The Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni was back to work on Monday after bashing the Giants, and took some time to talk to reporters about some of the playcalling and how they’ve been able to spread the ball around so much lately. He also talked about Brandon Graham and why he’s so great, as well as took some time to brag about Jack Still and Grant Calcaterra and the jobs they’ve been doing in place of Dallas Goedert.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On the playcalling
Sirianni was asked about the Eagles using more quarterback designed runs lately, and he noted that they’ll do whatever it is they need to do to win. It just happens that the last couple of games — specifically against the Packers and Giants — the runs they called were successful through their scouting.
He was sure to point out that the success of the QB run is always going to come down to the offensive line and how well they are blocking, as well as Jalen Hurts. But, it’s also a credit to the rest of the group, including guys like Miles Sanders who had a big-time block on Sunday against the Giants.
“You see the receivers running off or blocking downfield. You see the tight ends finishing blocks, as well. So, it starts with the offensive line, and we’re trying to put the guys in the best position to make plays, but that offensive line, sometimes you feel like you can call anything. A lot of the times, most of the time you feel like you can just call anything and the O-line is going to make it go because we’ve got five special guys there, and the backups are special guys, too, and they work as one.
That’s obviously an advantage that we have because of who our offensive line is, and Jalen is a special runner. He’s special at that. He’s developing in all parts of his game, but one thing that we know and one thing that he’s always had is the special ability to run the football, whether that’s on a design run or on a scramble. He’s just special at that.”
Sirianni later talked about the opening drive against the Giants, and while he didn’t want to divulge how things were scripted, he mentioned that sometimes the QB gets the ball to players based on what the defense is doing. The fact that Hurts was able to get the ball to seven different players during that drive is partly due to the defense, but also a credit to playing QB at a high level.
“There were a couple plays on that drive where I thought were outstanding plays by our quarterback. I mentioned yesterday where he just checked it down to Miles, but there was also a play that he checked it down to Zach Pascal, as well, it was on a 2nd and 2 or 3 for a 1st down gain. So, it’s good; when the ball is being spread, you know who the pass game runs through here, so when the ball is being spread around like that, that means Jalen is just playing at a very high level to get the ball to where the defense dictates it. ”
On the TE group
Sirianni also had a chance to talk about tight ends Grant Calcaterra and Jack Stoll and how they’ve done filling in for Dallas Goedert these last few weeks. He said that they’ve done a really nice job, calling Stoll a tough-nose, dirty work type player who has now had a chance to show off his route running and catching abilities.
“He had a really nice shallow that we threw him yesterday, had a nice stiff arm off of that. He’s really savvy on how to get to the guy he’s supposed to block, whether that’s a D-end, whether that’s a linebacker, whether that’s a safety, whether that’s a corner, on how he gets there and how he adjusts to the picture not being completely clean. He’s just got great feel, great instincts, great toughness. This guy is playing really good football, and he’s really developing nicely.”
The head coach went on to say that no one is rooting for Stoll harder than Dallas Goedert on the sideline, and that’s really cool to see from the tight end group. They’ve all embraced the connection part of Sirianni’s philosophy, and you can see it.
As for Grant Calcaterra, Sirianni called him a scrappy guy who had a big-time block on the long touchdown by Miles Sanders. The TE slipped on the first play of the game, but he was able to get up quickly and still make a play for a 10-yard gain.
“He really has this ability to snatch the ball and then get in and out of breaks. I think he’s got receiver qualities, but then he can do enough in the run game, and he has been. This is new for him because in the sense of this, on this team, when we were running 12 personnel sets, it was usually with Dallas and Jack. Now it’s with Jack and Grant, and Grant has done a really nice job. Grant is coming along, and we’re seeing some of the special receiver qualities of why we drafted Grant, but then we’re also seeing how he’s developing in the run game, which is really important, obviously, for tight ends to have, that we keep them balanced, and you can’t get any tells when a guy is on the field.”
On Brandon Graham
Sirianni noted that one of the coaches mentioned that Graham was made by God to rush the quarterback, and he couldn’t agree more. But what’s more, he uses the God-given ability he has, and then also uses the platform he has in Philly in such a positive way with people and the community.
“Man, he’s a special guy. He’s a special team leader. He’s a special player, and he’s a special person. It was great to see him have that type of game yesterday, and he knows how to rush that passer, and he knows how to get his hands into a tackle, he knows how to get his hands into a tight end and create some havoc.
He’s just such a good, positive player out there on the field for us, and I’m glad he’s one of our captains and he’s leading us out there.”
Sirianni confirmed that punter Arryn Siposs will be out for longer than they expected and will need to address the position.
- When asked about the shot of the sideline with AJ Brown and Quez Watkins celebrating and Jalen Hurts sitting there calmly, Sirianni noted that while he wasn’t in that moment, we’ve all seen the QB celebrate so there wasn’t anything to it .
- Sirianni acknowledged that as they start preparing for the Bears and QB Justin Fields, the fact that the Eagles’ defense has to go against Jalen Hurts in practice helps them prepare to face another mobile quarterback. There have been times this year that the offense has leaned on DC Jonathan Gannon for scheme insight, and this week is a chance for the offensive side to return the favor.