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Nick Sirianni Wise to Slow Play Future of His Assistants

The Eagles coach admitted he hadn't yet had his season-ending meeting with Jeffrey Lurie

With Jeffrey Lurie's recent history, Nick Sirianni was probably wise to slow-play the future of his assistant coaches.

A day after Jonathan Gannon interviewed with the Houston Texans about their head-coaching position, the Denver Broncos brass was on the East Coast to talk with a couple of identified candidates for their own open job, including Gannon.

The Eagles' current defensive coordinator was set to meet with George Paton and Co. on Wednesday afternoon/evening after the Broncos kicked the tires on Patriots inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo in the Boston area in the morning.

On Thursday, Gannon is set to finish his three scheduled interviews by meeting virtually with one of his old employers, the Minnesota Vikings.

With all of that buzzing, Sirianni was asked about his coordinators returning for 2022 at his season-ending press conference, alongside general manager Howie Roseman, on Wednesday.

Rather than being definitive before his own season-ending meeting with Lurie, something that got Doug Pederson in trouble once upon a time, Sirianni spoke in more general terms.

"Really, really like this staff and everything that we have in this staff right here," Sirianni said. "I think that it's a great group of guys that work well together. I think that's really important that guys work well together within the building, and that starts by having a good group of guys and a good group of people that are talented at what they do."

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From there, Sirianni explained he's through only a fraction of his own evaluation meetings with his assistants.

"As of right now, again, I'm evaluating everything like I would at the end of the year," the coach said. "I'm evaluating every player. I'm meeting with every player. I'm evaluating every coach. I'm meeting with every coach. I'm really happy with the people we have in this building. I'm really happy with the staff that we have, and I look forward to continuing to work with them."

Those closest to Sirianni on the offensive side certainly have nothing to worry about, which would include his right-hand man, passing game coordinator Kevin Pautullo, as well as offensive coordinator Shane Steichen and quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson, who were both singled out for assisting Jalen Hurts in his development.

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"You take into account Shane Steichen, who is a great offensive coordinator, and Brian Johnson, a phenomenal quarterback coach, and our offensive staff doing everything they need to do to get Jalen ready to play," Sirianni said. "A lot of factors go into why Jalen got better as a passer, starting with Jalen first."

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As for Gannon, the assumption is he will be back if he does not get a head-coaching job elsewhere but young special teams coordinator Michael Clay saw his units struggle mightily late in the season, with the exception of kicker Jake Elliott.

In the final years of the Pederson era, Lurie seemed to want to scapegoat certain assistants, notably offensive coordinator Mike Groh and receivers coach Carson Walch after the 2019 season and then balking at Pederson's plan to elevate Press Taylor to OC and Matt Burke to DC after 2020. 

Bringing back Cory Undlin as DC was also swatted, the final straw before Pederson's own dismissal.

So Sirianni was probably wise to not offer any blanket guarantees about his staff.

"I have not had my end-of-year meeting with Mr. Lurie," Sirianni said. "I look forward to doing that as well, to be able to talk through all of the things of this season – after a long season, being able to talk through all those things."

To date, Sirianni noted he was "through about five of my end-of-year meetings with the coaches."

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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.