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.
So yeah, I’m low-key excited. Can’t you tell?