Nick Sirianni Shields Jonathan Gannon, Takes Full Responsibility for Defensive Shortcomings

Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Sirianni was late for his Monday press conference because the Eagles were busy trading Joe Flacco and releasing their long snapper, Rick Lovato. They claimed QB Reid Sinnett off waivers and will likely just re-sign Lovato once the Flacco move becomes official.

Sirianni was asked a variety of questions about those moves, and also the Las Vegas debacle, so let’s go through and highlight some of the more relevant quotes here.

On Flacco/Sinnett/Gardner Minshew:

We feel really good about Gardner being our number two. Reid had a lot of good plays in pre-season this year. We thought we added a good prospect to our roster.

As far as Joe goes, Joe is just a great person to be around, great pro to be around. Had a phenomenal pre-season and was really good for our room. The opportunity arose for him to go and be able to contribute somewhere else. Then also obviously us get a pick for that.

But our time with Joe Flacco was really good. We really appreciated him and everything that he did. He’s a great pro. You can see why he won so many games when he was in Baltimore and all the other places he’s been.

On Miles Sanders and possible replacements:

We have Jordan (Howard) on the practice squad as well. We feel really good about him. Miles will probably be down. Actually, we are week-to-week with him, pardon me. It’s a stretch for him to be up this week, but we’re not ruling anything out yet.

Reaction to Fletcher Cox criticizing the defensive play calls?

You know what, frustration, everyone has frustration after you lose. As players, coaches, everybody is going to have frustration. We’ll talk about everything. We’ll talk through it. We’re going to address anything that we need to address as a team. But I’ll keep those conversations private that we’ll have there.

I understand Fletch’s frustration. I’m frustrated. He’s frustrated. We just got to do everything we can do to get the ship righted.

Does Jonathan Gannon have autonomy with the defensive game plan?

Well, when you say that, everything that goes onto that field is my responsibility. My name is on it. If I want something done, then we’re going to do it that way because my name is on that.

Now, I trust Jonathan completely in the sense that he’s doing most of the studying on it. I’m going to be there, just like I said, to support and also answer questions as an offensive style.

If I see right for us to pressure on a play, then we’re going to do it that way. But again, I trust our staff completely. That’s kind of our process.

How valid is the the Cox criticism?

Well, we address everything. When we went in there today to evaluate the tape and evaluate the looks on the tape, we talked about everything in the sense of how are we going to improve the performance that we had yesterday? That’s always going to be discussed whether a player says something about it or not.

We’re constantly working to get better and to make our scheme better and to put our players in a better spot no matter if a player says something or not.

Why is your defense getting shredded and what have you talked about with Jonathan Gannon?

Well, with our conversations, Jonathan and I’s conversations, it is just mixing up the coverages. He did that a little bit more yesterday. Still, it didn’t, obviously, work in the sense that [Raiders QB Derek] Carr was 31-of-34.

We just talked a lot – we know we can get home with our four defensive linemen when they’re there. We just talked a lot about tightening it up as far as the way we’re mixing in some man-to-man, the way we’re mixing in some of the zones with the man-to-man. Just different ways to challenge on the perimeter and get our hands on balls and get in the throwing lane. That’s been the main discussion. It’s been more about to be able to mix a little bit more man-to-man in there.

Again, I don’t want to give up too much information with our opponents coming up, the Lions. The challenge is more about getting hands in on balls and getting a little bit more aggressive with our man because we know we got some guys that are able to do that.

Agreed, I love this roster. I love our defensive roster. I got a lot of faith in them. Again, we’re working like crazy to get it fixed.

Have you considered making a change at quarterback?

No.

Sirianni pretty much reiterated, and stressed, that he takes ultimate responsibility for the defensive shortcomings. There were a lot of good questions about how the defense gets things turned around, but he was careful not to drag Gannon and put it on his shoulders instead. It doesn’t result in any meaningful answers for fans, but it’s what a head coach should be doing in that situation.  Now he’s just got to tell his DC to fire the two-deep safety look into the sun and mix it up a little bit, because this ain’t working.

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