PHILADELPHIA – You could see the frustration build as the practice progressed on Friday. Philadelphia Eagles coach Nick Sirianni sprinted up the left sideline as a game unfolded so he could let the offensive players know where execution was missing at the moment of the end. Not long after, one of the reserve running backs didn’t turn around in time to catch a pass from Joe Flacco.
“Details!” Sirianni screamed.
After fifty-five minutes he whistled and stopped practicing, gathering the players to point out the sloppy game, and then turning it into a teaching moment.
“This could be a microcosm of the season,” said Ryan Kerrigan, a veteran Eagles defender. “There are times when you have ups and downs. What are you going to do when you get off to a slow start? You need to straighten yourself up. That was his message and I think we finished training.” stronger than we started. “
About a week after the Eagles training camp begins, we learn more about Sirianni’s style as he becomes head coach for the first time from the Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator. On the one hand, his exercises are shorter than usual and last about an hour and a half, sometimes less. But they’re action-packed and reminiscent of the frenetic sessions of former Eagles trainer Chip Kelly.
They suit his personality: full of energy, constantly on the move, competitive and a little crisp. Sirianni has more of an advantage for him than advertised. He’s blunt in his assessment of the players – when he recently discussed the footwork of quarterback Jalen Hurts, he said the “process”. [of addressing those fundamentals] going well, but we are still a long way from where we need to be “- and will announce it in real time if a player’s performance is below expectations.
“He’s an energetic trainer. The boys respond well. And he’ll chew on a tail,” said Eagles Pro Bowl Guard Brandon Brooks.
Cornerback Darius Slay added, “One thing we know about this team and coaching staff that they have been waiting for is not to take anything the hard way because they do it for love, they do it for when the Coach pulls us up so we won’t do anything but respect him and try to work hard for him. “
A sequence during Saturday’s training underscored Sirianni’s approach. He ran to sophomore wide receiver John Hightower to praise his toe-drag near the sideline after a catch, and the next minute barked at him for making a mental mistake.
Just as Philadelphia is starting to get a better feel for Sirianni, he learns more about the fan base he’s now responsible for.
“I’m on vacation in [New Jersey] Shore and there was a wedding going on at the hotel we were in. I walked by and one of the groomsmen saw me and said, ‘Can you wait here? I’m going to get the bride and groom, ‘”said Sirianni Sal Paolantonio of ESPN.” And next, I photograph the entire wedding party – the groomsmen, the bride, the groom, the groom’s mother, everyone. I was in there for about 20 minutes until my wife [looked at her watch and said] ‘It’s time.’
“There were a lot of Eagles chants and a lot of playcall discussions. They made recommendations. But my experience with the fans, it’s really amazing how great this organization is and the fans who live in this city.”
Whether Sirianni will continue to be invited to parties remains to be seen. He has no previous head coaching experience, has put together the NFL’s youngest coaching staff, and taken on a dysfunctional 4-11-1 team last season. Every decision is put through its paces in this city and every loss is taken as a personal affront.
With a rough timeline for opening the first half with matchups against both Super Bowl LV agents at the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, things could get ugly for Sirianni very quickly.
But the coach said he knew “what I signed up for” and seems to have had the support of his players so far.
“He’s been extraordinary so far,” said Brooks, “I love having him here.”