The frustration pouring out of A.J. Brown late in the fourth quarter was raw emotion from a player who wears his heart on his sleeve. Oddly timed, yes, but don’t mistake his mini tantrum for sour grapes. Brown was upset that he couldn’t get untracked for the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Divisional Round.
Brown caught three balls for 22 yards on only six targets against New York. The cameras caught him sitting alone and pouting on the sideline with 5:11 left in a 31-7 game. That’s when head coach Nick Sirianni walked over and calmed him down. On Monday, Sirianni explained what was eating at Brown at the time.
“Of course, he’s always going to want the ball,” Sirianni told reporters. “He’s a really good player and not really anybody in the pass game really got a lot of targets or a lot of opportunities because we were running the ball so well. But that’s what you want from your receivers, to want to have the football. Part of the reason why receivers are good is because they want and crave the football. They want the ball to change the game, but make no mistake about it he was thrilled that we won the football game.”
Brown stayed involved in other ways. For example, his bruising block late in the first quarter paved the way for DeVonta Smith’s 9-yard touchdown. That score made it 14-0 and the rout was on.
“He always wants to be involved obviously in the plan,” Sirianni said. “He blocked his butt off, you could see how excited he was when he spring that block for DeVonta’s touchdown. He was really excited and celebrated in the locker room with all of us after the win.”
Sirianni Updates Avonte Maddox, Other Injuries
The Eagles didn’t practice on Monday, but Nick Sirianni updated a few injuries during his media availability. A.J. Brown left Saturday night’s game late in the fourth quarter. He appeared to get “dinged in the leg-hip area” and exited after 51 offensive snaps. It’s nothing serious.
“He was going through a little something, with his body that was hurting him,” Sirianni said. “We feel like he’ll be ready to go this week. But he was hurting in that game so that’s why he wasn’t in the game.”
Nickel cornerback Avonte Maddox hasn’t played since injuring his toe on Christmas Eve. He was inactive against the Giants and his status for Sunday’s NFC Championship Game remains up in the air.
“We’ll see,” Sirianni said. “We’re hopeful, but he’s still gotta get out there and run on the field and do drills so it’s not something we know quite yet. Because there’s some unknown with the football movements that he has to go out there and do.”
There was no news on center Jason Kelce (quadriceps), left guard Landon Dickerson (leg), or right tackle Lane Johnson (groin). All three offensive line studs powered through the pain on Saturday night and plan to do the same this week.
Bragging Rights for Coach Dennard Wilson
Eagles defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson has been getting looks for open defensive coordinator positions. He’s a favorite rising star assistant who star cornerback Darius Slay has openly lobbied for. The head coach has now jumped on Wilson’s PR campaign as he credited the 40-year-old assistant for keeping a banged-up secondary together.
“I felt like they played really well,” Sirianni said of the Eagles’ secondary. “Credit Coach Gannon and Coach Dennard Wilson. And DK [McDonald], really good DB coaches. I really think Coach Wilson, I got a second to brag on Gannon after the game so now let me brag on Coach Wilson. He’s just a great leader of men and he’s able to bring a group together.”
D.K. McDonald serves as assistant defensive backs coach under Wilson. Gannon, of course, was the subject of a passionate rant by Sirianni following the NFC Divisional Round win. The coaching staff could have a ton of turnover heading into the 2023 season.