PHILADELPHIA – It was silly but some were calling for Nick Sirianni’s job after a 2-5 start last season.
Win No. 2 in 2022, a dominating performance on Monday Night Football against the Minnesota Vikings, has many of the same hot-take artists trumpeting Sirianni for NFL Coach of the Year.
Rat poison can be obvious like the unfair toxic critiques the second-year head coach weathered last year but it can also come in an aesthetic package.
“Obviously, people are telling us how good we are now,” Sirianni said earlier this week. “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.”
Skipping steps is a time-honored tradition with NFL fan bases and Sirianni is intent on reminding his players to treat everything like white noise. It’s fair to say the Eagles have been one of the most impressive teams in the NFL over the first two weeks, something that isn’t even worth a cup of coffee at Wawa.
Two wins won’t capture you the NFC East, never mind the conference Championship Game or the Super Bowl, nor will hosannas from the mountain top or the steady stream of flowers the Eagles’ stars are getting.
Sirianni builds his coaching foundation on connecting with his players and urging them to compete.
“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,” the coach stressed.
Last week Sirianni was seen making a game of picking up discarded athletic tape on the practice field and joked about getting ridiculed for his draft prep Roshambo propensity.
“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,” Sirianni said.
The Eagles might be playing ping-pong in the players’ lounge or sinking putts on the mini-green in the front of the locker room. It’s fun but it’s also a means to an end.
“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,” Sirianni explained.
The message is getting through thanks to team leaders like the captains voted on by the players themselves: Jalen Hurts, Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson, Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Darius Slay, and Jake Elliott.
“I don’t worry about [the message) that much here because we have great team captains and great team leaders,” the coach 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,” Sirianni continued, pointing back to Super Bowl LII.
“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.”