Nick Sirianni has come full circle in this third (and final?) season as head coach of the Eagles. Based on the past six games, he is indeed the bumbling, embarrassing coach who held the worst debut news conference in the history of Philadelphia sports.
Back then, in the midst of the COVID pandemic, Sirianni went on a Zoom call with the media after his improbable assent to the top job and could barely form a coherent sentence.
“The first part of being smart is knowing what to do. We’re going to…we’re going to know…we’re going to have systems in place that are easier to learn. Alright, complicated to the defense or offense that they’re going against, or the special teams group they’re going against, but easy for us to learn. Because when we can learn our system, and we can get good at our system, then our talent can take over.”
He stammered and stumbled through an introduction that raised alarms throughout the Eagles fan base. The novice head coach sounded like someone who had no clue how to run a football team.
My first reaction was, how the hell did he dazzle owner Jeff Lurie and GM Howie Roseman in the interview process compared to eight other candidates with more experience and a far better command of the English language?
Of course, then the Birds recovered from a poor start to make the playoffs in Sirianni’s first season, took a trip to the Super Bowl last year and were 10-1 to start 2023. We all assumed Sirianni’s bumbling start was just a product of a bad case of nerves.
Now, after not just losing five of six, but getting undressed against weak opponents like the Giants’ debacle on Sunday, we are pretty much back to our first impression.
The guy can’t coach. What other explanation makes sense after the defense has collapsed the way it has over the past two months? Wouldn’t any capable head coach find a solution that made more sense than relying on a hack like Matt Patricia to un-do the damage of anointing Sean Desai as defensive coordinator after Jonathan Gannon left?
As for the “systems” Sirianni crowed about at his debut news conferences, those are the focal point now of his ineptitude. Never have the internet detectives had an easier time depicting the utter confusion of the defense than by simply posting play after play of a defense that has no system, and thus no idea what to do.
That’s why even the worst offenses – Seattle, Arizona and the Giants, to name three — have owned the Eagles from the first snap of the game until the nauseating finish.
And the indignities for Eagles fans don’t end when the game does. Sirianni has managed to lose every news conference after every loss since Halloween. He keeps presenting bold statements that defy what we just saw, hollow promises of better days ahead when each game just digs the hole deeper.
“None of us are quitters. We all get up off the mat when we’re down, and we get up, and we keep going. When you get hit in life, when you get hit in football, you got two options — you can stay down, or you can get the F up. And I know this group is fighters. I know this group will get up. I know that we’ve all been through things in our life, that we’ve all had to deal with S, and we know how to get up. And that’s why we’re all sitting in this room.”
Sirianni made this comment less than two hours after he himself had quit, removing his starters late in the first half because, by his own admission, he didn’t see a way his playoff-bound team could come back from a 24-0 deficit against a 5-11 opponent.
People ask me all the time if I miss being at WIP during crises like this. No, I don’t. 33 years was enough for me. But I wouldn’t mind putting Sirianni on the griddle at his day-after interviews on our show.
I wouldn’t mind asking him why we should believe he can fix the problems now when he hasn’t come close to doing so in the past two months.
I wouldn’t mind asking him why Jalen Hurts seems lost and confused this season when he was an MVP candidate last year.
I wouldn’t mind challenging him on his bogus answers to valid questions, even asking him directly if he respected the fans enough to provide an occasional honest response to their growing concerns.
And I wouldn’t mind demanding to know how a coach who made the NFL playoffs for his first three years here could preside over a collapse being compared to the ultimate example, that of the 1964 Phillies.
Needless to say, I wouldn’t get any logical answers to those questions anyway. Nick Sirianni has never felt an inclination to explain the inexplicable.
He couldn’t do so at his first news conference.
And I’m sure he won’t at his last news conference.
Which, barring a miracle, is scheduled for next week.