Nick Sirianni was sick and tired of hearing the criticism. Following a 38-7 thrashing of the New York Giants in the NFC divisional round of the playoffs, the Philadelphia Eagles head coach decided it was time to set the record straight about Jonathan Gannon.
His defensive coordinator has been the subject of head-coaching rumors for the better part of 12 months, although Gannon doesn’t seem to warrant the respect he deserves in Philadelphia. Enough was enough. Sirianni was in a combative mood at the post-game press conference table, too. He slammed down his fists, in between swigs of his bottled water, and hyped up an Eagles team headed to their second NFC Championship Game in five years. They played a flawless football game on Saturday night.
Then, after the Dream Chasers chain had been christened, Sirianni launched into a passionate tirade in defense of Gannon. Funny, because the question that triggered it wasn’t an indictment. It was a softball meant to elicit a compliment.
The reporter asked Sirianni what he thought about the Eagles’ defensive performance, one that limited the Giants to 227 total yards on 52 plays. New York scored only seven points and watched Daniel Jones get sacked five times. In addition, the unit created one turnover – on an interception by James Bradberry – and dominated the time of possession. Gannon got a game ball.
“What did they score? Seven? Yeah, big time,” Sirianni said. “Jonathan Gannon puts these guys in position, obviously we have great players, and sometimes I have to hear like some things about Jonathan Gannon. Like, I don’t know if it’s you guys, it might be more other people, I won’t say names, Angelo [Cataldi], right?”
Sirianni was referring to legendary Philly sports radio talker Angelo Cataldi who is set to retire after the Eagles’ playoff run. Sirianni calls in to Cataldi’s morning show every Monday to wrap up the week. The head coach continued his defense of Gannon to one of Cataldi’s colleagues at Audacy’s SportsRadio 94 WIP.
“But this guy is an unbelievable coordinator,” Sirianni said of Gannon. “The fact that he doesn’t get respect from a radio station blows my mind. It blows my mind. I know you work at the radio station so I’m not going to say anything about you, but it blows my mind. This guy is an incredible coordinator. People love to play for this guy, like, listen, you want me to keep going?”
SportsRadio 94 WIP’s Howard Eskin quickly cut Sirianni off and asked him why he pays attention to the outside noise. And the reason … well, it involved a shout out to Senior Vice-President of Communications Bob Lange.
“The only reason I have to pay attention is Bob [Lange] does such a good job at his job that he preps me for the questions I got to answer and so every time I hear an answer about Jonathan Gannon I laugh to myself. And, as a matter of fact, coaches from other teams ask me, ‘Does Jonathan Gannon get s*** here? I’m like, somehow yea, like this guy’s incredible. He’s going to be a head football coach in the National Football League because of what he does. This guy’s a stud.”
Jalen Hurts Reveals Truth Behind ‘It’s a Philly Thing’
Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts showed no signs of rust during his return from a strained shoulder. The designed runs for the injured starter were sparse but he looked explosive and fearless when his number was called.
Hurts ran 9 times for 34 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown with 43 seconds left in the first half. The Eagles were leading 28-0 at halftime, thanks to Hurts’ arm and legs. He went 16-of-24 for 154 passing yards and 2 touchdowns.
“It’s an eagerness to accomplish what we want to accomplish, and we know that’s a day-by-day thing,” Hurts said. “Every team comes into this thing trying to accomplish the same thing. Now as you climb that mountain, it gets harder, it gets more treacherous as you get to the top, but you take it day by day. We just take it one step at a time, one play at a time.”
After the game, Hurts broke down what “It’s a Philly Thing” means to him. He was the one who spurred on the Eagles’ newest PR campaign when he threw out the expression in an off-the-cuff comment about a charity event. It stuck.
“It’s exciting. I didn’t know they would take the ‘It’s a Philly Thing’ and run with it but it’s truly a Philly thing here,” Hurts said. “It’s truly a Philly thing and a special type of support we have, the spirit, the pride behind what we’re doing, we just want to continue to do good things for the city.”
Eagles Await Winner of Dallas vs. San Francisco
Philadelphia now awaits the winner of Sunday’s game between the Dallas Cowboys and San Francico 49ers in Santa Clara, California. The 49ers are 4-point betting favorites heading into the NFC Divisional Round showdown, which is actually a postseason rematch from last season when the 49ers beat the Cowboys 23-17.
The Eagles will take on the winner in the NFC Championship Game next Sunday (January 29) at 3 p.m. at Lincoln Financial Field.