The Philadelphia Eagles have hired Nick Sirianni as the franchise’s 24th head coach in franchise history. The 39-year-old Sirianni has spent the last 3 years as the Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator under former Eagles offensive coordinator, Frank Reich. This is Sirianni’s first head coaching job.
Sirianni comes from a football family. His two brothers and father are all current/former head coaches at both the high school and college level. Now Nick gets his chance at the highest level of football.
Sirianni has had the benefit of being under some of the brighter offensive minds in the NFL.
Sirianni’s reputation around the league has been predicated on his ability to get the most of the players he’s coached. Whether it’s Philip Rivers, who threw for a career best 69.5 completion percentage in Sirianni’s first year on the staff, Keenan Allen, who made his first career pro-bowl under Sirianni or Jonathan Taylor who led all rookies in rushing, rushing for for 1,169 yards and 11 rushing touchdowns in his rookie season. Sirianni has an innate ability to hone in on players strengths and maximize them.
Sirianni’s ability as a developer and maximizer of talent was only enhanced by the Colts 2020 offense which featured several players who stepped up when needed.
- T.Y. Hilton: 56 catches/ 762 yards/ 5 Touchdowns
- Zach Pascal: 44 catches/ 629 yards/ 5 Touchdowns
- *Michael Pittman Jr: 40 catches/ 503 yards/ 1 Touchdown
- Mo Alie-Cox: 31 catches/394 yards/ 2 Touchdowns
- *Jonathan Taylor: 1169 yards rushing (11 rushing TDs)/ 36 catches/ 299 yards receiving/ 1 TD
- Nyheim Hines: 380 yards rushing (3 rushing TDs)/ 63 catches/ 482 yards receiving/ 4 Receiving TDs
* – Rookie
Sirianni elaborated on this ability saying, “Figure out the type of players you have, their strengths, their weaknesses. Maximize their strengths. Try to hide their weaknesses.”
As an offensive coach, Sirianni did not call plays but he reportedly played a huge role in both game-planning and play design.
Siriani also has an edge to him.
I was told by Colts reporter, Jake Arthur, “He (Sirianni) is a very personable coach and gets along great with players, but from watching him at practice, he also keeps players accountable and demands effort.”
I was also told by someone familiar with Sirianni as a coach, “He doesn’t f*** around. He’s a stone cold football guy.”
“He’ll be wise and put some very good coaches around him. He’s not going to be a “me” coach,” Arthur said.
Schematically, Sirianni’s base offensive system will likely be the West Coast offense. That may cause some groans among fans but the Colts offense under Reich and Sirianni had some wrinkles and innovations that differ from Doug Pederson’s approach.
The Colts offense in 2020 utilized 12 personnel, which has become synonymous with the Philadelphia Eagles offense since Doug Pederson was hired in 2016, 21% of the time in 2020 (compared to 37% for Philadelphia). 11 personnel was utilized at a 69% rate in 2020 (58% in Philadelphia).
The Sirianni-Reich offense was predominantly centered around hunting mis-matches and exploiting said mis-matches. This was done by utilizing quick in-breaking and underneath concepts like mesh, drag, and dig routes. The Sirianni-Reich offense also leaned on the run a lot. In Sirianni’s 3 seasons as the offensive coordinator the Colts offense was in the top 10 in rushing attempts in 2 of his 3 seasons. As stated, Jonathan Taylor led all rookies in rushing.
Being around so many offensive minds gives Sirianni the benefit of having a lot of ideas to pull from as a coach. Sirianni did not call plays as offensive coordinator but he was heavily involved in the offensive process.
“He and Frank Reich were essentially side by side in weekly preparation. He had a heavy influence on gameplans,” Arthur told me.
Ultimately, Sirianni’s impact as Eagles head coach will be judged straight away by his ability to improve the play and, “fix” Carson Wentz. Sirianni has shown the ability to improve quarterback’s play in the past:
- Sirianni’s 2nd season with the Chiefs was as the organization’s assistant QB coach. Matt Cassel was selected to his first Pro-Bowl in 2010
- Sirianni has coached Philip Rivers for 3 seasons, in all 3 seasons Rivers completion percentage is in the top 5 for his career.
- Sirianni’s first season as Colts offensive coordinator was with Andrew Luck as his quarterback. That seasons was Luck’s best of his career
On paper, it may appear that the Eagles are hiring a carbon copy/hybrid of Doug Pederson or Frank Reich, but Sirianni is his own man. He has history as a developer and maximizer of talent. He’s a football coach first and foremost.