Did Nick Sirianni Take 49ers Loss Too Hard?

The Eagles coach would be wise to buy into his quarterback Jalen Hurts' philosophy of not getting too high or too low after a win or a loss
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PHILADELPHIA - The only thing missing was the couch and the therapist checking his watch.

The extra day in advance of Monday night's matchup between the Eagles and Cowboys in North Texas did Nick Sirianni no favors as the rookie head coach's 24-hour rule turned into 48, and an extra daybreak and sunset to beat himself up after his dynamic debut turned into a sophomore slump.

"I mean, you just got to believe me. I spend a lot of time self-evaluating myself before I even do anything with the team," Sirianni said prior to Thursday's practice. "So, the amount of time I beat myself up on calls, and, I mean, I drug myself through the mud pretty good this week. And for – you know, hey, I should have. There were plays that didn't work."

There certainly were plays that didn't work in the 17-11 setback to San Francisco, the most notable being the "Philly Unspecial," in which the head coach seemed to be trying to impress someone - be it the fan base or perhaps owner Jeffrey Lurie - a little too much.

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By Monday, after the game, Sirianni was calling his overreach on the demarcation line of his first loss as a head coach "gadgety," and something you won't be seeing again anytime soon.

The fork in the road here is stark with some showing empathy for a coach who cares, perhaps too much. 

The negative side to that is that the setback was one week in September against an opponent that was perceived to be better but needed self-inflicted mistakes by the Eagles to win.

Sirianni shouldn't need to channel Stuart Smalley but there he was on the podium offering up a public affirmation.

For Smalley - the famed Saturday Night Live character played by Al Franken - it was "You're Good Enough, You're Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like You."

For Sirianni, the mantra was: "What I said to myself coming off of that, like, when I – because at some point, you got to switch. You got to switch your mode and be, like, ‘No, I'm here because I'm a good coach and I'm ready to go and get our guys in the best position to beat Dallas I possibly can,'" which was accompanied by the now-trademarked hand slap to the podium.

If this EKG of emotions continues for Sirianni, he's going to reach burnout levels far too quickly.

The coach needs to take a page from his young quarterback's playbook - never get too high and never get too low.

Instead, the switch that helped Sirianni turn the page was the structure of the NFL which forces you to focus on what's next.

"There's got to be a switch that flips," the coach said. "And so, what helped me this week is – just the preparation, like, ‘Hey, trust your preparation, trust what you did all week, trust the seven hours you spent on third down that you want to make that call. The other seven hours on red zone that you made educated decisions here, trust that process.’ Trust your process, stick to your gut, trust your process, be ready to adjust."

One adjustment that should be made is turning Jalen Hurts' passing charts from a donut missing any traffic in the middle of the field to a more evenly distributed template that forces the opposition to defend the entire field.

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The jury is out and remains sequestered debating where Sirianni is with that.

"You always self-scout yourself and you don't ever want to be predictable to the defense," Sirianni told SI.com's Eagle Maven when asked about Hurts staying outside the hashes with his throws. "Again, it's sometimes, like, ‘Hey, what are they giving you and what are your players good at?’

And it's more about what they're giving you. It's both/and. But sometimes, the middle of the field is not there for you to take. So, I don't get too caught up in that. But, yes, you're always self-scouting yourself. It's, like, hitting the play in the middle is very similar to the scenario of, ‘Hey, every time I'm strong in the gun, I run this.’

"You want to correct that so that the defense doesn't have a tell on you. And that's every phase of the game."

Then, it was back to the affirmation.

"I mean, my goodness, I got great guys at my disposal to help me make good decisions," he said. "And so, my thought is there, again, trust your process of what I went through and what this staff has went through all week, and then lean on guys that have had good experience calling plays in this league."

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-John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on both PhillyVoice.com and YouTube. John is also the host of his own show "Extending the Play" on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.