Nick Sirianni is underqualified to be an NFL head coach, overwhelmed every week and prone to resorting to wardrobe accessories and post-game chatter to deviate from what is becoming a disaster of a Eagles season.
For six weeks he was nearly done, messing up lost games with a wish to do better, borrowing Andy Reid’s mantra about putting his players in better positions to make plays, overseeing an improvement program. one percent per day.
The seventh was over.
It was then that Fletcher Cox, the defensive tackle to the Eagles’ honor roll, a Super Bowl champion and six-time professional bowler opened a window Sirianni may never close.
The Eagles had just lost 33-22 in Las Vegas, after being trailed by a 30-7 margin, Sirianni, 40, appearing to lead at random and his 38-year-old defensive master, Jonathan Gannon, unable to point out anything. or to prevent Derek Carr from completing 31 of 34 passes. It was their fifth loss in six games, including four unsightly.
On offense, the Eagles failed to catch passes with precision, failed to protect Jalen Hurts at a reasonable level, supported an on-going attack after Miles Sanders lost early in the game with an injury to the ankle and could not avoid penalties.
In defense, they weren’t willing to blitz, unable to plug the middle, bewildered by the Raiders’ on-screen passes and unable to avoid penalties.
Subsequently, Cox dropped this one: “When you’ve gotten so used to playing aggressive over the last few years I’ve played, that just changed. You can’t be that aggressive. You have to play what is called.
There you go, the opening bell, loud and clear, perhaps even reaching Jeffrey Lurie’s plugged ears. Fletcher Cox, as close to a franchise face as any player the owner still employs, openly challenged the coaching staff to do something different. While it may not have been as blatant as it was in 1991, Seth Joyner criticized Rich Kotite in a verbal post-game hurricane, it was the 21st century equivalent.
Cox has had enough of a defensive plan that was hit for 41 points in Dallas, a 42 points by the Chiefs, for 28 only because Tampa Bay ran out of time without taking the option to make 35, then for 33 in Nevada.
And it was a locker room firewall that Sirianni couldn’t afford to break down.
“For us, it’s the little things,” Cox said. “I think we need to be more aggressive.
Whether Cox wanted to draw one or not, it meant there was a line scrawled across the Eagles room.
On the one hand, there was Gannon, who messed up a fan base accustomed to Chuck Bednarik and Reggie White, Brian Dawkins and Jim Johnson, Marion Campbell and Jerome Brown, Bill Bergey and Andre Waters, Malcolm Jenkins and Buddy Ryan with a passive defense.
On the other, Cox, demanding a more aggressive approach.
To borrow a game that Sirianni will use to audition players, does anyone care about a rock-paper-scissors showdown to predict who will win this referendum, whether it’s at the NewsControl Compound or among the crowd that follows? ?
Once, twice, too many times on Sunday, Sirianni went into the routine of doing a better job, barely seeming to realize that it’s no longer week 2 of the preseason, but just about midway through. -season. He admitted he hadn’t been good enough. He said the same thing about Gannon.
If he’s sincere, it could take next week to repackage a non-tackling defense, make a few roster changes and mix up an attacking mentality a bit more.
If he simply says that because he has no more answers, he will learn how quickly his support among his players will disappear.
“I’m just playing with what’s called it, honestly,” said Rodney McLeod, a starter with Cox on the Super Bowl Championship squad. “But we have to bring the pieces to life, whatever their name. You’re never in a perfect call, are you? The perfect call does not exist.
“As gamers, we just have to run these games and run.”
Known for his interest in politics, McLeod’s message was as sharp as it was diplomatic. He has made it known that the Eagles only execute as ordered, but has been savvy enough to recognize that they are ultimately responsible for the victory. It would give Sirianni and Gannon some time to change anything that was poorly planned would work.
Still, when the topic of Carr’s captivating accuracy on short- and medium-range passes came up on Sunday, a comment from Cox could not have done much to prevent the burst.
“I don’t get paid to play on screens,” he said. “I get paid to fire the quarterback, play in the backfield and tackle.”
So it started, unveiling Nick Sirianni’s cover from his own locker room.
That’s all it took.
Contact Jack McCaffery at [email protected]