOW that the Carson Wentzsaga has concluded, everyone is staring directly at new Head Coach, Nick Sirianni, and expecting him to have detailed answers on how we’re going to not end up 4th in the division this year. Whatever those answers are, this team is going to need spokesmen to pitch it, not just in the locker room, but outside of it.
Under Doug Pederson, the Eagles voices to the public were most often DE Brandon Graham, S Malcolm Jenkins, S/CB Jalen Mills, and C Jason Kelce. All of which were outspoken and who brought and energy of enthusiasm to interviews.You always felt that these guys were totally “bought in” to what the coaches were preaching. Pederson’s program had great salesmen.
Sirianni needs to find salesmen who bring both energy, and verbal agility to promoting the team. Jenkins left before last year, Kelce keeps hinting at retiring, and I have a sneaking suspicion that Mills will be shown the door. Graham would seem a likely candidate, but he may become a cap casualty. TE Zach Ertz would be a great pick, but he won’t be here so…
When the time comes for Sirianni to have answers, he’s going to need players to sell fans on the notion that things are going as planned. He’ll need players that fans find credible. He’ll need players who the locker room won’t tune out, or dismiss as a coach’s pet. There aren’t a lot of great options on the roster, but THE 12 is making do, with what we have.
Ideally with Sirianni being an offensive guy, you’d want an offensive player. QB Jalen Hurts would be one of the default options. Provided that he ends up being the starter. WRJalen Reagorseems ill at ease, and almost annoyed when talking with the press.
Possible candidates would be RB Miles Sanders, TE Dallas Goedert, and LB Alex Singleton. Sanders is animated and personable. Goedert gives quick answers and remembers to smile, but he doesn’t usually help steer the discussion. Singleton brings energy and enthusiasm, and unlike the other two, promotes the team beyond parroting company lines.
Getting everyone to buy into what the new coach is selling, (once he knows what it is), would help him out immensely. Besides, this new regime is going to need strong voices. Just in case the Eagles luck runs out, and we finally have to face some adversity. You know, injury bugs, locker room divides, lunatic accountants who are allowed to run a whole franchise into the ground, because he either gives spectacular blowjobs, or has video of owner Jeff Lurie hanging out with Jeffery Epstein and Jerry Sandusky.
THE 12 focuses on how to use what we already have, to win the division. Rumor has it that QB Jalen Hurtswill have competition for the starting role. That’s just plain stupid. Just make the kid the starter, and get to the business of fine tuning the rest of this banged up team. Team meaning players AND coaches.
Announce him as the starter and stick to it. (Unless we can somehow draft QB Trey Lance.)
Head Coach Nick Sirianni doesn’t come in with an established system. He’s developing it with his freshly assembled coaching staff. In the past he’s been a play designer, never a play caller. He says that he develops plays to the strengths of his players. Well right now, Hurts is the only QB on the roster. So who else could they develop the Offense to suit? Quit dicking around and build the guy a system.
Some of the players on this roster have already expressed enthusiasm about working with Hurts. He’s supposed to be spending time with some of the receivers, sometime in the near future. Use that! If players like him and trust him, make that a building block!
The Eagles have shown Hurts that they will cut a starter’s throat, and then sell him for peanuts. As an organization, that may make it hard for them to earn Hurts trust. They need to send the message that he will be supported, not thrown under a bus.
Starting Hurts will go a long way to getting the youth on this team to trust the Front Office, and the coaching staff. While the Wentz era didn’t end the way it should have, that doesn’t mean that the Hurts era should start under a cloud, or with him already bewaring the ides of March.
TRADING QB Carson Wentz officially ends the media drama that has surrounded the team since his benching in Green Bay on December 6th. As of now, all of the focus is on HC Nick Sirianni and QBJalen Hurts. How do they power the Eagles to win the NFC East and championships? Oh, and how long will we suck?
Don’t lie to yourself about “re-arming” or “re-stocking” or “re-loading”. The Eagles are re-building. The team that told us in February of 2018, that deep runs into the playoffs would be the norm, has been officially tossed onto the scrap heap. Gone is the coach who led us in ultra ballsy fashion. Gone is the upstart triggerman, and the wily gunslinger who stepped in for him.
For God’s sake, please stop talking about that Super Bowl, and the almost MVP season. All the important vestiges of that era have been striped away. 2017 is gone. It is dead. General Manager Howie Roseman clubbed that baby seal to death.
This is 2021, and this rebuild means that for Eagles fans, it may as well be 1999 all over again. In 1999 when Andy Reid first got here, he’d never been an NFL head coach, nor an offensive coordinator. During the interview, Reid blew Eagles owner Jeff Lurie away with how meticulous his plans were for rebuilding Eagles entirely. Lurie hired Reid to resuscitate a team that had just lost 13 games, and a legend was born.
Fast forward to 2021 and playing the part of Andrew Walter Reid, is one Nick Sirianni. (Gemini.) Also never been a head coach. Also never called an NFL game. Lurie however, loves that “he cares”. I’m not kidding. It’s the first thing Lurie mentioned when asked about why he hired Sirianni. So Sirianni is on the hook to be the next Andy Reid and revive this team based on uhhh, him caring? So okay, he cares. Did the other candidates not?
Having stepped barefoot into this warm pile of rebuild, the first thing that comes up, is that the Eagles are reportedly not anointing Hurts the starter. Instead, they intend to bring in competition for him. Or at least that’s the rumor that ESPN is reporting. Until there is a source next to a statement, me representing it as more than a rumor, would be irresponsible.
But trust and believe, we will discuss it in THE 12 tomorrow!
The second thing that crosses my mind is: Who are we losing? Rebuilds mean blood on the floor. Usually the blood of formerly sacred cows. I’m thinking names like C Jason Kelce, DT Fletcher Cox, DE Brandon Graham, TE Zach Ertz, G Brandon Brooks, and FS Rodney McLeod. Those six players represent a cap figure of 82.3M$. Six guys, 82 mill.
For a team that is projected to be 50M$ over the cap, 82.3M in cuts would clear out a lot of space. Quick, fast, and in a hurry! It would devastate the team, of course. Especially given the combined and individual leadership of the guys on that list. However, if it’s a rebuild, then fans already expect the team to suck. The only question is now: How long will the sucking last?
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.
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.