Nick Sirianni’s game plan questioned after Eagles running backs total three carries

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys
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The Eagles’ running backs totaled just three carries in Monday night’s loss to the Cowboys, with Miles Sanders finishing with two carries for 27 yards and Kenneth Gainwell having one carry for two yards. Coach Nick Sirianni was questioned after the game about why he didn’t run the ball more.

“We wanted to make sure we were able to keep up with them,” Sirianni said, via the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We knew they were an explosive offense. We wanted to be able to push the ball down the field and hit some of the underneath zones that we saw while also obviously mixing the run game in there and the screen game. You fall behind a little bit, you have to get off that game plan a little bit. We knew we had to score with this team because we knew they were able to score and score quickly.”

Sanders and Gainwell also had three catches, and Sirianni noted that the Eagles did get the ball to the running backs in the passing game.

“The first half, just with how that went, not getting a lot of plays, those [rushing] numbers get skewed sometimes,” Sirianni said. “I know they are what they are, but when you don’t have that many plays in the first half, whether you have penalties that stop drives, the defense was on the field quite a bit and then you’re in a position in the second half where we’re down two scores the whole time and that’s where that kind of comes into play. I know we were trying to get him the ball on some screens and stuff like that, but obviously he’s a good playmaker and we wanted him to touch the ball more. Just the way the game went, we weren’t able to do that.”

It was an ugly game for the Eagles, and an unusual offensive approach for Sirianni, the former Colts offensive coordinator who was hired to build an offense.

44 responses to “Nick Sirianni’s game plan questioned after Eagles running backs total three carries

  1. first 3 series no rushes aside from a keeper from Hurts,

    By the 4th series, down 20-7 – they run Sanders twice.

    This is a disasterous attempt at trying to keep up with anythng.

  2. I thought the Super Bowl and playoffs , year in and year out were the “ new norm” in Philly? Oh wait that was Doug Peterson who wasn’t there long enough for the paint to dry . How ironic

  3. Running the ball and controlling the clock is how you keep an explosive offense off the field…

  4. “We wanted to make sure we were able to keep up with them,” Sirianni said


    Apparantly not. That was as strange a first half i’ve seen. The moment looked like it was to big for everyone on the Eagles offense from the play calls, to the QB to the WRs. Poor ball placement, poor routes, WRs and TEs unwilling to fight for the ball.

    The lack of adjustment on defense in the first half was embarrassing as well. They probably ran the same running play 10+ times in the first 2 drives because the Eagles didn’t adjust to how they were being blocked (duo blocks). Once they adjusted just before halftime it stopped looking like a tuesday practice for the oline.

    Almost as bad, watching from home, was the hero worship from the announcers in pregame and the first half. If you were just listening you wouldn’t have known the Cowboys were playing another team. I don’t know if someone said something at halftime but after halftime they talked about the teams more evenly, even if it was about all the things the Eagles had to improve on.

  5. The Eagles, The Jets, The Giants, The Bears and The Texans should all be relegated to a lower form of NFl like in European soccer until they can field a capable team to compete. Too many weak teams with no direction and skill

  6. Sounds like an excuse. If they are explosive then you use the running game to limit their possessions and slow the game down. That was a terrible game plan and the coach needs to own it instead of resorting to coach speak

  7. Would people complain as much if more of the early passes had been thrown better or not dropped? Once they got so far behind, their choices were limited.

    A few years ago in a playoff game the Patriots did not call a single running play in the entire second half because the other team was good against the run but could not stop the pass, and won the game. Game plan doesn’t matter nearly as much as execution.

  8. Looks like rookie head coach is doing too much thinking. If he doesn’t learn fast he may be a 1 year coach.

  9. Poor showing in prime time. The QB looked like a deer in the headlights, and the coach wanted him to keep up in a shootout? Not impressed.

  10. Maybe they shouldn’t have blown the whole thing up over one weird game at the end of the season last year.

  11. What an illogical explanation by the OC.

    You’re not playing the Cowboys offense, you’re playing their defense. Come up with the gameplan that can score the most points against their defense, based on matchups. If your D can’t stop their O, that’s not your problem. If you need to adjust later in the game due to the score, then so be it.

    It just goes to show that the ‘best and brightest’ aren’t always where they claim they are.

  12. The Cowboys are just a much superior team, with an MVP type QB. The Eagles have a QB who’s a fine young man and a great athlete, but he’s far from a finished product. The final score should have been even more if a blowout. That didn’t have anything to do with the Eagles’ coach.

