PHILADELPHIA — Nick Siriani’s first press conference after being named head coach of the Eagles was so awkward that he later used it as a lesson for his players.
There were long, overly spirited answers about nothing, long non-answers about who would be his quarterback, Carson Wentz or Jalen Hurts, and mispronunciations of various management names, including executive Don Smolensky. People laughed at it, and Siriani knew it.
“He showed it to us and he had a few words about different reporters making fun of him,” Dallas Goedert said with a smile Thursday. “And he said, ‘Give me their numbers, I need to talk to them.’ He’s been great since he came here and I think all the players enjoy playing for him.”
In two years, Siriani led the Eagles to a 25-12 record in all games, including a trip to Super Bowl LVII against the Chiefs in Glendale, Arizona.
Making the playoffs in year one didn’t seem possible with a roster change and mostly a rookie quarterback in Hurts, but Siriani helped the Eagles get over the hump. With Hurts making an MVP-like stride this season and major upgrades like wide receiver AJ Brown and leading rusher Haason Reddick, the Eagles are on track for their second Super Bowl title in six years.
Thirteen-year veteran Brandon Graham bristled when he heard Jordan Love recently appear on NFL Network and dismiss Siriani’s skills as a head coach because of the Eagles’ talented roster. In the playoffs, the Eagles defeated the Giants 38-7.
“People always have something to say when they’re at home and something to think about,” Graham said. “It definitely didn’t carry any weight because Coach proved himself every day and if you weren’t here, you wouldn’t know it.”
By the way, Graham liked the replay of Siriani’s opening tap. It showed him who the head coach really was.
“He won me over here,” Graham said. “When he said all the wrong things, we all got on him. I just think he came in here and gave us his honest answer about how he felt about it. He was angry about it. I love it because a lot of coaches won’t admit that the media gets under their skin. It was just cool. Down to earth cool. That’s when he won me over, man. Just came and was real, what he feels.”
In terms of mispronunciations and other mistakes while speaking, they have become part of Siriani’s mantra of getting a little better every day.
“You see that press conference and you don’t know what to think,” Goedert said. “But as soon as he came forward in a team meeting and started talking about football, we knew he was the right guy. When he struggled a little bit in the media, it didn’t bother any of us too much, as long as he doesn’t stutter when he’s making plays.”
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The Eagles opened the 21-day practice window with kicker Aarin Sipos, who has been out since injuring his ankle in the Dec. 13 win over the Giants. That means Siposs is eligible to return to the Super Bowl if the Birds so choose.
Veteran replacement Brett Kern averaged 40.8 yards, including 36.6 yards on 10 punts, including one inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. Siposs averaged 45.6 yards on 44 punts. His net average was 39.6 yards and he went 16-for-20.
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Rookie offensive tackle Josh Sills is not in the locker room because he was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list after a grand jury in Guernsey County, Ohio, indicted him on Tuesday on rape and kidnapping charges.
The incident allegedly took place on December 5, 2019. According to TMZ Sports, which reportedly obtained a copy of the police report, Sills allegedly forced the woman to perform oral sex on him for “approximately 20 minutes” in his truck, resulting in multiple injuries. . The accused and the alleged victim were 21 years old at the time.
Graham said he doesn’t know “the whole story” and feels terrible for everyone involved.
“I just want to support him,” Graham said. “I hate that these are allegations and I hate the whole situation for both sides. I just see it as something that he has to deal with and just know that his teammates are behind him.”
Sills is not allowed to practice or travel with the team while on the exempt list.
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Seahawks quarterback Gene Smith was named the Most Improved Player and Returning Player of the Year.
Graham was the deserving player for the comeback award as he registered a career-high 11 sacks this season in his return from Achilles tendon surgery.