Nick’s The Pick: Birds Hire Colts OC As New Head Coach
The Eagles have completed their lengthy, expansive, wide-ranging search for a new head coach.
On Thursday, the team reportedly agreed to hire Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator as the replacement for Doug Pederson, who was fired Jan. 11 after five seasons with the team that included winning the franchise’s first Super Bowl and two other postseason appearances.
Adam Schefter of ESPN was first to break the news.
Sirianni, 39, had been known in league circles as an upcoming, young, energetic future head coach who emerged the past three years working under Colts head coach Frank Reich, who was Pederson’s first offensive coordinator in Philadelphia.
Reich has called offensive plays since becoming Colts head coach, but Sirianni is regarded as an instrumental voice in the team’s offense. Sirianni has been an NFL assistant coach since 2009, when he broke in with Todd Haley’s staff in Kansas City as an offensive quality control coach.
Prior to Indianapolis, Reich and Sirianni had worked together for three seasons in San Diego, where Reich was quarterbacks coach for the Chargers in 2013 and then offensive coordinator the next two seasons. Sirianni was an offensive assistant who coached wide receivers from 2014-2015.
Sources tell Inside The Birds that Reich and others who have worked alongisde Sirianni gave strong endorsements for the Colts’ assistant.
In a text exchange, one league source familiar with Sirianni said other executives and coaches “speak highly of him.”
“All [of them] say great guy,” the source added. “Like Doug [Pederson], in terms of players really liking him. He’s got more edge than Doug … Can coach hard if needs to.”
Another source noted Sirianni’s development of wide receivers while with the Chargers and noted that Sirianni “has some edge,” adding that “it was only a matter of time his name was going to be brought up.”
Here’s more from Inside The Birds’ Adam Caplan:
Coaching source on Sirianni:
“He really grew into his role (OC) since the beginning with Frank (Reich). You got that sense being around him he was ready for more each season. Frank was the perfect guy to have as a mentor.”
Reich and Sirianni worked together with 2 teams. https://t.co/zrBPUecPch
— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) January 21, 2021
In two of the past three seasons, the Colts have produced a top-10 offense – 10th in 2019 and seventh in 2017. Those offenses were led by Pro Bowl quarterbacks Philip Rivers and Andrew Luck, respectively. Luck’s abrupt retirement in 2018, announced during a preseason game, elevated backup Jacoby Brissett into the starting role for the entire season and the offense finished 25th.
Sirianni becomes the Eagles’ fifth head coach since 2012, joining Andy Reid, Chip Kelly, Pat Shurmur – for one game – and Pederson. All five coaches have offensive pedigrees. The Eagles haven’t hired a defensive-minded head coach since Ray Rhodes in 1995, the first head coaching hire of team chairman Jeffrey Lurie.
Sirianni will be tasked with assembling his new coaching staff, making unclear the jobs of current Eagles coaches, including assistant head coach Duce Staley and offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, two holdovers from the Kelly coaching staff.
He will also walks into a cloudy situation at quarterback, as Carson Wentz was benched after 12 games and ranking as one of the league’s worst quarterbacks statistically. Second-round pick Jalen Hurts replaced Wentz and showed some promise for a rookie although the Eagles went 1-3 in his starts.
The Eagles ranked as the NFL’s sixth-worst scoring offense in 2020, averaging just under 21 points per game.
Sirianni outlasted Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who had also conducted a lengthy interview with team brass last weekend, and several other candidates who met with Lurie either in Florida or through Zoom interviews during a 10-day span.
The Eagles also had interviewed in-house candidate Duce Staley, the team’s assistant head coach and running backs coach; Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles; Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo; Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady; Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen More; and Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen.
A native of Jamestown, N.Y., Sirianni broke into coaching in 2004 at his alma mater, Mount Union, where he played wide receiver and helped the team win three Division III national titles. He coached defensive backs there for two years, helping the school win another title, before moving onto coach wide receivers at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP).
– Geoff Mosher (@geoffmoshernfl) is co-host of the “Inside the Birds” podcast and staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.
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