Nick Sirianni Draws High Marks in OTAs, but It's Early in the Game

The Eagles rookie coach gets praise from not just palyers - as you would expect - but also a bystander like Brian Baldinger
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PHILADELPHIA – The Spring of Siranni is over now.

The Eagles’ new head coach put the wraps on three weeks of workouts on Friday and sent his team into their summer break.

Nick Sirianni and the players seemed to be on the same page during OTAs. More challenging and extremely stressful days lie ahead, so, granted, it is a very small sample size.

Right now, the players all gave their new coach a favorable assessment.

Of course, even if a player had any questions about Sirianni’s methods or approach, he wouldn’t come clean with them.

Why risk getting unceremoniously released?

READ MORE: From DeVonta Smith to Nick Sirianni, 10 Observations from ...

Still, every player talked about Sirianni’s energy, and it's something we have seen with each of his videoconferences with the media.

If anybody would have any doubts, it would be the veterans, but even players and leaders such as center Jason Kelce seem to have bought in.

“It’s not an act of any sort,” said Kelce. “That’s kind of who he is, and he’s really excited to be a head coach and that’s very evident. He’s really excited to have a staff here, to be working with the team.

“He’s big on being connected, he’s big on building a culture where people are not just playing football together but really forming a bond and being connected outside of football as well.”

A bystander like Brian Baldinger can speak the truth without fear of retribution, and the NFL analyst did just that during a recent episode of the Eagles Unfiltered podcast.

“Just talking to guys on the team since OTAs began and they started getting to know him, they really like him,” said Baldinger. “They like the way he communicates, they like the way he talks to the team, they like the way he explains things. It’s gotten off to a good start.”

Nick Sirianni

Nick Sirianni

Baldinger revisited the hiring of Sirianni, about how he was sort of a second-thought candidate who was summoned from his Florida vacation to a meeting with Jeffrey Lurie and his lieutenants at Lurie's estate in West Palm Beach.

“Really once Nick got in the room, the search was over,” said Baldy, who spent 13 years as an undrafted free agent offensive lineman, including his final two seasons with the Eagles. “It was his job. Sometimes it’s like that. It was like that with Mike Tomlin, with Pittsburgh.

“They were ready to hire Russ Grimm (in 2007). They met Mike Tomlin who was in the league, coaching with Tony Dungy in Tampa and whatnot, but it was all over at that point. As much as they loved Russ Grimm, he was from Pittsburgh, he was a Hog, won Super Bowls, Mike Tomlin was the guy and they made the right choice.”

Tomlin had been Dungy’s DB coach for five years before becoming the defensive coordinator of the Vikings, only spending one year in that role before the Steelers gave him his head-coaching shot.

Pittsburgh hasn't looked back since.

Sirianni has a little more experience than Tomlin, and perhaps it will be Philadelphia that doesn't look back for a while.

“I kind of feel like Nick, he’s the son of a coach, his father was his high school coach, his brother coaches that high school now, his other brother is the head coach at Washington and Jefferson outside of Pittsburgh all he knows his coaching,” said Baldinger.

“All his vacations were coach’s vacations, and there’s something to that. There’s something to another guy watching other people get a message to a team and how you relay that message can be very different for different situations. It can be a team message or an individual message.”

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 and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.