  13. @Rohonz2000

    “The Eagles, The Jets, The Giants, The Bears and The Texans should all be relegated to a lower form of NFl like in European soccer until they can field a capable team to compete. Too many weak teams with no direction and skill”

    Your comment is lacking in common sense. The Eagles won the Super Bowl in 2018 and the Texans have won 6 out of the last 10 AFC South Titles.

  14. Ring Ring. “Hello, 84 year old Dick Vermeil speaking”,
    “Hi Coach, this is Jeffrey Lurie, I’d like to beg you to coach my football team, this kid I hired is stupid”.
    “Oh, Hi Jeff, yeah, well, #1. No thanks. #2. You know you can’t “fix” stupid.”

  15. They play KC week 4. Last time I checked the Chiefs can score a little bit. Is Sirianni going into this game with the mindset that the Eagles have to score a ton just to keep up? If that’s the case we might as well take the over and make some money. $irianni might become my favorite coach.

  16. This show’s why this guy never should have been hired. Hard to watch the beatdown last night. I hear Doug Peterson is looking for work.

  17. First time this season I’ve seen the Eagles and I was shocked at how bad their offense is. Granted the Bears have set a new standard of suck in that department but that Philly showing last night was pretty bad still. Jalen Hurts has regressed and that can’t have Eagles fans feeling real good.

  18. This is what happens when you have an egotistical GM fresh off winning a power struggle with Pederson . He went out and hired a coach that would bow down to him unlike Pederson who rightfully disagreed with the the many bad decisions by Roseman that dismantled a SB winning team . Lurie fell for Roseman’s excuses once again , fired the wrong guy in Pederson and now Eagles fans will pay the price of watching a really bad team for as long as Roseman’s reign of terror is allowed to continue .

  19. Couldnt hardly watch much of this game. Didnt take long for me to get the Eagles offense, send a guy in the flat as saftey valve and pass to him. Ya Dallas got that way before I did.
    Funny, after the Pack game you would have thought the coach learned, pass quickly and often to negate a great pass rush. You not going to go downfield too often. Run the ball to to keep them honest. How hard is that?

  20. The Eagles didn’t follow a rational game plan, clearly. But having watched the game, the Eagles were overmatched at almost every level & it would be evident to even a casual observer. Their players were demoralized by it – you don’t think their defense is fully aware that the Cowboys were steamrolling them with the same basic plays over & over? They loaded the box & still got steamrolled.

    Perhaps a better game plan would’ve led to a closer game, but it also might not have. Dak fumbled in the end zone leading to a defensive TD & also didn’t get in on 4th down at the inch line. This could’ve been a 35+ point loss.

  21. I guess that strategy might work if you don’t have a QB with a raggedy arm like Jalen Hurts. McCarthy and Moore tried that strategy with the Bucs and stood toe to toe with the world champs in their stadium. Zuerlein left 7 points on the field and that was the difference.

  22. Anyone else think the Eagles looked totally outcoached? This coming from a giants fan so I know a little something about a team outcoached. Between the offense and defense the players looked like they were put into terrible positions to make plays. If I were a defensive lineman on the Eagles I would be seriously questioning the defensive scheme and whether or not the coaches on this staff are way over their heads.. again, coming from a giants fan so I’ve asked myself the same questions..

  23. Ehhh, a bad week on a retooling team. Lots of overreaction today…however I would take the Cheifs next week even at a -20, maybe -25

  24. Still wasn’t as bad as cowboys and McCarthys end of the first half blunder with the clock..


  25. Whose the absolute worst QB in the league Hurts or Tua? Seriously I can’t decide as they both will be out of the league in a couple of seasons. So painful to watch.

  26. As frustrating as the game was to watch, we have to give them at least a half of the season to show they are getting better. First year HC & essentially a rookie QB with 2 wideouts with a total of 1 year of NFL experience, what do you expect.

  27. You had a running back that ripped off a 24 yard run………and you never went back to it again? What kind of lame brained coach does that?

  28. All i have learned in the past few years if you QB can make plays with their legs you don’t need RB’s or QB that can throw for that matter.

  29. Speaking as a guy starting Miles Sanders in the flex in a PPR. That was frustrating to watch. I figured the Eagles for a team that would end up throwing a lot of check-downs, but Jalen isn’t that smart. He either makes a bad throw or he holds the ball too long and scrambles. Just check it down!

  30. “Sanders and Gainwell also had three catches, and Sirianni noted that the Eagles did get the ball to the running backs in the passing game.”

    LOL, that brought these guys up to 4 and 5 touches for the game.

  31. This is an insane thing for any football coach to say but at the NFL level? How on earth did this guy make it this far?

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