September 20, 2021   4 MIN READ

Inside The Birds: Play Calling, Mistakes Sink Flat Birds Vs. Niners

Nick Sirianni Comes Up Short In Encore


Reality hit the Philadelphia Eagles hard Sunday as the team fell in its home opener at the Linc to the San Francisco 49ers.

On the latest Inside The Birds, Geoff Mosher and Adam Caplan discussed breakdowns and positives on both sides of the ball along with coaching decisions and injuries from the 17-11 loss.

Coaching Matchup

Adam Caplan: “Week 1, the Eagles’ coaching staff absolutely dominated the Falcons coaching staff, they won the battle of the coaches. This past Sunday, less than 24 hours ago, DeMeco Ryans outcoached Nick Sirianni — that’s the way I would set this up, that’s what happened. DeMeco Ryans did a great job. A 49ers source has told me he’s brilliant, they kind of knew this in their OTAs. When you talk to coaches, they know who the pretenders are and they know who the contenders are in coaching, they know the guys who are special, DeMeco Ryans is a special coach.”

Derek Barnett

Caplan: “Now here it is, as you said it’s [Derek] Barnett and [Josh] Sweat, [Ryan] Kerrigan is their third. Tarron Jackson, as it was explained to me, is a five. When I say he’s not really a four, he’s gonna have to be. They obviously could play Genard Avery if they have to at defensive end, Milton Williams, they’ll have bodies. That’s not the issue. The issue is there’s a major drop-off now. Derek Barnett, I mean, another dumb penalty, it’s ridiculous to see.”

Geoff Mosher: “If he didn’t have kind of a track record of doing it, it might ease the pain of [losing Graham] a little bit. He’s gonna have to play more snaps, too, he’s a starter now. This is a guy who has a track record of committing really unnecessary, dumb, late hit-type penalties, and now you’re a starter, now you’re playing more snaps. You can’t be costing your team in critical situations with that, and it doesn’t seem like it’s ever gonna go away, because he’s had it for years now.”

Defensive Coaching

Caplan: “The [Eagles] coaches have done a really good job with the defense so far, the game plan has been good. They’re executing as well as they possibly can, they’re not the most talented team at linebacker and safety but you know when you give guys a plan that they can handle, you’re not asking him to do more than they’re capable of, you have a chance to execute. The defense kept them in the game, the offense let them down, let’s call it like it is.”

Third Down

Mosher: “It did feel like this 49ers defensive line got up into the pads of the Eagles offensive linemen and pushed them back into the QB, especially on third downs — third-and-longs and third-and-shorts. By the way, third-and-shorts — I mean, there was a 3rd-and-1, a 3rd-and-2 and a 3rd-and-4 and they didn’t convert, like come on. That goes back to the play calling we were saying, in the middle of the field, but obviously also at the goal line in the second quarter, you’re trying to be cute. I thought that was an opportunity to run the ball, you had run the ball pretty well earlier in the game. I feel like they just out-smarted themselves there.”

Niners Blueprint

Mosher: “It did seem like Kyle Shanahan understood that he was very undermanned and he was just trying to get out of there with a win and he was gonna grind out that run and just hope to be efficient on third down. Obviously his goal was to get Jimmy [Garoppolo] to get the ball in the hands of Deebo [Samuel], which they did a good job of especially in the second half. I mean he had eight targets, six catches, 93 yards yet, two runs for eight yards. It’s not like he had an enormous day, but when you look at what they were doing, they were just trying to run the ball as much as they could, and then get the ball in the hands of Deebo and get out there with a win, which is what they did. If they have [Raheem] Mostert, if they had more of a healthy offense — even some of the other backup running backs who played last year like [Jeff] Wilson, I feel like they may have tried to challenge [the linebackers] a little bit more across the field against those guys.”

– Justin Morganstein (@jmotweets_) is a staff writer for

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