It’s been a long offseason for the Eagles, but Training Camp is now just a matter of weeks away. With OTA’s coming to a close, Nick Sirianni caught up with reporters one more time before one last deep breath ahead of his first season a a Head Coach.
As always, the youthful and energetic Sirianni gave a plethora of in-depth answers to the questions asked by team reporters, but the most impressive of all may well be his response to one that looked to dive into his expectations for his team between now and those first thuds of Training Camp.
Nick Sirianni preached three things that he wants his team to do, with a focus on creating good habits.
Nick Sirianni preaches the right core values
“I told them our habits are our core values. It’s connecting. Continue to find ways to connect with guys. Continue to find ways to compete with guys, right? And really when you’re by yourself, at times, when you’re working by yourself as a football player, in that summertime before the fall season starts, it’s how do you compete with yourself?”
This is important. We know that Sirianni has preached an ‘Íron sharpens Iron’ mentality from the second he arrived in the City of Brotherly Love and we can expect an intense Training camp to follow. This doubles down on that notion and encourages individual accountability with a weight of responsibility. Considering how complacent the Eagles looked at times last year, Sirianni’s energized mindset might be simple in ethos and to many, resemble what every coach should look to extract from his players. However, it isn’t always that easy and very few are this open with the media about how deep those expectations run.
By being transparent in answers like this, Sirianni is giving the media things to look for. Those individual efforts in the Summer will likely resemble the level of focus retained through the coming weeks. It’s not like last year when we heard Carson Wentz was reportedly lacking in effort/form during practices without much context. We now have a huge red circle on competitiveness and if a player shows up without that chip on their shoulder, it’s going to be that much clearer since the guy next to them probably will.
“I talked about accountability to them. And accountability is not going to show up — you’re not going to be — you’re not going to go out there every day and someone is going to ask you what they do. But it’s the day over and over and over again. Each day in and out, if you do what you’re supposed to do each day in and out, that’s going to show up when it comes time for the fall.”
Accountability is something that was preached in a big way last year, but never really followed up on. There were plenty of “It starts with me” comments, but words without action was very much the theme for the year. We watched Jamon Brown look about as effective at right guard as my pet Dog would have, and there was a ridiculous amount of penalties and rookie errors by even the most proven veterans.
It’s encouraging that Sirianni is putting an emphasis on this going into his first year as a Head Coach. He’s drawn nothing but praise up to this point and that’s a trend that should continue.
“And I just encouraged them, yes, get in the books. Football IQ is so important, to get in the books, to watch the tapes over again from our practices and watch the installs over again. And when you’re out in the field, work on the fundamentals we talked about.”
Again, this sounds obvious, but let’s not forget the landscape we’re in right now. In a pandemic-plagued year, the Eagles struggled more than most to integrate their rookies into the team effectively and several voiced just how difficult it was learning playbooks on iPads and working through OTA’s virtually. Sirianni did a much better job of that with the Colts and the Eagles who experienced the 2020 downfall will be keen to avoid the same fate, hopefully resulting in a different fortune.
With an emphasis on tape-grinding, it looks like that’s definitely a more plausible outcome than another year of play that raised more questions than answers.
“The other thing we talked about — my message was create good habits — or continue to practice good habits, pardon me, stay out of trouble, and then be ready to come into camp in the best physical shape of your life. Because when you’re in the best physical shape of your life, now your football IQ and your fundamentals can really show. That was the message to those guys and what I want them to work on in their offseason or in the summer.”
On the topic of being smart, this again sounds simple, but let’s not forget Doug Pederson’s rookie year. Nelson Agholor ended up in a legal situation after an alleged altercation at a strip club, Nigel Bradham decided to get involved in an incident at an airport regarding an Umbrella, and we had a myriad of other incidents through his tenure too. Daryl Worley was arrested within a heartbeat of signing with the team, Bradham got involved in a second incident, Fletcher Cox developed a taste for unavailable women, and Jalen Reagor has struggled to rise above waves of social media criticism.
Sirianni wants his players to put football first, which may not have always been the case under Doug Pederson during the offseason and that can only be seen as a positive sign.
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