Sirianni: Birds Need To Run More
Eagles Coach: Some RPO Passes Count As Runs
Under intense public scrutiny for his offense featuring just three runs by running backs in a 20-point road blowout against Dallas, Eagles coach Nick Sirianni insisted Wednesday that his offense needs to more balanced and stable moving forward.
Sirianni, in his first press conference since Monday night’s 41-21 loss to Dallas at AT&T Stadium, said his offense’s reliance on run-pass option plays (RPOs) that are executed based on a certain defensive look can sometimes skew the ratio of carries to passes, but Sirianni also emphasized the importance of balance.
“Again, I do need to do a better job of running the football, there’s no question about that,” he said. “We do need to be able to do that to help us be a balanced team and help us win football games.”
On the flip side, though, Sirianni said he counts the pass attempts from RPO play calls as runs because those passes are expected to capitalize on a defensive player being out of position because of the offense’s threat to run.
“Sometimes, RPOs do play out that way,” he said, adding that he’s “OK with living with that” skewed ratio.
Sirianni also said the defense sometimes makes an unexpected check against an RPO, and quarterback Jalen Hurts will decide to pass instead of run.
Sirianni also downplayed the impact of using pre-snap motion, which many NFL offense have heavily incorporated over the past few years to create extra guesswork for the defense. The Eagles didn’t use any pre-snap motion against Dallas.
“We motion for a very distinct reason,” Sirianni said. “We’re going to do it if we can create an advantage, if we can figure out what defense they’re in … if we can get a guy in position to do his job better. We’re just not a team that’s gonna motion to motion.”
Hurts’ pres-nap indicators for the defense instead come through formational diversity that draw certain coverages and “a lot of different ways you can do that” outside of motion.
“We find different ways to give him the coverage indicators,” he said. “We’re fighting like crazy to get that [in] many different ways.”
Sirianni also said defenses are improving at deciphering pre-snap motion from offenses and neutralizing the supposed advantage.
As for Miles Sanders, Sirianni admitted that he needs to involve the third-year running back more in the offense.
“Does he need more than five touches? Of course,” Sirianni said of Sanders, who ran twice for 27 yards and caught three passes for 28 yards against the Cowboys. “The way the game went, he didn’t get that. As far as Miles getting touches, there’s no doubt we’ve got to get our playmakers the ball. He’s a playmaker. He’s shown that he’s a playmaker, whether it’s the screen game or it’s in the backfield getting the ball.”
Sirianni wouldn’t reveal his plan to replace left guard Isaac Seumalo, who’s out for the rest of the season after suffering a Lis franc foot injury that will require surgery.
The Eagles could move rookie right guard Landon Dickerson to left guard, knowing Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Brooks should be returning in several weeks, and have Brooks’ spot filled by either Nate Herbig or Jack Driscoll. The team could also keep Dickerson at right guard and fill Seumalo’s void with Herbig or Driscoll.