The Eagles came up big against the Titans, and were even able to pull their starters about halfway through the fourth quarter, on their way to a 35-10 win. Head coach Nick Sirianni spoke to reporters after the game and talked about the complete performance in all three phases, how the run defense did a great job stopping Derrick Henry, and said the special teams had an awesome bounce back.
Sirianni’s son was proudly wearing a DeVonta Smith jersey with a Jalen Hurts jersey underneath — the AJ Brown jersey was too big and would have covered his shorts, according to his Mom.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On the overall team performance
Sirianni was asked if this was the most complete game they’ve played all year, and he acknowledged that they played well in all three phases of the game, but there are still things they need to clean up. He specifically pointed to the offense needing to fix all the pre-snap penalties.
“There’s some ways we can do that and clean that up, so I gotta do a better job coaching it, and we’ll clean that up. But, yeah, that was a pretty complete game for us, and I think that’s a really good football team.”
They had 453 total offensive yards, but they also had 11 penalties for 75 yards, and Sirianni admitted that they’re pretty pissed they had so many pre-snap penalties. He noted that those are always a reflection of him as a coach, so he emphasized that he needs to do a better job coaching those.
“As far as the performance by Jalen [Hurts], and by the offensive line, and protection, and by Jack Stoll getting going, and then having two guys with 100 yards that was pretty big. That was pretty sweet for AJ [Brown] to have that game, I know that was important to him, but you know what was cool, was I didn’t feel impressed all week, I just felt him going through his normal process, and that’s what it takes.”
On the Eagles run defense
Sirianni called Derrick Henry a phenomenal player, noting that it was important for them to keep him from getting to the second level. He mentioned that they have a good rotation of defensive lineman which kept them fresh and able to keep Henry at bay.
“I’ll have to watch the tape, but I thought we tackled well. I thought we came after the football well as far as our strip attempts. I thought we played well up front. I saw our secondary players closing the gaps once they got cracked on — I saw [Darius] Slay gets in there on tackles, and James [Bradberry] get in there on tackles, and Marcus [Epps]and Reed [Blankenship], so it was a good overall defensive game. And it has to be against a well-coached team and a great run team like the Tennessee Titans.”
On the offensive performance
Sirianni talked about how Jalen Hurts has been pretty careful with the ball all season, only throwing three interceptions, and he’s been able to still create explosive plays and be aggressive. The head coach mentioned that there’s definitely an art to that, but that’s why there’s only so many people who can play quarterback at this level.
Against the Titans specifically, a lot of the throws were to the outside, which typically means they’re typically in one-on-one situations and AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith are guys who can go up and get it. Sirianni said that Brown made so many good catches on Sunday, and it’s a credit to Hurts who gave him a chance, and the WR went up and got it.
The head coach noted that Smith has really been making plays all year, aside from the first game where he was shut out, so he doesn’t agree with the narrative that he’s just now getting going.
“He’s been steady all year. This guy is a phenomenal route runner.”
Smith has had some big games, but it’s always nice when they can get everyone involved like they did on Sunday. Sirianni mentioned that Quez Watkins and Zach Pascall had some nice plays, Jack Stoll did some nice things, and everyone played their role really well.
The head coach was later asked about some of the subtleties of Brown’s game — aside from being big and physical — and he pointed to how quick and explosive he is out of his breaks, especially for his size, and then how powerful he is with the ball. He mentioned that Brown is kind of like Derrick Henry but as a receiver, citing how he often gets more yards even after defenders get on him. Sirianni said that Brown doesn’t have crazy yards-after-catch numbers, but he gets extra yards on catches that other receivers aren’t able to get.
He was then asked about what it says for them as an offense to go from running the ball as much as they did in Week 12, to passing the ball as much as they did on Sunday.
“I think it just says that we’ll do whatever we need to do to win the game, and if the pass game gets hot then the pass game gets hot and we keep going with that. If the run game gets hot, we’ll ride that. And Shane [Steichen] did a great job calling it, offense coaches did a great job putting the guys in position, and then obviously the most important thing, the guys went out and executed it.”
As for whether he thinks that Jalen Hurts should be in the MVP discussion, he said that it’s something they don’t have any control over, but you always want players to be acknowledged for the successes they’re having.