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Former NFL GM Randy Mueller Reveals ‘Biggest Thing’ Eagles’ Nick Sirianni Can Do in 2024

NickSirianni Washington

Photo Credit by John McMullen/JAKIB Sports

PHILADELPHIA – It could be anything from injury to, sickness, suspension, or a legal entanglement. Even the more mundane problems like clashing personalities or weather issues.

The life of an NFL head coach was best described by Hall of Fame mentor Bill Parcells in his advice to his one-time defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer when the latter became a head coach in Minnesota.

“Four or five things happen in pro football every day that you wish wouldn’t happen,” Parcells opined. “If you can’t handle those, you need to get another job.”

That’s where my mind went when talking with former NFL Executive of the Year Randy Mueller about the Philadelphia Eagles’ coaching shakeup after their disastrous collapse to the end of the 2023-24 season.

Mueller called on his two decades of front-office experience to explain what decision-makers in the league go through and what Jeffrey Lurie was weighing before deciding to move forward with Nick Sirianni for the 2024 season despite a 10-1 start in 2023 turning into an 11-7 disappointment, including a blowout loss at Tampa Bay in the playoffs that one team exec described as “(bleeping) embarrassing.”

“I think being a head coach or being a GM, the biggest thing you can bring to the table is being able to fix stuff,” Mueller told SI.com’s Eagles Today via JAKIB Sports’ Birds 365 show. “Because things go wrong [in the NFL]. It is never like you draw it up and that’s in course of being a decision maker at the top and maybe it’s managing people, maybe it’s getting the best out of people, maybe it’s letting people do their jobs.”

Sirianni simply couldn’t fix what went wrong for the Eagles last season and the organization still seems to have trouble even fully identifying the issues.

Something had to be done and Lurie went with a targeted approach, inviting Sirianni back but with the caveat of new coordinators.

The defensive turnover was significant with Vic Fangio taking over but the offensive one was more of a needle thread with ex-offensive coordinator Brian Johnson and former quarterbacks coach Alex Tanney paying the price and being replaced and Kellen Moore and Doug Nussmeier, respectively.

Most around the league believe Sirianni is now on the clock with Lurie and a failure to “fix things” next season could prove to be the death throes of his stint in Philadelphia

“I do think now that they’ve kind of reshuffled the deck it’s going to be interesting,” Mueller assessed. “Not being inside the building I think that sometimes it’s hard for the outside world to understand but I do think this: the pressure will be on Nick this year. He’s got to find a way to connect with not only his players but his coaching staff.”

Sirianni’s five core coaching philosophies are connection, competition, accountability, football IQ and fundamentals and he “tripled down” on connection and accountability specifically earlier this week at the NFL Scouting Combine.

“We went through, early here in 2021 we went through a really tough stretch, right, and we doubled down on the things we knew to be true, our culture, our core values,” Sirianni said. “And then we went through a tough stretch here too [last season]. Even though we said to ourselves, ‘hey, we’re doubling down on this,’ in 2021 it worked. In 2023 it didn’t work.

“I think it’s, again, being in this constant growth mindset of things that just always trying to get better at every style of football that you’re trying to do. I do think, though, with those core values, you always double down on those. … That’s not changing off of a bad spurt, right?”

From there Sirianni dialed in even further.

“So, it is a true double down on those from day one. Doubling down on the connection, doubling down on the accountability,” the coach said. “I really look at those two, the connect and the accountability are the two, I would say, cornerstones of our program.

“… So, it’s almost a double down and triple down on those core values.”

Mueller got to know Sirianni when both were with the Chargers. The former was the organization’s senior executive for football operations from 2008 through 2018 and Sirianni came on as a quality control assistant in 2013 before moving up to handle quarterbacks from 2014-15 and receivers from 2016-17.

“Having known Nick my whole time in San Diego when he was with us there, his personality is a little different,” Mueller said. “He comes at it a little different.”

As the NFLPA Reports Cards revealed this week, Sirianni is well-liked by his players but it’s alarming that the connection part of the equation went south to such a degree simply because Sirianni values it so much.

“I think those are the alarming things for me is that disconnect,” said Mueller. “There just seemed to be…they weren’t on the same page at all from the head coach’s office to the assistants to the planning to every part of it and that’s a struggle when communication seems so disjointed. That seemed to me what happened to it because they couldn’t fix any of the problems they had.

“That’s concerning.”

Moving forward, the only acceptable goal is to fix it.

“Maybe they’re going to lean on Kellen Moore to fix the [offensive] problems this year during the season,” Mueller said. “That’s fine but it doesn’t matter if you fix them, it matters if you don’t fix them and then it comes back to the head coach.”

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