PHILADELPHIA - Eagles fans have a ton of interest in their new head coach Nick Sirianni and perhaps the most notable impression of the rookie mentor through four days of practice is just how hands-on he can be.
On Saturday night, over a span of 20 minutes, you saw just how impactful Sirianni’s coaching style can be with the dichotomy of praise and constructive criticism aimed at second-year receiver John Hightower.
Once a WR himself in college at Mount Union with a history of coaching the position at the NFL level with Kansas City and the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers, Sirianni has taken a keen early interest with the understanding of how difficult it is to win in the modern NFL without production outside the numbers.
In the final two years of the Doug Pederson era, no Philadelphia wideout has tallied over 600 yards receiving, an almost incomprehensible lack of production in a league where it’s never been easier to throw the football.
On Saturday, Hightower, a fifth-round pick with speed out of Boise State in 2020, did a really good job creating separation at the top of his route in individual drills and Sirianni sprinted over to tell the young roster-bubble player how much he enjoyed the rep.
Moments later, however, Jalen Hurts lofted an excellent back-shoulder throw to Hightower down the field in one-on-ones and the young receiver didn’t get his head around quickly enough to track the ball.
In a game environment, it should have been a huge play and Sirianni was quick to explain to Hightower how important it is to get his eyes around to the football, imploring the 25-year-old player that he’s got too much talent to let technique get in the way.
Before any of that, the head coach was also seen putting his hands on a few WRs during a footwork drill to tighten up their technique.
You can take attention to detail off the hand-wringing list when it comes to Sirianni.
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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 email@example.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 and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.