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Appreciating Nick


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Appreciating Nick

Posted: May 25th, 2023 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 49 Comments

The Eagles took a huge chance when they hired Nick Sirianni in January of 2021. The team was coming off a 4-11-1 season and the organization’s reputation had taken a hit. The relationship with star QB Carson Wentz had soured and he was rumored to want a trade. After firing Doug Pederson, people wondered if the team would be able to hire a good coach. Who would want to work for Howie Roseman and Jeffrey Lurie? Outsiders didn’t think they handled Pederson’s situation well.

If Sirianni had turned out to be a bad hire, the Eagles might have gone into a prolonged funk. That’s something the organization hasn’t had to deal with in a long time. They have only had consecutive losing seasons once in this century, going 7-9 in both 2015 and 2016. Those were flawed teams, not bad teams.

A bad couple of seasons from Sirianni following a 4-win year to end the Pederson era would have made for desperate times. The easy thing to do would have been to go with the big name (Josh McDaniels) or whoever was the hot name at the time. Instead, Lurie and Roseman rolled the dice on a little-known offensive coordinator.

The Sirianni hire has proven to be the equivalent of an 80-yard TD.

He is 23-11 in two seasons. He made the playoffs both years and got to the Super Bowl last year.

Sirianni helped turn a late second round pick into a star QB.

He and his staff have done a terrific job schematically. The Eagles offense had defensive players looking confused on almost a weekly basis last year.

The Eagles are good and fun to watch. The players have stayed healthy. They sure seem happy.

Sirianni is pushing all the right buttons. He’s become one of the best coaches in the NFL.

I might be biased so let’s see where he falls in coach rankings.

Patrick Daugherty has him 8th in the league.

8. Nick Sirianni, Eagles 

Career Record: 23-11 (.676)
With The Eagles Since: 2021 

Last Year’s Ranking: 15

Nick Sirianni has seen it all in two years. With a young coach that would usually mean something like "went 1-15 the first season, saw all three of his quarterbacks get injured the next.” For Sirianni it means he made the playoffs in Year 1 after changing his entire offensive approach on the fly. Year 2? He did it again, going from 32nd in pass attempts to 23rd while maintaining the league’s most lethal rushing attack. He took Jalen Hurts from project to dual-threat to MVP candidate. And, oh yeah, he reached the Super Bowl and lost by a field goal. Sirianni has sprouted the NFL’s hottest new coaching tree — both OC Shane Steichen and DC Jonathan Gannon cashed in their 2022s for head-coaching gigs — by being its most adaptable man. His 2022 offense finished first in rushing EPA and ninth in passing. Sirianni finished No. 1 in Football Outsiders’ "critical call index,” a complicated metric that measures fourth down decision-making. Trusting his personnel, Sirianni ordered the fourth most fourth down attempts and converted the second most. Sirianni "takes what the defense gives him” and then beats them over the head with it. Maybe next time they won’t call defensive holding.

Good analysis.

Ross Tucker has him all the way up at 5th.

Analysis: Finding a way to make the playoffs in his first "transition” year in 2021 might’ve been more impressive than getting to the Super Bowl with a loaded roster in 2022. Losing both coordinators will show us just how good Sirianni is this year.

Less informative, but interesting that Ross thinks so highly of Sirianni.

There are a couple of tests for how good a coach really is. First, you need to be good over a long period. Sirianni only has two years on the job so it will be interesting to see if he’s able to keep the Eagles winning for an extended period.

The other test is winning titles. The Eagles came agonizingly close last season, but you don’t go into the history books for being close. You have to win it all.

I mentioned in a recent post that Sirianni is a better coach than Pederson. Not everyone agreed with that. Doug did win the Lombardi and and that’s a huge mark in his favor, but his overall tenure was odd. His final three seasons were:


The 9-win seasons came at a time when the NFC East was bad (2018) and awful (2019). The 2020 team was awful. They trailed by at least 10 points in 12 of 16 games. In the 4 games they won, the Eagles beat:

Nick Mullens
Daniel Jones
Ben DiNucci
Taysom Hill

Yikes. That’s even worse than I remembered. The Eagles got lucky to win 4 games.

Pederson hired veteran coaches like Frank Reich and Jim Schwartz. He inherited Duce Staley, Justin Peelle, Press Taylor, Jeff Stoutland and Dave Fipp. Sirianni inherited Stoutland, but mostly hired a young staff. That shows the ability to identify good young coaches, which can be critical to sustained success. Pederson struggled to replace assistants and that proved to be a big part of his undoing.

For what it’s worth, Ross and Daugherty both had Pederson 10th in their rankings.

Pederson is a good coach, but his time in Philly was strange. One amazing season, one awful season and three years of 25-23 football.

I would give Sirianni the advantage in scheme, teaching ability, player development and staff development. Time will be the key judge, as it is with all coaches. There was a time when people in Philly hated Andy Reid. Now he’s got a pair of Super Bowls and will be headed to Canton when he retires. There was a time when Chip Kelly looked like a genius. He was gone a year later.

Sirianni is ultra-competitive and I think that drive will serve him well. He won’t get complacent. He also won’t be close-minded in regard to outside ideas. Sirianni will do everything he possibly can to keep his team winning. It should be fun to see how long his era lasts and how things play out.


I went back to read some of the stuff I wrote about Sirianni when we first heard about him.

I’m not going to lie to you. I’ve never heard of Nick Sirianni before today. I might have heard his name during a broadcast, but it certainly didn’t register with me. Does that mean this is a dumb move? Not at all.

The Eagles are looking for the right guy, not the right name. There is nothing wrong with talking to lesser known assistant coaches. A lot of big name hires fail. Why not talk to different coaches and see if you can find The Guy.

Sirianni was with KC for several years and worked under Charlie Weis and Brian Daboll. He would have learned the Perkins-Erhardt (Patriots/90’s Steelers) offense from them. Sirianni then went to the Chargers and worked under Frank Reich. He stayed after Reich left until 2018 when Reich made him the Colts offensive coordinator.

I like his background. I like the fact he was a WRs coach for several years. Many of the best OCs started off as receivers coaches. I need to do a lot more research, but I’m certainly intrigued by Sirianni.

The guy I really wanted was Brandon Staley. Thankfully, he ended up elsewhere.

The search seemed rudderless at the time.

A lot of people are frustrated by the Eagles. Jokes fly left and right about how unprepared the team is. They must be desperate if they are talking to this many guys. Right?

Jeff Lurie told us he wasn’t in a hurry to hire a coach when he had his press conference. He said on the record that the search could go into February. I’m not sure why so many people are surprised.

As for talking to under the radar candidates, that is smart. There are 32 NFL teams. They tend to think a lot alike and there are a handful of coaches who are candidates every year. Why focus on them? Go talk to some young coaches and see if you can find a hidden gem. Even if you don’t find your coach, you might pick up a good nugget in the interview process. NFL teams love to steal ideas from each other.

I have no problem with the Eagles looking high and low.

Were the Eagles clueless and lucked into Sirianni? Lurie has done a great job of hiring so he should get the benefit of the doubt here. The Eagles were smart not to settle and to keep shopping around until they found the right guy.


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