The Eagles are frantically searching for a new Head Coach after parting ways with Doug Pederson and it has led them to quite an extensive list of candidates. You can’t fault them for doing their due diligence on as many names as possible and while some will worry that the Eagles will end up with a coach who was their sixth or seventh option, it might lead to the perfect fit as opposed to jumping out of the pan and into the fire. There is a candidate who ticks every box that the Eagles will theoretically have, and that’s Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni.
The link here is obvious. Sirianni is currently Frank Reich’s offensive coordinator in Indianapolis and is coming off of a season that ended in offensive success and playoff heartbreak. In three years with the Colts, his offense has ranked 10th, 9th, and 12th respectively. Two of those were spent with Reich, who of course helped carve the offensive scheme that eventually elevated the Eagles to their iconic Super Bowl victory.
Much like Doug Pederson before him, however, this isn’t Sirianni’s lone spell with his Jedi Master. Pederson famously coached under Andy Reid in Philadelphia before following him to Kansas City and blossoming into an offensive coordinator. The Eagles were able to kickstart a new era that was built on the same foundations as their most consistent in team history under Andy Reid because Pederson had learned from the man himself.
Nick Sirianni is in a similar spot. He was originally a quality control coach when Reich taught the QB’s in San Diego back in 2013. One year later, both coaches got a promotion. Sirianni became the QB’ coach while Frank Reich was given control of the Chargers’ offense. He spent two more years there as a WR coach before jumping to Indianapolis and being later rejoined by his old Head Coach. Just for some added spice, he coached a 1,000-yard receiver in both of seasons, including Keenan Allen’s incredible 2016 1,398 yard breakout.
Having two stints under Frank Reich, who helped fundamentally build the Eagles offense is one thing, but what he accomplished in that time is what really stands out.
In two years under Nick Sirianni, Phillip Rivers completed 66.3% of his passes for a total of 9,078 yards, 60 touchdowns, and 31 interceptions. 2015 saw his highest amount of both attempts and completions in what was an otherwise disappointing 4-12 season. If we were to take the five most accurate seasons from Rivers’ stunning 16-year body of work, three of his’ five most accurate seasons have come under the tutelage of Sirianni.
2020 saw Rivers reunite with his old QB coach as well as his old Head Coach and the chemistry was clear. He completed 68% of his passes for 4,169 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. His interceptions were nearly slashed in half, his fumbles dropped from 8 to just 2, and his INT% was the third-lowest of his career.
If we turn our attention to Carson Wentz, we see a broken quarterback who drew many comparisons to Rivers before entering the NFL. Known for his gun-slinger mentality and standing at a similar build (Wentz is 6’5, 237 lbs while Rivers is 6’5, 228 lbs), Wentz is coming off of a 2020 season where his ball-security issues were worse than ever, his accuracy was erratic at the best of times, and his touch on the deep ball had vanished entirely.
The reason why the Eagles hired Doug Pederson and Frank Reich in the first place was to build a firm foundation of former quarterbacks around their prized rookie. We all remember the dizzying heights Wentz reached under the duo and John DeFilippo back in 2017, with his 33 TD, 7 INT season forever etched in history. Since Reich parted for a Head Coaching promotion, correlated or not, Wentz has slowly but surely regressed for a plethora of reasons – some self-inflicted and others pressed upon him by the team.
If the Eagles really are serious about fixing Carson Wentz and that was the reason why they decided to fire Pederson, then taking a gamble on a military-camp style coach in Josh McDaniels makes no sense. Bringing on someone who has worked closely for 4 years under the man responsible for a fair portion of the Eagles 2017 success does, especially when he has such a rich history with quarterback development.
Nick Sirianni will draw a lot of comparisons to Doug Pederson, and rightly so. The Eagles clearly have a particular style of coach and offensive base that they don’t want to deviate from. While we can all daydream about what new whacky concepts a fresh mind could bring, the team tried and failed to do just that this past season with their bizarre ‘OC by Committee’ effort.
With the team backed into a corner where saving the career of Carson Wentz should be the priority, hitting reset and trying to rebuild a fallen quarterback by bringing in a coach who not only has familiarity with one of the most highly-regarded offensive minds in franchise history but has proven his salt as a QB whisperer to Phillip Rivers by strengthening areas of weakness exhibited by Wentz last season.
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