April 22, 2021
Let me get this straight. A significant portion of the overly-emotional, always passionate Philadelphia fan base finds the excitable, wistful head coach a little too over the top?
In all honesty, Nick Sirianni was a breath of fresh air at the Eagles pre-draft media availability on Wednesday, stealing the show from the punchless Howie Roseman and Andy Weidl with a John Madden-like 'boom' that shook his microphone and the table in front of the Eagles brain trust, as well as a "Rock, Scissors, Paper" acknowledgment that sent the same people who found Andy Reid too stoic into pearl-clutching weirdos searching for a fainting couch.
What Sirianni wasn't was a third wheel, the role Doug Pederson used to play when it came to draft prep early in his tenure as Philadelphia's head coach.
Having lived through the entirety of the Pederson era, I even questioned whether the Eagles should roll out Sirianni in an atmosphere where most of the questions would be aimed at the more relevant parties when it comes to the draft (the general manager and vice president of player personnel) earlier Wednesday on BIRDS 365, which streams live right here on PhillyVoice.com.
And sure enough, that's the way it was going with Sirianni flanked to Roseman's left as the fish out of water.
The first five questions were directed elsewhere until Sirianni grabbed the mic, so to speak, by chiming in innocuously when discussing information gathering on prospects in a virtual Zoom world.
If the press conference was an EKG, it spiked when Sirianni spoke so after another query lobbed toward Roseman, I decided to get the new coach involved by actually directing something toward him: how his role has changed in draft prep now that he sits in the big chair.
The paddles came out and you could almost hear "clear" before the defibrillator named Sirianni sent the shock to your system.
The Eagles' rookie head coach spoke with such zeal that it emphasized just how Eeyore-ish Roseman and Weidl were as they trudged through what was a necessary evil for them.
"I love the process of being able to watch everybody," Sirianni gushed. "Shoot, I wish I would have been doing that for a long time as an offensive coach because it really did help me not only give the perspective to the defense but also of what I thought further on the offensive players."
If the coach was acting when it comes to his energy and emotion he was Robert De Niro in his prime.
For the first time, you could picture what Jeffrey Lurie saw in his interview with Sirianni that made the owner stop his search and say 'this is my guy.’
That said, everything is about wins and losses in the NFL, and if Sirianni loses a lot in the next year or two his use of rock, paper, scissors to judge the competitiveness of prospects virtually will become a punchline, as will his challenge to the Inquirer’s Les Bowen to a little roshambo when reporters get back to the NovaCare Complex.
Metaphorically speaking, the Eagles' new coach goes about his business the same way he tells his receivers to stick their foot in the ground — no banana routes allowed when it comes to mannerisms that might have been measured on the Richter Scale.
In hindsight, the biggest mistake Pederson made when it came to dealing with Lurie and Roseman was his default setting at affable, even after winning Super Bowl LII. Doug was a go-along to get-along guy.
Taking over a virtual room doesn't mean much but when Sirianni saw a vacuum in the form of an understated and quite frankly underwhelming performance by Roseman and Weidl, he seized the opportunity to headline the dais.
The Eagles, perhaps unknowingly, may have allowed a formidable presence inside the NovaCare Complex.
Go-along may have just turned into get out of the way.
John McMullen is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media, and the co-host of ‘Birds 365’ on PhillyVoice.com. He’s also the host of “Extending the Play” on AM1490 in South Jersey and contributes Eagles and NFL coverage for SI.com. You can reach him at email@example.com
Follow John on Twitter: @JFMcMullen
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