Nick Sirianni’s abysmal play-calling reared its ugly head during the Eagles 41-21 loss to Dallas
Last night’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys was embarrassing across the board for the Philadelphia Eagles. From Jalen Hurts to the secondary, every position group was at fault for how things turned out. The blame doesn’t end on the field, though. Arguably the biggest reasons for last night’s events were on the sideline, Nick Sirianni and Jonathan Gannon.
Nick Sirianni struggled with play-calling for the last two games, only scoring one touchdown last week and now just one TD last night that didn’t occur in garbage time. In the first quarter, Sirianni and the Eagles’ offense had three consecutive short drives, which kept the defense on the field and allowed these big scores. Let’s take a look at how this team tried to get going on offense early.
Drive 1 (Time of Possession: 58 seconds):
- 38-yard pass to Dallas Goedert
- 5-yard pass to Quez Watkins
- Jalen Hurts throws an interception
Drive 2 (Time of Possession: 44 seconds):
- Incomplete pass to Zach Ertz
- 5-yard pass to DeVonta Smith
- Deep pass incomplete
Drive 3 (Time of Possession: 1:24):
- 9-yard pass to Miles Sanders
- Read option, Hurts blown up in the backfield by Micah Parsons
- Incomplete pass to Zach Ertz
Right here is the end of the first quarter. The Eagles had the ball for roughly three and a half minutes, while Dallas had the football for over 11 minutes. The only run play attempted was a read-option where Dallas stacked the line-of-scrimmage the play was doomed from the start.
Going into the second quarter, the Eagles don’t touch the football until there 7:10 remaining in the half. It’s far from game over at this point, down 13 points with a chance to score before the half and get the ball to start the third and tie things up. Absolutely no reason to speed up your game plan, more than enough time on the clock to string together a long drive.
Drive 4 (Time of Possession: 1:57):
- 24-yard rush from Miles Sanders (FINALLY)
- Jalen Hurts two-yard scramble
- 3-yard carry from Miles Sanders
- Incomplete pass to Dallas Goedert
Miles Sanders’ final run of the day came with 5:56 remaining in the half, so for the next 36 minutes of play, Nick Sirianni willingly decided it wasn’t a good idea to run the football. I want Nick Sirianni to pan out. I really do. But how incompetent of a coach do you have to be to run the ball for the first time this late and then abandon it for the remainder of the game? Do you want to attack through the air? Okay great. All the Cowboys are going to do now is lay off the pressure and smother you in coverage, which is exactly what they did.
You need to establish the run for the passing game to be effective. You could ask a Pop-Warner coach that question, and he would know what to do better than Nick Sirianni. Sirianni has been in the NFL since 2009 and has been around football his whole life. It’s not like he doesn’t know better.
Jeffrey Lurie criticized Doug Pederson for running the football last season in crucial wins, so who knows? Maybe Nick Sirianni is just the puppet that Howie Roseman and Lurie wanted all along, someone who can force the passing game with a QB who is not built to be a pocket passer.
To end the night, the Eagles ran a total of 64 yards, almost all of which came from Jalen Hurts scrambling from the pocket. Kenny Gainwell had one carry late in garbage time, with a total of three carries coming from the Eagles’ running backs.
For reference, Philadelphia had more penalty yards (86) than rushing yards last night, which is another place of blame for Nick Sirianni. Playing disciplined football is your responsibility, and it’s your job to coach them up better. These penalties didn’t occur just tonight. The team leads the league in penalties with 35 through three games, 10th most through three games in NFL history.
This week is gut-check time for Nick Sirianni and to see if he genuinely has the ability to be an NFL coach. If Miles Sanders continues to sit there idly while forcing Jalen Hurts to scramble or make bad passes, his tenure in Philadelphia might not be long.
Mandatory Credit: NJ.com