The more you hear from players talking about Nick Sirianni, the easier it is to get excited about the decision to hire him. And it’s not just Sirianni, but his staff, too, which, by all accounts, looks like he was allowed to hire all by his big-boy self.
Jacoby Brissett was the latest to dish on Sirianni, who, at 39, is a head coach for the first time, when he went on the AP Pro Football Podcast with Rob Maadi.
“When you talk to Nick and you start talking football, you kind of see his personality,” Brissett said. “Unbelievable dude. He knows football. He loves football, a guy that’s going to be prepared for everything.
“One thing about Nick is he thinks of every situation possible. I think that will set him apart from a lot of these coaches because I’m sure he’s going to call the plays there. I’m excited to see how it goes. We’ve always talked about him getting that opportunity to be a head coach. I think he’s going to be one of the good ones in this league.”
Brissett, who many thought might join his former coach in Philadelphia as a free agent, opted instead to sign a one-year deal with the Dolphins for $7.5 million to back up Tua Tagovailoa.
The Eagles went with Joe Flacco to presumably back up Jalen Hurts.
“The best thing about it is Nick is he’s going to teach (Hurts),” Brissett said. “Nick is a great teacher. He understands players. He knows how to get his information through to the players so that the player understands it. So, I think that will be the best thing for Jalen and any quarterback that’s playing with him.”
Earlier in the week, newly signed linebacker Eric Wilson talked about his days in Minnesota playing for Nick Rallis and Jonathan Gannon, now the Eagles’ LB coach and defensive coordinator, respectively.
“He’s a very passionate guy, a very high energy guy, and a very smart guy,” said Wilson about Rallis. “He’s a great teacher. He’s helped me tremendously improve my skill set as a player.”
As for Gannon, Wilson called him JG.
“He’s an amazing guy, very high energy, very passionate, very smart, and also a teacher,” said Wilson. “I think that a lot of our coaches – all of our coaches – are great people and great teachers and that’s very important to build that culture, build that connection with one another as players and coaches and be always improving and always finding out the best way to coach and finding out the best position us as players can get into and be in the game and truly be happy doing that and enjoying our work.”
Safety Anthony Harris who signed earlier in free agency praised Gannon as well.
“He’s going to being some energy,” said Harris. “He’s going to be somebody who has that balance of being dialed in, getting to the point, letting you know his expectations, but he’s also going to be that guy right there with you jumping around when you make a play.
“I imagine he’ll be right there next to guys, maybe even demonstrating some of the drills. He’s just that type of guy who loves football, who loves being around the players, and ultimately who just wants to in.”
Running back Jordan Howard spoke earlier in the week after signing a one-year deal to return to Philadelphia. Howard singled out RB coach Jemal Singleton but also praised Sirianni.
“I talked to Jemal a little bit more,” said Howard. “I heard a lot of great things about him from Frank Gore who had him in Indianapolis, and coach Sirianni, I’m excited to work with him. He’s a young guy, the coaching staff is young, they’re ready to prove themselves and as a team, we’re ready to prove ourselves.”
Finally, there is quarterback coach Brian Johnson, who was the offensive coordinator for the University of Florida last season.
Gators receivers Kadarius Toney and Trevon Grimes were asked about Johnson during their pro day availabilities last month.
“Coach Johnson’s a funny guy,” said Grimes, a possible late-round target for the Eagles. “That’s my guy. He’s one of those coaches where he helps you out if you don’t understand a concept. He knows how to make most of mismatches and puts players in positions where they’re going to win. As a coach, as an all-around coach, he’s top tier.”
Added Toney: “I feel like he played an amazing part of putting me in position to be successful. He made sure every time that there was a play to be made, I was probably on the receiving end of it, or Kyle Pitts, someone who’s going to make sure it’s done.”
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s EagleMaven. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.