All eyes are on Nick Sirianni. Repeated and sustained success is extremely hard to accomplish in the National Football League, just ask Doug Pederson. As the only coach to win a Super Bowl for the Eagles, normally we’d be talking about Pederson having a key to the city, and staying on the job for years afterward.
It’s normal for second-year coaches, after making the playoffs their first year, to have a bit of a letdown. Key examples run rampant throughout football. Ben McAdoo led the Giants to the playoffs in 2016 before having two straight years of terrible football. Jim Mora Jr. of the Atlanta Falcons led them to the NFC Title game in his first season, but then didn’t finish above .500 once in the next two years.
What about the Eagles?
There are clear examples in Eagles history as well.
Thanks to making the playoffs in his first season, Chip Kelly used whatever leverage he had to gain ultimate power in the Eagles’ building…until two straight seasons of no playoffs caused Jeffery Lurie to change his mind.
Ray Rhodes is another example. The fiery 49ers assistant led the Eagles to the playoffs in his first two seasons but ultimately ran down the players and had one of the worst teams in football history.
Former Eagles defensive coordinator Bud Carson suffered a similar fate. After leading the Cleveland Browns to the AFC Title Game in 1989, he was fired the next season after a 2-7 start.
Sustained success is hard in this league. It’s why Nick Sirianni is entering an extremely important training camp period with the Eagles.
Coaches who struggle in year two tend to try and overcompensate a dwindling scheme by saying the same thing and boring players. It’s what happened with Chip Kelly, and it’s what could happen with Sirianni.
Nick Sirianni needs to do things his way
There are reasons to feel optimistic about Sirianni’s second season though. One main cause of second-year coaches struggling is a lack of overall talent at their disposal. That’s not the case for the 2022 Eagles. A.J Brown, Nakobe Dean, Haason Reddick, and a plethora of others have been added.
There’s plenty of talent on the roster for the Eagles to get even further than they did last season. If Sirianni improves his system, and continues to help develop his players, the Eagles won’t have to worry about a sophomore slump from their head coach.
Sirianni’s character also has shown to be much different than past coaches. As much as Eagle fans love Doug Pederson, the end of his tenure was full of a coach putting his head in the sand and refusing to change simple things that could have improved the team. Pederson’s ego, as much as anyone else’s, was a big factor in the Eagles 2020 demise.
Sirianni has been extremely open about wanting to be everywhere and continuing to improve. The constant stream of “competing” within the locker room has festered in the coaching staff.
It’s not a bad thing.
With a roster full of talent, how Sirianni handles the communication will be key. He’s shown willing and able to adapt quickly when the team needs it. How Sirianni adapts in his second season could very well determine just how far the Eagles can go this year, and in the future.
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