Nick Sirianni is finally beginning to find his identity as a Head Coach

Eagles nick sirianni
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – AUGUST 27: Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni during the National Football League preseason game between the New York Jets and the Philadelphia Eagles on August 27, 2021 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)

After running the ball over 40 times against the Lions, the Eagles were expected to do the same against the Raiders. Fans were not disappointed. Nick Sirianni sprinkled in a bit of play-action and limited the RPO’s. You saw a very well-put-together game plan from the NFL’s most criticized head coach and he deserves praise.

The Eagles ran the ball 39 times with Jordan Howard leading the charge. He had 17 attempts for 71 yards and a touchdown. The former Miami Dolphin averaged 4.2 yards per carry while Boston Scott followed averaging 4.0 yards per carry on 10 attempts. Jalen Hurts also used his legs on 10 attempts of his own, including a very impressive flip to gain a first down in a clutch scenario late into proceedings.

During the first half, the offense seemed very one-dimensional and light-years behind what the Chargers were doing. Nick Sirianni has been heavily criticized for not adjusting this season. He’s either played it safe like he did against the Lions or played out of character as he did against the Cowboys.

It was impressive to see what he did in the second half. It reminded me of the time that Malcolm Jenkins spoke to Jim Schwartz to adjust in the second half in a game against the Giants by simplifying the defense.

The reads were easier for Jalen Hurts which allowed DeVonta Smith to flourish and break out for 116 receiving yards including a 28-yard game-tying touchdown pass. Sirianni played to the strengths of Hurts. His passing chart was more balanced than it ever has been by the end of the game and the offense really started to churn as a run-first unit.

Hurts was poised and confident in the pocket during the second half as the offense played flawless football, which after coming into the game as the most penalized team in the NFL was a sight for sore eyes. Sure, there were times where you questioned the accuracy of Jalen Hurts and his inability to stay put in the pocket but in the second half, that version of Hurts was non-existent.

Heading into the Chargers matchup, the big concern was if the offense would be consistent and stick to what worked for them against the Lions. On the first drive, it seemed as if they were steering away from that, before putting together several good drives leading into a second half where a rhythm was quickly developed.

“We just have to identify what they’re doing and then attack from there.” Nick Sirianni said after the game, which perfectly summarizes what he needs to be doing moving forward when it comes to constructing gameplans. “I think our offensive coaches did a nice job with just kind of seeing what they were doing, communicate what they were doing so we could get to the answers off some of the things that the Chargers were doing to us on defense.”

The fact of the matter is this. If Sirianni can continue to focus on how to get the ball to his playmakers as opposed to burdening Hurts, then this team could be really good going forward. If Jalen Hurts can learn to trust his protection and wait for the receivers to make their moves, then he can still develop into a really good QB.

After seven weeks of questionable play-calls and a total lack of execution from his players, Nick Sirianni is beginning to find his identity as a Head Coach, and that’s all anyone could ask.

Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire