Things aren’t going too well for Nick Sirianni through seven weeks. The Philadelphia Eagles sit at 2-5 after two straight losses, with concerns mounting over their porous defense. Fletcher Cox voided his displeasure after the team’s 33-22 loss.
Cox has already been critical about defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon and his read-and-react scheme. The six-time Pro Bowler doesn’t think it fits what he does best: sack the quarterback, play in the backfield, tackle. Cox only has one sack and three quarterback hits so far this season. And the 30-year-old star defensive tackle keeps stirring the pot with his words.
Head coach Nick Sirianni was asked for his thoughts on Cox’s comments. He chalked it up to frustration and offered that he understood. The team will address any issues they have together – face-to-face, behind closed doors. Sirianni didn’t appear ready to punish Cox for questioning a member of the coaching staff.
“You know what, frustration, everyone has frustration after you lose. As players, coaches, everybody is going to have frustration,” Sirianni told reporters. “We’ll talk about everything. We’ll talk through it. We’re going to address anything that we need to address as a team.
“But I’ll keep those conversations private that we’ll have there. I understand Fletch’s frustration. I’m frustrated. He’s frustrated. We just got to do everything we can do to get the ship righted.”
Cox’s main gripe is that his aggressiveness is gone in Gannon’s scheme. He can’t be his havoc-raising self out there. The All-Pro openly challenged the defensive play-calling on the sideline in Week 7. Sirianni reiterated he has faith in Gannon to get everything fixed, but he didn’t dismiss the notion that Cox’s criticism was valid.
“Well, we address everything,” Sirianni said. “When we went in there today to evaluate the tape and evaluate the looks on the tape, we talked about everything in the sense of how are we going to improve the performance that we had yesterday? That’s always going to be discussed whether a player says something about it or not.”
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Miles Sanders Ruled Week to Week
Miles Sanders was carted off the field in Las Vegas in what some people initially feared was a season-ending injury. The Eagles running back rolled his ankle trying to avoid a tackle from Denzel Perryman, then left the game for good. The injury is being called a “right ankle inversion sprain” and Sirianni ruled it week to week.
“It’s a stretch for him to be up this week,” Sirianni said, “but we’re not ruling anything out yet.”
Boston Scott and Kenny Gainwell split the carries when Sanders went down against the Raiders. Scott finished with 24 yards on seven carries and a score, while Gainwell gained 20 yards on five carries. Sirianni mentioned calling Jordan Howard up from the practice squad to add depth. The Eagles aren’t planning to sign a free agent there.
“We have Jordan on the practice squad as well,” Sirianni said. “We feel really good about him.”
Explaining ‘Lack of Possessions’ Comment
Sirianni was taking heat for comments he made in regard to a “lack of possessions” (via John Clark) stymying their offensive rhythm. Some interpreted to mean he was ripping Gannon’s defense for not stopping the Raiders and getting the ball back to Jalen Hurts.
Sirianni explained he wasn’t calling anyone out, except for himself. His name is attached to everything the Eagles do – offense, defense, special teams, whatever – and he points the finger at himself first.
“In no way, shape or form was I putting any blame on the defense or Jonathan Gannon at all,” Sirianni said. “I have utmost faith in Jonathan Gannon. I have utmost faith in our defense. I’m putting that responsibility on me and nobody else.”
Sirianni added that he watches the defense practice every day and has a hand in game-planning on that side of the ball. Gannon does have the final say, though.
“When I say the defense needs to tighten up and needs to get the ball back to the offense, I’m saying that that’s my responsibility, right?,” Sirianni said. “That’s my responsibility to say, ‘Hey, on this one, I want to tighten up and play man coverage on this one.’”