Eagles Hire Nick Sirianni: Initial Reactionby Alex Kielar January 22, 2021 2 comments
On Thursday afternoon, the Philadelphia Eagles were reported to be hiring former Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni. The young 39-year old coach got the nod over other interviewed candidates such as Josh McDaniels and Joe Brady. Sirianni was with the Colts for three years before taking this job following the Colts being bounced from the playoffs. Let’s dive into some thoughts and reactions to this hire.
Frank Reich Connection
With this move, the Eagles bring in a Frank Reich disciple. Reich was Doug Pederson‘s offensive coordinator during their Super Bowl run in 2017. He did wonders for Carson Wentz. Wentz had his best season to date before he tore his ACL in Week 14. Essentially with this hire, the Eagles are trying to bring some of that magic back, and since they can’t actually bring Reich back they are going with the next best thing. Can Sirianni “fix” Wentz? Only time will tell.
But for now, we can look at some of the great work quarterbacks did under Sirianni. Andrew Luck threw for 39 touchdowns and had the best passer rating of his career in 2018 – 98.7 – before he abruptly retired at age 29. Wentz is 28 and good things could be coming again with the right coaching. This season, veteran Phillip Rivers had his second-best passer rating – 97 – of the last seven seasons at age 39.
How Will Play-Calling Go?
Sirianni has never called plays over his career and will be doing so without the guidance and approval of Reich. Will some of the playcalling duties be put on whoever he brings in as his offensive coordinator? Or will he have full control over it? But don’t fret Eagles faithful, Andy Reid nor Pederson had called plays prior to taking a head coaching job and both won Super Bowls.
Coaching Family Tree
One thing that Eagles fans can be very hopeful of for this hire is that Sirianni comes from a coaching family. Being in a coaching family tends to be a good omen for success. Think the Harbaughs, Jim and John Harbaugh, the Ryans, Rex, Rob, and Buddy, and the Grudens, Jon and Jay. Nick’s father, Fran, coached Southwestern Central High School, with Nick’s brother, Jay, taking over for their father as head coach. Jay went 101-26 in 12 seasons before he retired. His other brother, Mike, has been the head coach of William & Jefferson College for nearly two decades and has stacked up over 150 wins. Not that his family having success as head coaches at lower levels has any correlation with how he will do. But it is certainly a testament to how well rounded they are as individuals and coaches.
How Much Control will Sirianni have?
As an outsider with no internal knowledge of this hire, this seems to be the perfect fit for Jeffrey Lurie and GM Howie Roseman to maintain power. They will allow Sirianni to choose his coaching staff, but all his decisions will likely have to be approved by them. The way the management structure currently sits, it is fairly likely that no matter who the head coach is, the front office wants someone to control.
The last time they gave any sort of power to a coach (Chip Kelly), it ended extremely bad. If you need a reminder of how bad that was, Chip motherf****ing Kelly traded LeSean freaking McCoy for Kiko Alonso who was never healthy while with Philadelphia. He also dumped DeSean Jackson, who was coming off a Pro Bowl season, for “being in a gang”. Needless to say, Kelly dismantled an Eagles team that had a lot of potential. They weren’t fully brought back until 2017.
So with all that in mind, the Eagles’ brass may have a bit of PTSD when it comes to giving their coaches too much leeway and want to be able to have them by their fingertips. Sirianni had no other interviews, meaning he had no leverage. So he will listen to what Lurie and Roseman have to say and not interfere with roster construction. Other candidates such as McDaniels, Todd Bowles, and Duce Staley (internal option) would not have been as willing to bend at the will of management.
First-Time NFL Coaches = Success?
Lurie has now hired his fifth coach and none of them had ever been a head coach anywhere else and none of them was the popular choice. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a success with these unproven coaches. As a rookie head coach, Ray Rhodes won Coach of the Year and led the Eagles to consecutive postseason trips. Then came Andy Reid, who went 130-93-1 over 14 seasons. He led the Eagles to five NFC Championship games and a Super Bowl while creating a coaching tree which, of course, included Pederson. Chip Kelly was promising at first, going 20-12 in his first two seasons, before he got too power-hungry. Pederson won a Super Bowl in his first of three playoff trips in five seasons with the team.
We will see how successful Sirianni will be as a first-time head coach. Pederson certainly had a tough situation to come into following Kelly and was successful with what was given to him. He may not have finished off on the greatest of notes, but he still led the Eagles to three playoff trips in five years and a Super Bowl.
There are a lot of questions that will be left unanswered until we see games played. How Sirianni handles the quarterback situation and how he handles the media are at the top of the list. But for now, this seems to be a good hire. He is a smart and young coach who can relate to the players. He is a great teacher and really relies on taking the most advantage of the strong qualities of his players. It will be interesting to see how he answers questions at the introductory press conference and what kind of vibe he brings.