Why Monday Was More Impressive for Nick Sirianni than Sunday's Rout Over Atlanta

The Eagles' rookie coach understands you can't stand still in the NFL
Publish date:

The most positive sign pointing to Nick Sirianni becoming a very good NFL head coach didn't take place during Sunday's 32-6 rout of the Atlanta Falcons and their far more highly-touted rookie mentor Arthur Smith.

Not to say there weren't plenty of encouraging moments during 60 minutes of football dominance over the Falcons but the subtlety of what came next was more important.

On Monday during his day-after press conference, Sirianni was able to verbalize what needs to be done moving forward.

The NFL doesn't exist in stasis and the minute you're standing still is when you get lapped in what is an ultra-competitive environment.

You can highlight that by rewinding to 2013 when Chip Kelly set the NFL world on fire with a dazzling first half against Washington before the second 30 minutes foreshadowed the eventual end game, a failure to adjust to the adjustments made to the initial plan.

For Sirianni, that acknowledgment came buried deep into the praise for J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, who got the surprise start at WR in Atlanta because Sirianni scripted a couple of bubble screens to Quez Watkins early so he wanted his best-blocking receiver on the field as well to help spring Watkins.

"J.J. did a great job with that," Sirianni said. "He'll be rewarded with catches from that."

And why would a guy who isn't known for his playmaking skills be "rewarded" for doing what he does best?

Because if Arcega-Whiteside isn't, opposing defenses - especially the really good ones - will catch up to what the Eagles did against the Falcons very quickly.

MORE: Day After with Nick Sirianni: J.J. Arcega-Whiteside the Blocker

Sirianni continuously stressed this summer that he thought the Eagles would have an advantage early in the season because teams around the league didn't have a firm grasp on what was coming.

Now there are 60 minutes of actual competitive football on film and Philadelphia's Week 2 opponent, San Francisco, has a much more established coaching staff than the hapless Falcons and those coaches have already taken a deep dive into it.

In other words, adjustments are coming and Sirianni understands he can't telegraph what's coming by placing No. 19 on the field to do only one thing.

The play-caller has to put JJAW getting touches on film so the opposing defense has some doubt in its head.

"I know he wasn't [rewarded on Sunday]," said the coach. "But we're going to have to marry things together so he's getting some touches off that, as well. So we have that threat to run and pass it."

Execution is always the bigger part of success than visualization but you can't get to the former without the latter and Sirianni's understanding of what needs to be done is impressive.

-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.