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The Right Answers


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The Right Answers

Posted: October 20th, 2022 | Author: Tommy Lawlor 

Football teams face a lot of challenges during a season. It is up to the coaches to come up with the right answers to help the team overcome the challenges and win games. The Eagles have come up with all the right answers so far in 2022.

In Week 2, the Eagles faced the best WR in the NFL, Justin Jefferson. He had shredded the Packers for 9 catches, 184 yards and 2 TDs in the season opener. The Vikings staff was moving him around creatively to get favorable matchups. How would the Eagles slow him down, let alone stop him?

Jonathan Gannon and the defensive stop came up with a plan and got the Eagles secondary to execute it really well. They held Jefferson to 6 catches for 48 yards in the Vikings worst offensive showing of the season.

Last week the Eagles faced the best defensive player in the league, Micah Parsons. He had multiple sacks in 3 of 5 games. He had multiple QB hits in 4 of 5 games. The Eagles shut him out of both categories despite Parsons playing his most snaps of the season. This wasn’t luck.

The Eagles coaches had a brilliant gameplan for how to deal with Parsons.

Teams in the first five games tried double-teams and chips. They rolled the QB away from him. This stuff had limited success. Shane Steichen, Kevin Patullo, Brian Johnson and Jeff Stoutland came up with a creative gameplan. They had Parsons slow himself down by giving him a lot to look at and think about. Simple, but incredibly brilliant. And it worked incredibly well. You can bet upcoming Dallas opponents are adding these plays or versions of them into their offenses. Dan Quinn and the Dallas coaches are figuring out how they want to deal with them in the future.

Think about something even simpler, QB sneaks. The Eagles have been masterful with their use of QB sneaks this year. The line fires out low and Jalen Hurts uses his powerful lower body to drive himself forward. The Eagles get creative with the sneaks. In the past they had Dallas Goeder in motion and he would stop behind Hurts at the snap and push. This year they’ve lined up in a pistol type formation so the RB is close to Hurts and can push. Against Dallas they had players standing to each side of him. I’m guessing that was to make the defense worry about a trick play variation that would have the ball going outside with another player.

I watched a team run a QB sneak from a standard formation and the RB just stood there and watched the QB fight his way forward. The Eagles think of creative ways to run the play and then coach the players on how to execute it so that everyone is contributing. They are doing everything possible to make the play work.

X’s and O’s are only part of football. The Eagles have had some games with emotional angles. They played their former QB Carson Wentz. They faced their former coach Doug Pederson. They hosted Dallas on Sunday night in a game that had a lot of buzz. Dallas had done some trash talking during the week and could have had the Eagles too fired up and lacking focus.

Instead, Nick Sirianni had the Eagles focus on playing for themselves. Most coaches would have played the bulletin board angle. That can work, but not always. Some teams get sloppy when they’re on edge. Dallas was sloppy in the game, with multiple penalties that showed a lack of discipline. The Eagles were the smarter team.

Sirianni has had the right message for his team each week, no matter the circumstances. The team didn’t get too fired up, but also didn’t come out flat. They were ready to play and focused. They were in the moment.

The Eagles 6-0 start is impressive. They gave the 5-1 Vikings their only loss of the year. The Eagles beat Jacksonville when they were 2-1 and generating a ton of buzz. Dallas came in to The Linc at 4-1 and the Eagles ended their four-game winning streak.

It isn’t as if things have been simple. The Eagles LT was injured early in the Jacksonville game. The primary backup was already out so the team turned to its #3 LT when facing one of the best sets of edge rushers in the league. The Eagles figured it out and put up 401 yards and 29 points. The Eagles had to rely on a backup kicker at Arizona, who also had a backup kicker. Sirianni showed college clips of his kicker to the team on Saturday to boost their confidence in the new teammate. On Sunday, he was perfect and hit the game-winning FG. The Cardinals kicker missed a kick that would have tied the game.

There will be a situation coming up that the Eagles don’t have the answer for. That’s life in the NFL. No one is ready for everything. But so far the Eagles coaches have been brilliant at finding the right answers for whatever challenges confronted them.


I didn’t want Nick Sirianni. I wanted Brandon Staley. After seeing each of them for a season and a half…oops. I was wrong with a capital W.

The Chargers went 9-8 last year and they are 4-2 this year so it isn’t like he’s been awful, but there are times when it feels like they win in spite of him rather than because of him. That roster is loaded with talent. They have some special players. The results aren’t close to idea.

They’ve beaten:

1-4 Raiders
1-3-1 Texans
2-4 Browns
2-4 Broncos

The Chargers got lucky in Cleveland. The Browns rookie kicker missed a FG that would have won the game.

Brandon Staley is a smart guy and I’m sure he’s got some great ideas, but whatever he’s doing isn’t maximizing the talent he’s got. Sirianni is great at that. Think back to last year when he turned the Eagles into a running team. The passing offense wasn’t working so he changed it. Sirianni hired people that share his vision and they’ve worked well together.

The Chargers made a huge offseason addition when they signed CB JC Jackson. He excelled in man coverage for the Pats. How have things gone in LA?


Yikes. He got benched last week.

Staley and the Chargers have him playing zone, something he struggles with. Why would you sign an expensive free agent and then use him like that? Imagine if the Eagles had Haason Reddick playing MLB instead of rushing the passer.

When you look around the league to see what other coaches and teams are doing, you have real appreciation for Sirianni and his staff.


One of the answers that the Eagles have had is how to limit injuries in the Sirianni era. He and the coaches work with the training staff to come up with a practice schedule that makes sense to everyone. The Eagles were one of the least injured teams in 2021. They’re off to a good start in 2022.

I found this interview to be interesting.

[NOTE: click on link to article below to view video/listen to interview]

Tartt sure makes it sound like the Eagles have an advantage over the Niners. And SF has been one of the most injured teams in recent years.


I wrote about the Eagles having the NFL’s best secondary in a recent post.

I compared the group to the 2008, 2004 and 2002 units.

You can also mention some other secondaries in there.

2001: Troy Vincent – Bobby Taylor – Al Harris — Brian Dawkins – Damon Moore – Rashard Cook

1995: Mark McMillian – Bobby Taylor — Greg Jackson – Mike Zordich

1991: Eric Allen – Ben Smith — Andre Waters – Wes Hopkins

The further we go back, the fewer the amount of DBs. Football used to be about base offense and not 3 and 4 WR sets.

All of the defenses mentioned finished in the Top 10 in yards allowed. Most were in the Top 5. When you have a good secondary, you usually have a really strong defense.

Back to this year’s group…if they need a nickname…




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You just have to be so impressed by this team and by both hurts and Sirianni. They seem to be in control of things most of the time and they seem to just dominate games. Even when things start to go against them they don't panic, they don't force things they just regroup and go back at it. 

I saw a stat the other day (and I can't quite recall the accurate numbers) that showed how impressive their 4th quarter has been. They've entered the 4th quarter with a 7.6 point average lead and they've held the ball for an average of over 10 minutes. That's seriously impressive and very very controlled. 

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