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February 02, 2023

What they're saying: Nick Sirianni had a 'free ride' coaching Eagles to Super Bowl?

Nick Sirianni in the Super Bowl doesn't sit right with Giants safety Julian Love, whose team got blown out by the Eagles 38-7 on the way to it.

The Eagles are in the Super Bowl. 

The San Francisco 49ers are not, the Dallas Cowboys are not, the Minnesota Vikings are not, and the New York Giants most certainly are not. 

You would think at this point, especially after they smoked the Giants and the Niners back-to-back in the playoffs, people would just finally accept that the Eagles are a good football team, that Jalen Hurts is good quarterback, and that Nick Sirianni is a good coach. 

But no, there's always someone with a "Yeah, but..."

Julian Love with Thursday's hot take supernova on Good Morning Football:

"He's a guy who, really, is doing a good job because he's not getting in the way of his team. He has an experienced roster from top to bottom, offense, defense...

[Shown clip of Sirianni celebrating in front of the camera against the Giants]

"I don't like it. I don't like it at all. I mean...He's in for a free ride right now. You guys can coach this team." 


He followed up later on Twitter: 

OK, so a few things here:

1. How does he feel about Brian Daboll then?

2. The really low-hanging fruit:

3. Again, the Eagles are in the Super Bowl. The New York Giants are not, because they got wrecked by Philly, 38-7 in the playoffs.

And 4. Man, what does it say about the Giants that they got beat by a team that can apparently be coached by anyone three times over?

Brandon Graham on the matter: "People always got something to say when they're at home."

For as dominant, and inventive, as the Eagles have been all year – a No. 1 seed, NFC East Champions, and now NFC Champions with flying colors – there's been a stubborn refusal from the outside to admit that this group has been one of the best, if not the best, teams in the NFL, or numerous excuses as to why (easy schedule, luck, untimely injuries on the other side, etc.).

But there's still a good bit of time until the Super Bowl, so we'll take the full trip down the salt mine later. 

For now, here's more of what they're saying about the Eagles in the aftermath of the NFC Championship and the leadup to Super Bowl LVII down in Arizona:

Models of the Modern NFL

Steven Ruiz | The Ringer

The Eagles are vicious in the trenches – on either side of the ball – and have talent all over the field.

The Chiefs don't have the deepest roster in their recent history, but they still have a generational talent under center in Patrick Mahomes, which can, and has already, covered up a lot of weaknesses. 

Super Bowl LVII will be a clash of two different means of roster building in the modern NFL and a true test of the validity for each one. 

Wrote Steven Ruiz

Every NFL team wants a Mahomes at quarterback, but there are only so many of those to go around. The next best thing, as we’ve found out from a few franchises this season, is finding a passer who can produce on a rookie contract and let his team spend big money elsewhere. And that’s what makes this matchup so compelling: Mahomes is everything NFL teams want their quarterback to be. The Eagles are everything an NFL quarterback wants their team to be. Kansas City has found the ultimate franchise quarterback—the kind who will keep his team in title contention as long as he’s healthy. And Philadelphia has built a roster that’s too good to fail. Super Bowl LVII will be a testing ground pitting these two roster builds against one another—and the winner could influence how teams on the brink of contention go about constructing their rosters in the near future. [The Ringer]

Band on the run

Reuben Frank | NBC Sports Philadelphia

For an offense that feels like it sometimes forgets it even has running backs, the Eagles have been running the ball a lot in the playoffs. 

But hey, it's been working for them. Why stop now, wonders Reuben Frank:

Part of this has been by necessity. Hurts doesn't appear to be 100 percent healthy, and the Eagles are doing everything they can to keep him from getting hit. 

When he’s standing in the pocket or taking off running, he’s at risk. When he’s handing off, he’s not.

But a bigger part of it is simply that it’s working. 

The Eagles believe with their world-class offensive line they can run effectively against anybody, and their 150 yards (before kneel downs) and four touchdowns against the 49ers’ top-ranked rush defense sure supports that notion. 

The Eagles have run for 416 yards in their two postseason wins, and that’s the 11th-most in NFL history by a team in two games leading up to the Super Bowl – the 4th-most in the last 25 years.

Hammering the ball on the ground means gobbling up clock. Which means keeping the other team’s offense off the field. Which means wearing down the defense. Which means building a big lead. Which means back-to-back lop-sided wins. [NBCSP]

Point of reference

Martin Frank | Delaware News Journal

Let's go back to October 3, 2021 for a second. 

The established Chiefs are in town to face a still very green Jalen Hurts, a fresh-faced Nick Sirianni, and an Eagles team under construction. 

The Birds looked rough. From an over reliance on the run-pass option and a seemingly straight-up refusal to actually run the ball to no answer at all for Tyreek Hill on defense (he had 11 catches for 186 yards and three touchdowns that day), Kansas City, unsurprisingly, came out on top, 42-30, while Philly dropped to 1-3 to a chorus of boos from the Lincoln Field crowd. 

Yet it was closer than it actually looked. Against Mahomes, Hurts, who wasn't anywhere near the passer he is today, went toe-to-toe with him, and actually did a decent job in keeping up. 

Martin Frank with a recollection of that game:

But on that night, Hurts showed his future MVP form for the first time, completing 32 of 48 passes (66.7%) for 387 yards and two touchdowns. The yardage total is still Hurts' career high.

Hurts had to throw to keep up with Mahomes, and he did. The Eagles trailed only 28-23 after scoring with 12:42 left in the fourth quarter. They were within 12 points until Mahomes led the Chiefs to the game-clinching touchdown on a 44-yard pass to former Chief Tyreek Hill with 2:30 remaining.

Still, the Eagles had three touchdowns taken away because of penalties, settling for two field goals and a turnover on downs. That's a 15-point difference.

After the game, Sirianni said: "That's one of the better quarterback performances I've seen, and I've been around a lot of good quarterbacks (like) Phillip Rivers and Andrew Luck. He battled. He made good decisions with the football. He got out of trouble when there was trouble. He made good checks. He made good reads."

But Hurts was hardly satisfied with keeping the Eagles close against the Chiefs, or in playing the best game of his career to that point. [Delaware News Journal]

No doubt that Hurts is looking for Round 2 to play out far differently next Sunday. 

(As an aside on the refusal to run: I was at that game. The guy in front of me was wearing a throwback Wilbert Montogmery jersey. I also have one but didn't wear it that day. I told him about it though, we made conversation, and he started showing me photos of him with former Eagles from various autograph signings. It was cool. But after a few passing plays that amounted to nothing, he broke the chat entirely to scream "RUN THE F***ING FOOTBALL!!!!" The Eagles did not listen.")

Gannon calls his shot

We'll end on Thursday's other viral clip: Jonathan Gannon on his way to the stadium last Sunday telling a fan exactly what the Eagles were about to do to the 49ers.


They did.

*Original source: alexfischer_65 on Instagram

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