Gardner Minshew has been described as the ultimate competitor by those who know him best. He wants to win. And he wants the game on his shoulders. However, that’s tough to do when he’s holding the clipboard on the bench as the backup quarterback.
So it was no surprise to hear that Minshew stormed into Nick Sirianni’s office and asked what it would it take to be the starter for the Philadephia Eagles. According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Sirianni calmly explained to Minshew that “it’s not going to happen.” Jalen Hurts is the quarterback for the rest of this year and the foreseeable future. Conversation over.
Sirianni was asked to comment on Mortensen’s report during his media availability on Thursday. The first-year head coach wouldn’t get into specifics about what he and Minshew talked about, but he didn’t deny the incident happened. Sirianni said any conversation between himself and a player in his office is private.
“I don’t want to report anything or talk about anything – any conversation that I have with any player in my office is a conversation between myself and that player,” Sirianni said. “I really, really, really value the connection part of this whole thing. So I don’t ever want to violate that relationship and that privacy that we have with those.”
Minshew’s fill-in start against the New York Jets on December 5 lightly stoked the flames of a possible quarterback controversy in Philly. Fans were quick to embrace “Minshew Mania” after he posted a perfect passer rating (158.3) in the first half. He was electric. He was fun. And his teammates were juiced up.
“The guy’s going to prepare like crazy no matter what the situation and he’s competitive,” Sirianni said. “And, of course, every backup on this team – if they didn’t want to be the starter I’d have an issue with them wanting to be the backup. Gardner has played a lot of football in this league. I’ve got a lot of confidence in him that he’s our backup.”
Sirianni loved Minshew’s energy, but he’ll only tap into that again if Hurts can’t play. Minshew is the backup.
“I would be disappointed if Gardner didn’t want to be the starter,” Sirianni said. “But, obviously, you know, Jalen’s our starter.”
The latest Eagles news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Eagles newsletter here!
Sirianni Non-Committal on Playing Starters
The Eagles still have 48 hours to make a decision on whether to play their starters against Dallas. Saturday night’s game is borderline meaningless, aside from playoff re-seeding. The Eagles could jump up to No. 6 from No. 7. But they don’t control their own destiny so the smart money is on Sirianni resting the first unit over risking injury. He’s talking through every possible scenario.
“That’s still something that we’re all discussing and we’re working through,” Sirianni said of playing his starters. “So everybody is ready to go. Even the guys that are out of the building right now are ready to go this week because of the preparation that we’ve had by everybody throughout the week. And so that’s still something that we’re sorting through. Every situation will be looked at differently and we’re very aware that we don’t control our own destiny.”
The guys out of the building include Jason Kelce, Fletcher Cox, Avonte Maddox, Dallas Goedert, Marcus Epps, Jordan Howard, Rodney McLeod, Boston Scott, Jack Stoll, Alex Singleton, Genard Avery, Nate Herbig. All 12 players remain in the league’s COVID-19 protocols after testing positive.
“Again, we don’t have control over when the guys get back from COVID,” Sirianni said. “We don’t have control over dealing with some bumps and bruises with injuries. But our goal is to win this football game against a rival. And I know that’s their goal as well and that should be all of our goals. We’re ready to go. We’re prepared. And everybody’s prepared.”
Updating the Final Injury Report
Three offensive starters missed practice on Thursday: RT Lane Johnson, LG Landon Dickerson, RB Miles Sanders. It marked the second straight absence for all three guys. Sirianni had no new update for them following Friday’s walk-through, but he promised to send out a final injury report later in the day.