Nick Sirianni Reveals Eagles QB Plans After Dismal Playoff Loss

Jalen Hurts

Getty Eagles QB Jalen Hurts gets pressured by Devin White during a dismal 31-16 loss in the wild-card round of the 2021 NFL playoffs.

Jalen Hurts was wearing a walking boot as he talked about taking accountability for his actions. His left ankle was swollen following the Philadelphia Eagles’ 31-15 wild-card playoff loss, not that he would ever use an injury as an excuse.

Hurts turned in arguably his worst performance of the year on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The first-year starter went 11-of-19 for 88 yards and an interception in the first half. He should have had four picks, but those other errant throws were either dropped by defenders or thrown too low in the dirt. After the game, Hurts put the blame squarely on his shoulders.

“I didn’t play good enough today,” Hurts said. “This game does not define us, it does not define who we are, it does not define us at all. I know as a football team we’ll be back.”

According to Next Gen Stats, Hurts finished 5-of-21 for 100 yards and two interceptions on passes of 10-plus air yards by the time the clock ran out in the fourth quarter. He was off-target all day and finished 23-of-43 (53.3%) overall for 258 yards (mostly in garbage time) with one touchdown and two picks.

Despite the hobbled quarterback’s struggles, Nick Sirianni never thought about benching Hurts for Gardner Minshew. And the head coach didn’t sound like there was any plan to replace him next season.

“I feel good with what we have in place right here at the quarterback position,” Sirianni said. “I thought he had a great year and he came a long way. And that’s what I expect from Jalen, just because of the type of football character he has, the type of character he has, the toughness he has, the love for football that he has. I can’t say enough good things about Jalen the player (and the person). So, I feel good about him.”

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Eagles Express Regret of Early Exit

Several Eagles players were noticeably downtrodden coming off the field at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay. Jordan Mailata held back tears as cameras showed him walking toward the visitor’s locker room. Jason Kelce stared up at the ceiling almost in disbelief, maybe for the final time. And Rodney McLeod let his emotions out on Twitter where he thanked Eagles fans for their support.

“Man this is not the way I wanted this to end,” McLeod wrote. “Proud of every man on this team. Grateful for this journey we been on, it showed the character of this team. We fight, we don’t quit! I have so much love for this city. I appreciate all the Eagles fans for cheering us on this season!”

There weren’t many positives to glean from a 16-point loss that was never close. The Eagles trailed 31-0 heading into the fourth quarter before a pair of garbage-time touchdowns cut the gap. It was a similar blueprint to the first matchup between these two teams, only this one was even more lopsided. Rookie Kenny Gainwell (16-yard touchdown grab) and Boston Scott (34-yard run) provided the scoring for Philly.

Roots Growing: ‘Only the Beginning’

Jordan Mailata paused for a second when asked to put the 2021 season in perspective. No, it didn’t end the way anyone wanted it to but he was proud of the foundation they built. The Aussie left tackle brought up Sirianni’s roots speech as reason for optimism. They are building and growing something special.

“Everybody ripped him [Sirianni] but we trusted him and we invested ourselves and we got to the playoffs,” Mailata said. “And I think my biggest takeaway would be just everything we built with such a young team – and I’m not using that as an excuse because that’s crap – but we’re a young team with a young coach and this is only the beginning.”

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Bob Gross
Bob Gross
4 months ago

It would be very bad to overreact to a bad playoff loss here. First, the team that they lost to, Tampa Bay, is the WORLD CHAMPIONS. They (TB) amazingly are “under the radar” again this year, with more talk around Green Bay, KC, etc…..but I would not be surprised to see them (TB) win it again. Jalen Hurts is still learning. The potential is there….he can throw, and he can run. Discounting the Dallas game, they were 7-2 prior to that, which allowed them to get into the playoffs….a major accomplishment, considering they were 2-5 after 7 games. Also noteworthy was the development of the running game. That HAD to work if they were to have any chance against TB… didn’t, as they were not successful there. Do they have room to improve?? Absolutely. However, I think that they will. They were 29th in redzone defense against touchdowns…..obviously they need to improve that….simply forcing more field goals than td’s would improve things big time….especially early in games…..would help dramatically. I think going for top defensive players in the draft(and trying to buy some as well) would be smart, as I expect there may be some retirements. I think that we will have a much clearer idea on this team one year from now…….I still think the potential is there for them to turn the corner and go from “ok” to “excellent”….it’s a tough, more balanced league now…..look at the number of teams that had between 8 and 10 wins out of 17 games…….

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