The Eagles entered this season in a position of luxury and everyone knew it.
Yes, nothing is guaranteed, but in a conference with little legitimate long-term competition, planning your season accordingly was head coach Nick Sirianni’s only move in the preseason. He knew the guys he was going to sink or swim with. Most of those chosen to do the figurative backstroke nearly brought the City of Brotherly Cheesesteaks another Super Bowl last season. So why mess with it? And to make matters even easier, Philadelphia was facing New England to start the regular season, a trendy pick to suck. While the prohibitive NFC co-favorites didn’t look nearly as impressive as San Francisco did on Sunday, the Eagles still won, and that’s why Sirianni looking ahead to next preseason is beyond dumb.
Jalen Hurts, and in part every Philadelphian, looked lethargic in the Week 1 victory over the Patriots. And no one will remember that if the Eagles continue winning. The confidence from Sirianni to know what he has and get rid of any possible roadblocks to the regular season for one of the most talented rosters in football was the right move. And to rethink that, just moments after exiting Gillette Stadium with a win, was asinine. I also understand trying to fairly answer questions from the press. Telling on yourself and questioning your preseason because of a 5-point win is a red flag from Sirianni. As a former beat writer, I know how nauseating it can be to hear “coach speak” or an answer that’s clearly deflecting away from what was asked. And even worse from Sirianni, would be not even attempting a response. Throwing himself and his coaching staff under the bus is a bigger dump on his team’s fan base than that, especially because some hostility towards the press is always accepted by large swaths of fans who don’t know any better.
“I’ll definitely re-evaluate some of the preseason stuff next year. … Maybe I should’ve played (our starters) a series or two this preseason. I already wrote that in my notes,” Sirianni said Sunday in an almost-word salad, before continuing that his quick assessment was that he was wrong to sit out Hurts and others of his caliber during the preseason.
You just won the game dude, it’s an odd time to say how wrong you were considering half the league weren’t as lucky as the Eagles were to win in Week 1. The Chargers played 10 times better than your team did and lost. The Cowboys had their game on lockdown 57 minutes before you did! And the Giants, well, they were the Giants. And there’s no need to worry about seeing New York in the NFC Divisional Round for a second straight season. You both looked terrible compared to expectations, but only Philadelphia scored points on Sunday.
While in most cases, stating “It’s just one game” actually works, because the NFL season is long and no team looks exactly like it does now in Week 18, what Sirianni did should be concerning knowing his roster. While the strategy of sitting out starters for the entire preseason doesn’t work at-large, it’s rarely deployed as extensively for teams with championship aspirations as the Eagles used it over the previous month or so. There’s been one piece of data so far to support or deny future usage. It’s too quick to pass judgment, especially one that makes you look like an idiot. After Week 1, advantage San Francisco for which of the two dominant NFC teams will make the Super Bowl this season.