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  • Writer's pictureAl Thompson


Despite winning his home opener on the road, Nick Sirianna still has work to do. Photo by Andy Lewis

DETROIT: From the head coach’s perspective, the way his Eagles team defeated the Detroit Lions may help him during the course of the season.

Nick Sirianni won the game by just three points after leading by 17 points at the end of three quarters.

But he won the game.

His offense scored 31 points, a solid number. The defense surrendered 35 points to a team that won just three games in 2021.

No observer will dispute that the Lions are much better in 2022 under second-year head coach Dan Campbell.

His players fought back from two and three score deficits several times. But Sirianni’s team still gave up 35 points.

It puts the popular second-year head coach in a position of strength with his defensive coordinator, Jonathan Gannon, who was interviewed for head coaching jobs this past off season.

General Manager Howie Roseman stocked the roster with serious upgrades on defense including linebackers Kyzie White and Haason Reddick, both young veterans plus third round draft pick Nakobe Dean out of National Champion Georgia.

In the secondary, Roseman added safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson and cornerback James Bradberry.

The defensive line was bolstered with the addition of the No. 10 overall pick, defensive tackle Jordan Davis who put up remarkable stats at the combine for a man 6-foot-6, 338 pounds.

With all those upgrades, the Eagles still allowed 35 points. The offense or special teams did not commit a turnover.

It is no secret that head coaches in the NFL usually focus on one side of the ball. In Philadelphia, Sirianni it’s offense. But he is still responsible for the entire team.

After the game, Sirianni was asked about his communication with Gannon.

“Yeah, I’ll talk to him about situational things here and there,”Sirianni said. “They’re the ones that studied it all week though, right? And we talk early in the week, and I talk to him early in the week about things that are – as an offensive coach – it’s not my expertise. But offensive is.

“So, I’ll talk to him about what’s tough for the offense and this and that, and they’re the ones that studied it all week. And so, I’m the head coach, and my name’s on everything, and so I’ll make some – I’ll just talk to him over there and see what’s going on and see what we need to do to adjust. More asking questions, pose, ‘Just what are we going to adjust this and that.’ So, that’s more of the extent to it.”

The Eagles, as a team committed ten penalties for 61 yards. Many of those penalties were pre-snap flags on the offense. Jalen Hurts was clearly the leader on offense. He countered the Lions coverage of his main weapons by running the ball, especially in the first half when he rushed ten times for 67 yards and scored on a one-yard run to tie the game, 7-7.

Hurts threw for 243 yards, completing 18 of his 32 asses. That is just a 56.3 completion percentage, below average in today’s game.

Sirianni was asked the performance of Hurts and how he read the Detroit defense.

“I thought he was in complete control of checking the plays, getting the different things, noticing – noting what the defense was doing,” Sirianni said after the game. “Did it work every time we checked to a play? No, but that’s on us as coaches, like we’re telling them to get to something versus a certain look and if it doesn’t work – but he had complete control of what he was doing on out there today. He saw the field perfectly, he really did. And I’m really talking more about, ‘You’re doing this, we’ll do that.” You know what I mean?

"And he’s going to have plays that he wants back, and we’re going to have calls that we want back, but I thought he played a really outstanding game.”

That may be all true, but Sirianni will need more against the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night. *

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