‘He’s a Stud’: NFL Players, Coaches Share Opinion on Eagles Coach

Frank Reich

Getty Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich

It was hard to go anywhere on Thursday without stopping to talk about Nick Sirianni. The Philadelphia Eagles’ new head coach was the playful victim of jokes, while amateur sleuths from Mount Airy to Malvern chimed in with an opinion. Not all were negative.

Sirianni’s former boss on the Indianapolis Colts coaching staff was quick to sign off on the hire. Frank Reich called his protege a “stud,” per SportsRadio 94WIP’s Howard Eskin, and promised Sirianni would “do a great job with the Eagles.” The comments matched what the Colts head coach told reporters in 2018 when he explained what led him to pick Sirianni as his offensive coordinator.

“He’s extremely intelligent. He’s very energetic,” Reich said at the time. “He’s very passionate about ball. He’s a great teacher, very systematic in his thinking, and just the way we see the passing game and the way we think about offensive football is very similar and very excited about getting Nick out and that he could be here with us.”

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Eagles Coaching Hire Draws Plenty of Doubt

There is a reason people have dubbed Philly sports fans “Negadelphians” and not all the incoming opinions on the new coach were complimentary. Several talking heads took the move as a direct slight at Eric Bieniemy, the Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator who remains without a job at this hour.

If it was, Bieniemy — arguably the most qualified minority candidate of all-time — decided to take the high road. He’s down to one final opportunity with the Houston Texans after the Eagles passed on him.

“It’s always good to be mentioned and have an opportunity to pursue your dreams. And obviously, yes, I do want to be a head coach,” Bieniemy told reporters, via Pro Football Talk. “But when it’s all said and done with, my job is to make sure everything that we’re doing right now is not to take away from the goals we’re trying to accomplish.”

Sirianni Didn’t Call Plays in Indianapolis

There is a lot being made about Sirianni not calling the plays in Indianapolis, but does that even matter? Doug Pederson didn’t call the plays when the Eagles hired him in 2016. Neither did Frank Reich when the Colts tabbed him to be their head coach in 2018. Perhaps it’s more important to understand what Sirianni’s role was in Indy.

According to multiple reports, the 39-year-old offensive coordinator was active in game-planning and served as Reich’s most trusted adviser. Sirianni had input on “play time distribution” and Reich tasked him with “not getting away from the running game.” The latter should play well in Philly where that has been an issue dating back to Andy Reid’s tenure as head coach. Per the Indianapolis Star:

Sirianni had other gameday responsibilities, too. As head of the offensive staff, he had a lot of say on play time distribution. He, in consultation with position coaches, would determine which players were in for which plays. Reich also tasked him with the duty of periodically reminding him not to get away from the running game. It might not seem like it given the Colts yearly run-pass splits, but as an ex-quarterback, Reich’s natural inclinations are to throw the football. Sirianni helped keep the Colts’ attack balanced.

Jonathan Taylor should know. The rookie running back for the Colts thrived under Sirianni in 2020 after gaining 1,169 yards on 232 carries and 11 touchdowns. The Colts finished the year with the NFL’s 11th-best rushing attack (1,996 yards, 124.8 per game). Run it back.


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