September 8, 2021   3 MIN READ

“You’re That Leader:” Q&A With Quintin Mikell, Jason Avant


First-year Eagles coach Nick Sirianni will make his head coaching debut Sunday in Atlanta against the Falcons.

Former Eagles safety Quintin Mikell and former Eagles wide receiver Jason Avant, who each played for Andy Reid, explained what they’d like to see from Sirianni and first-time defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon.

On the latest “Q&A” on Inside The Birds, the two former Eagles said Sirianni’s demeanor throughout the week and after the game will be tell-tale.

“Younger coaches, you begin to see that they press a little more,” Avant said. “We have a young coach in Nick Sirianni. When coaches are tense, and coaches are feeling the pressure, the players feel the pressure. So the best thing a coach can do is trust that his coaching is working and take it easy.

“You work during practice, you get on them … when the game starts, just just take it easy and be yourself, let your personality show. Because if you’re tight, the team is going to be tight. if you’re happy, the team is going to be happy. If you’re intense, the team is going to be intense. You’re that leader. If you’re an emotional guy thats going up and down, the team is going to be like that.”

Mikell, a former All Pro, added that Week 1 is when Sirianni can start to put his fingerprints on the team’s identity.

“This is the perfect time for a coach to kind of really put his philosophy and his mind-set on display,” he said, “for not only us fans and us but more importantly for his players to really find out: How does he prep this week? If things don’t go right during the game, how do we adjust?

“Are you gonna go on the sideline and just curse me out, or are you gonna try to coach me, you gonna try to get me through this slump? This is going to be a god test for Nick Sirianni as coach, and really for his players to learn more about him. I still feel like with the preseason we don’t really know what to expect from this coaching staff.”

Also discussed on the latest Q&A: Flashbacks from season openers past; behind the scenes at the annual Jeffrey Lurie backyard Labor Day BBQ; Calvin Ridley’s place among the game’s best wide receivers; and expectations for the new offense and defense.

“It better look like a bunch of kids jumping on that bed,” Mikell said. “That’s how many wrinkles I want to see in this defense and this offense.”

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