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Nick Sirianni Wants Eagles On-Schedule

The off-schedule offense is great but Nick Sirianni wants Jalen Hurts to do more with designed plays

PHILADELPHIA - It wasn't exactly an epiphany on the podium but Eagles coach Nick Sirianni admitted his offense is getting away from him, at least a little bit, after the Eagles' 28-22 loss to Tampa Bay on Thursday night.

The score wasn't indicative of the lopsided nature of the affair, something that turned a 28-7 rout into a contest that was in doubt until Tom Brady converted a third-and-seven to Antonio Brown with 2:40 left in the game.

A poor decision by Bruce Arians to try put the game away with a little over 9 minutes left on a 4th-and-3 from the Eagles' 46-yard line gave Philadelphia a bit of life and an offense that had been moribund for most of the night outside of two long pass interference calls drawn by Jalen Reagor suddenly got a lift when Arians foot on the gas was replaced by slamming on the brakes by defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.

The Buccaneers' defense had given Sirianni and Jalen Hurts fits with an aggressive style but backed off late with the lead, an all-too-common occurrence in the modern NFL.

RELATED: Eagles Rally Falls Short, Drop 28-22 Decision to Bucsa

"They popped a couple runs late when we were playing pass-defense," Arians said. "Just [Hurts] traveling, him getting out of the pocket, improvising. I liked the way we handled all the design plays, those improvised plays that are tough.”

And that's the problem with Sirianni's offense right now.

There is no real foundational aspect to off-schedule offense and too much of the Eagles' success is tethered to Hurts' improvisational abilities, things you can't practice or count on from a consistency standpoint.

It's great when they show up but at some point the designed plays that the Bucs handled so well have to be the larger piece of the pie when it comes to the Eagles' offense.

It's no surprise Sirianni realizes that but it was a little shocking that the coach admitted Hurts' inability to function within the structure of the offense is limiting things.

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"Yeah, definitely," Sirianni said when asked by SI.com's Eagle Maven if the Eagles' offense is too reliant on Hurts' improv skills. "Again, that's what we're talking about with we want to be able to make some plays in the pocket, and there are too many of those. 

"We're trying get it down from whatever percentage it is. We want to get into that 35, 40 percent area of unscripted plays. I'm definitely thinking tonight we were higher than that, and that's got to change."

RELATED: Eagles Rally Falls Short, Drop 28-22 Decision to Bucsa

Hurts was only 12-of-26 throwing the football on Thursday night for an unacceptable 115 yards with one touchdown and an interception for a 55.8 pass rating.

The worst part might have been Tampa Bay's blueprint for the rest of the league in blitzing Hurts. He might escape the sack but too often, the play is over from a progression standpoint. From that point, it's about the run as long as you have an athletic linebacker like the Bucs had with Devin White.

“I don’t want to make excuses for anything," Hurts said. "I know I hold myself to a high standard of play and I am trying to go out there and play at a high level for the guys around me. We all do that.

"We all have that mentality to go out there and play together and have each other’s backs. You look at this game and this past game that we played in and we started off slow. This whole year, we kind of shot ourselves in the foot and we know, and we believe. I have unwavering faith in the guys on this football team and everybody on this field and that we have everything we need."

For the first time, the rookie head coach waivered, however. If just a bit.

"We just need to hone in on being able to make some throws in the pocket first and then be able to escape," Sirianni said. "So, we’re always going to be talking about that with Jalen. ... He did a good job of escaping and making some plays. But, again, we're always going to be thinking about how do we get him to be the passer first and then the secondary part of it to be the runner."

-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.