PHILADELPHIA – What a difference a year makes.
Last season, the Eagles won their opener and then lost three straight.
This season, the Eagles are 2-0.
Head coach Nick Sirianni kept the team’s ship afloat when the record sunk to 2-5 in 2021.
As challenging as it was just a year ago, being unbeaten at 2-0 this season, with praise coming from all directions and a meteoric rise in whatever power rankings you look at, can be just as challenging.
“Obviously, people are telling us how good we are now,” said Sirianni. “Whether it was last year at this time people are telling us how bad we were. When you truly are in the moment of where you are and focusing on what you have to do for that day, people can tell you whatever they want. Your job today is to do this and not to skip any steps.
“If we are as competitive as we say we are in this room and as we preach in this room, then I don't care if you're 2-0, 0-2, if you won 24-7 or if you lost 7 to 24, you're going to come out and want to take the guy your playing's heart away this next game.
"I don't care if you're playing a one-on-one basketball game - what did I get my (chops) busted about last year - rock, paper, scissors. I don't care what it is, you are going to go and try to win that competition.”
The coach said competition is the theme this week.
Last week, it was about connecting, but a short week requires more focus on competing.
“When you can stick true to your core values and what's important for a week, all the outside noise and all the waves of the season, we play once a week, so I understand, you guys had a lot of stories to write about before we play again and so we understand what it is, but you have to stay true to what you're doing on that particular day, and the core values that we have," he said.
Sirianni isn’t worried about his message not getting through, even if it isn’t as colorful as watering and fertilizing and growing roots, which was his theme at 2-5.
Once again, it comes in handy to have veterans like the Eagles do, no matter the scenario.
“I don't worry about (his message about competing not getting through) that that much here because we have great team captains and great team leaders,” he said.
“Our captains are special, and they have been to the top of the mountain, most of our captains have been to the top of the mountain and know what it takes to get to the top of the mountain and plant that Eagle flag at the top of the mountain.
“As opposed to other head coaches in the NFL, I feel like I have a very unique situation with four guys on the offensive and defensive line that have been in the battle and the trenches and got to the top. So, they know and they help preach every message and they are just great leaders.”
Brandon Graham is one of those captains and is the longest-tenured player on the Eagles’ roster. He has seen plenty of highs and lows and started different seasons in various ways since being drafted in 2010.
“I want be told how bad I am because when we start being good again, I don’t want to hear that same (stuff) from people who weren’t believing in us,” he said. “Just keep winning, just keep going.”
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Fan Nation Eagles Today and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglesmaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.