Sirianni: 'Pitt Bull' About Fundamentals, Technique
Updated: May 17
First-year Eagles coach Nick Sirianni held a press conference Friday after his first official rookie camp practice as the man in charge, and for once, nothing he said during the 20-minute session is likely to have people talking about for days. Instead, it's what he didn't say that will dominate the Eagles storylines. Sirianni once again stayed away from verbally committing to Jalen Hurts as his starting quarterback. He also stiff-armed a question about DeShaun Watson or any other veteran quarterback rumored to be in play for the Eagles. But the loquacious former Colts offensive coordinator spoke much more about his current team, including the rookies at the NovaCare for camp and about his current coaching staff. Here are some takeaways from Sirianni's press conference:
Sirianni remarked that first-round pick, wide receiver DeVonta Smith, "catches everything" following the rookie's first practice, and noted the former Alabama wideout's long arms and catch radius, but there were other traits that caught the coach's attention. "I just thought he showed excellent, excellent ability to change direction at the top of the route," Sirianni said. "Even better than I saw on tape." By the way, the only quarterback in camp this weekend is undrafted rookie Jamie Newman, who's logging plenty of reps with nobody else there at his position. "He's got great stature," Sirianni said of the 6-foot-4, 230-pound former Wake Forest quarterback. "He's a big man. He's hard to bring down. You can see why he was successful at Wake Forest when he was there."
Coaches frequently talk about the upside of competition and about technique and fundamentals. Doug Pederson loved the "iron sharpens iron" cliche. Get used to hearing the same from Sirianni, who appears very sincere about his affinity for competition and the foundation of the game. Sirianni said his coaches "have heard heard me talk about fundamentals and technique a million times" already.
"I'm not gonna stop, either," he insisted. "I'm going to be a relentless pit bull about fundamentals and technique.”
'Hurts' To Say
Sirianni avoided a few well-designed questions intended to have him declare his viewpoint on Jalen Hurts. He even joked about the media's persistence in asking these questions. "You guys won't leave this alone, will you?" he said, with his typical smile and laugh. I'm not sure what people want Sirianni to say or why it's important for Sirianni to name Hurts as his starter, which Hurts obviously is barring the Eagles acquiring DeShaun Watson. What value is there in Sirianni naming Hurts as his starter right now? Hurts will take the first-team reps when mandatory minicamp begins next month, which should put an end to the discussion for the foreseeable future. The idea that he should commit anything more to Hurts, a player who's played four career NFL games, was a second-round pick, and wasn't drafted for his head coach, is fairly absurd.
I'm always baffled by the difference public in reaction and response after some time passes. Seems like at the end of 2021, most fans felt that Hurts performed well under difficult circumstances but also struggled in second halves and needs more time to be accurately judged. As time has passed, though, support for Hurts has seemingly swelled to the point where there's a sizable enough faction of the public ready to anoint Hurts as the starter for the next 10-to-15 years, a future All Pro, and a quarterback ready to take the NFL by storm. What happened between the end of the season and now that caused this paradigm shift? Any why are some who were so down on the Eagles in January now seeing a 10- or 11-win team? This stuff fascinates me. – Geoff Mosher (@geoffmoshernfl) is co-host of the "Inside the Birds" podcast and staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.
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