For Nick Sirianni, Year Numero Dos will be anything but easy. With star-studded acquisitions on both sides of the ball this offseason, progress in both the regular season and playoffs is the expectation of fans, media, and higher-ups.
However, it appears he’s up for the challenge. Via the Eagles website, Sirianni gave a bit of insight into his mentality last season, some key areas players need to succeed in, and what’s coming next for this season.
“Staying In the Moment” Was Sirianni’s Biggest 2021 Takeaway
Sirianni certainly had a tough task trying to follow up Doug Pederson’s tenure, especially when the team started off 2-5. It appears the key to getting his time here off on the right foot was thanks to “staying in the moment” every single game.
“When you handle it that way, you can handle the criticism, you can handle what looks to be an unclimbable mountain. It was just a day-by-day process of ‘How are we going to get better?'”
“Everybody is looking at you at all times. There’s not as many unknowns and getting better emotionally and not riding the ups and downs of the season and not looking ahead too far into the season,” Sirianni explained.
Indeed, staying focused on the present could help the Eagles to succeed in the long run, especially when an opponent is one they could overlook. Philadelphia did an excellent job of beating teams they should handle easily last season. Keeping that trend going will prove to be a huge factor.
Sirianni Feels Accuracy Is Most Important At Quarterback
Sirianni discussed the topic of his bread and butter, the offense, where third-year QB Jalen Hurts has a lot riding on him in terms of growth and results. Asked what’s most needed from Hurts, Sirianni said accuracy is “always going to be [number one].”
Last year, Hurts completed 265 of 432 passing attempts (61.3%), putting him 28th overall in the league. There are a number of stats that highlight accuracy struggles, which include:
- 37 interceptable passes thrown (5th most)
- 38.9% pressure completion percentage (26th worst)
- 68.8% clean pocket competition percentage (23rd worst)
- 74.3% catchable pass rate (30th worst)
It’s worth noting Hurts did finish third-best among qualifiers in bad throw percentage with 14.0%, and eighth-best in on-target percentage with 78.2%. In June, Sirianni stated he was happy with the progress being made by Hurts in that area.
As for number two, Sirianni explained he’s split between decision-making and the ability to create plays for the offense – both of which he feels Hurts has shown potential.
“I’m really impressed with his ability to process and get it out on time. He’s making good, accurate decisions and he’s doing it on time. I’m seeing a better base to make throws,” Sirianni said.
Thanks to his legs and ability to roll out the pocket, Hurts does possess the ability to create big plays. However, an important key for him will be to continue that ability even when one of his leaned-upon elements (like rushing) isn’t 100%.
Sirianni’s Leadership Could Help To Push The Team Once Again
While Sirianni and offensive coordinator Shane Steinchen’s playcalling will be the literal component that makes or breaks the team from a coaching standpoint, Sirianni’s leadership faces a huge test – though, there are signs it can withstand any pressure.
We saw these last season when the team was staring down the barrel of a pitiful losing streak. Sirianni busted out the “flower power” metaphor, comparing young players to the water and fertilizer that help to “blossom” the team.
Corny? Extremely, and to this day I can’t believe it didn’t blow up in his face in typical Philadelphia fashion.
But jokes aside, Sirianni clearly possesses a unique personality that seems to connect well with where the team stands right now as a “not clear-cut” contender, but a young team that could make serious noise if progression happens.
That connection and sense of awareness should help to strengthen his leadership, especially during a critical process. As for how he’s leading the team right now, he’s clearly trying to block out outside noise right off the bat.
“You have to work. You have to work. How many times have we seen a team start off really hot and maybe buy into the hype? So, that’s going to be something. I’m very conscious of that as far as I know what some of these guys are hearing as far as outside noise.”
If Sirianni can maintain that mindset of “trusting the process,” and ensure the team doesn’t become overconfident in its talent, it should set up for a much better opening stretch than they experienced last season.