PHILADELPHIA - Most of the Eagles’ mini-bye week was about looking inward for the coaching staff, evaluating what has been going well and things that could be moving in a better direction.
There was another aspect to the downtime and that was the opportunity to look around the league to see how other coaching staffs were handling key situations. Even college football games weren't exempt.
And one game, in particular, caught Nick Sirianni’s eye.
“The other thing you always value on a pseudo bye week is the ability to watch games, other teams play games,” the Eagles coach said. “I feel like I can't be like a fan and just be watching it because I'm looking at different scenarios and situations.
“So, I'm looking at it, and you go through the football IQ parts of it. Okay, ‘Hey, they're in a two-minute; would you call a time out here? Would I do what Jacksonville did at the end of the game with five seconds left and get it to him and clock it? Oh, that's good.’ That spurred some thought right there.”
The Jaguars halted their ugly 20-game losing streak when Matthew Wright split the uprights from 53 yards out in London to beat the Miami Dolphins 23-20.
Sirianni, though, was more interested in how Bevell, Jacksonville's offensive coordinator, handled the final seconds with timeouts available.
The Jags turned a 3rd-and-20 at their own 44-yard-line into a 4th-and-8 at the Miami 44 with a 12-yard Trevor Lawrence pass to Laviska Shenault. Only five seconds remained in regulation, however.
Unless you have Justin Tucker or perhaps Matt Prater, a field goal from 62 yards is a little too rich, and the thought to most at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was that they would be seeing a Hail Mary and probably some overtime as well.
Instead, the Jags went back to Shenault on a quick seam pass for nine yards and quickly called timeout with one tick remaining, setting up Wright’s walk-off.
“That Jacksonville [situation] was interesting,” Sirianni said. “It spurred a lot of thought on both the offensive and defensive sides. That wasn't one where I was just texting [Eagles offensive coordinator] Shane [Steichen] and [Eagles quarterbacks coach] Brian [Johnson] and [Eagles passing game coordinator] Kevin [Patullo] and the offensive coaches. I was texting [Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan] Gannon and the defensive coaches, too.”
Situational football is something Gannon mentioned earlier this week as something his defense needs to get better at over the final 11 games.
And like any rookie head coach, Sirianni is a work in progress when it comes to game management.
“It's interesting when you're able to [watch other games],” the coach said. “You're on the group text messages with all the offensive coaches or all the defensive coaches or all the special teams coaches and everyone is just talking."
The more situations you’ve simulated the better you will be if they come up, according to the head coach.
“That is a big process because we do that process in situational football every Saturday,” he said. “We do that, we put ourselves through that to make sure we put ourselves in every situation. Well, we were just able to do that live and in the spur of the moment this weekend.
“And that's college games, too, because we're football junkies. … that's a good process to put yourself through when you're sitting there on the couch watching the game.”
-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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.