October 27, 2021
If Nick Sirianni's looking to grow a flower, the good news is he won't be short on fertilizer.
The Eagles are 2-5 and looked awful again in their most recent loss to the Raiders, but their first-year head coach and his coordinators have continued to insist that they're seeing growth from their team, even while the rest of us are struggling to see anything but the opposite. Perhaps, at least according to Sirianni, that's because we're not looking in the right place.
We're looking for a beautiful rose, when instead we should be focusing on what's going on below the soil. You know, as one does when enjoying flowers. If only those pesky petals didn't distract us from the jaw-dropping roots.
Don't take it from me, here's the direct quote from the Eagles coach himself during Wednesday's press conference.
"Like there's got to be a message that I have to keep everybody together and keep everybody sticking to what we really want to do.
"This is what I said to the team today is that I said the results aren't there right now, but what's going on here is that there's growth under the soil. I put a picture of a flower up, and it's coming through the ground, and the roots are growing out. The roots are continuing to grow out. Everybody wants to see results. Shoot, nobody wants to see results more than us, right? We want to see results too.
"But it's really important that the foundation is being built and that the roots are growing out. And the only way the roots grow out every single day and they grow stronger and they grow better is if we all water, we all fertilize, we all do our part, each individual, each individual coach, each individual player, everybody in the building, that we do our part to water to make sure that, when it does pop out, it really pops out and it grows. ...
"So that was my message today because we are going through tough times, and everybody wants to see results. But just keep doing what we're doing, keep watering, and look at yourself first and know are you watering and are you fertilizing every day? So, when it's time to pop, it will pop."
As we said, it sounds like he's got enough fertilizer to go around.
Shit jokes and 30 Rock references aside, what should Eagles fans actually make of those comments from Sirianni, especially as his team prepares for a date with the winless Lions, a game in which the Birds will be favored for the first time all season?
The reaction from the fan base (and the media at large) has been to laugh. And it's easy to see why. This isn't the normal language you hear from a head coach in the NFL. It sounds like something you'd maybe hear from a burnout trying to describe his latest get-rich-quick scheme, but it certainly doesn't sound like a football coach talking about his team.
But does that make him wrong?
No. Sure, his word choice is going to draw some dramatic eye rolls, but given the current state of the Eagles, that was likely going to happen no matter what he said. At least in this answer, you can get a glimpse into the inner workings of Sirianni's mind. That, unfortunately, is where the problem lies.
Because Sirianni is clearly seeing something the rest of us aren't. Sure, he's around this team far more than we are, but teams aren't judged on what they do Monday through Saturday. Ultimately, they're judged on what they do on Sundays. That preparation through the week certainly impacts the outcome of the games, but it's hard to believe these Eagles are an entirely different version of themselves on Wednesday and Thursday than they are on Sunday.
Which begs the question, what exactly is Sirianni seeing at practice that makes him believe his team is ready to burst through the soil and "pop?" The same issues that plagued the Eagles in Week 2 remain an issue heading into Week 8. And they're not all execution issues. Plenty of the blame can be placed on Sirianni and his staff as well.
That's why this 2-5 start has felt so bad.
Not many people prior to the season saw the Eagles being better than 2-5 through the first seven games. Some maybe had them at 3-4, but almost no one had them over .500 at this point. Given that, shouldn't that patience that Sirianni is asking for from the fan base — because that's what the whole flower metaphor actually is, a plea for patience — be abundantly available? Most understood this was going to be a rebuilding year for the Eagles, one in which they got to learn more about their first-year coach and ultimately decide whether or not Jalen Hurts is the QB of the future.
There's no way that's been forgotten so quickly. No, the issue is how the Eagles have gotten to that 2-5 record. It's the ways in which they're losing and the fact that the week-to-week improvement that fans would've accepted in place of wins is nowhere to be found.
Sirianni's had the better part of two months — not to mention an entire offseason before that — to lay the foundation and grow a strong root structure. Is he simply reaping what he sowed? Or is the full harvest yet to be realized? We'll find out the true bounty in the coming weeks. For now it's looking like it could be a long winter.
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