HomeTrade RumorsNick Sirianni Not Expected to be Fired by the Eagles

Nick Sirianni Not Expected to be Fired by the Eagles

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Given how the Eagles closed out the regular season, tonight’s Buccaneers matchup doubles as one of the more fascinating playoff openers in years. The defending NFC champions run the risk of becoming a central figure when the subject of Super Bowl-losing hangovers comes up.

Staff changes are believed to be on the table for the Eagles, and it should be considered likely they will have three defensive coordinators in three years soon. But the top domino in this equation still does not appear poised to fall. Nick Sirianni is not believed to be on the hot seat, according to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer.

This would be the case even if the Eagles lose to the No. 4-seeded Bucs, who are 9-8 and only secured a home game due to the NFC South’s status as one of the worst divisions in NFL history over the past two years. The Eagles, however, are 11-6 after dropping five of their past six. Sirianni, who is closing out his third season on the job, has presided over one of the more memorable late-season swoons in recent NFL history.

Although Philadelphia’s defensive issues have come under fire, Jalen Hurts — Brotherly Shove touchdowns notwithstanding — has not followed up his breakthrough campaign with another step forward. Playing through injury this season, Hurts has seen his numbers drop across the board. Interceptions represent the figure that has skyrocketed, with the fourth-year QB’s 15 picks matching his past two seasons combined. The recently extended quarterback did not earn a Pro Bowl invite, and ESPN.com’s Tim McManus notes a disconnect between Hurts and the offensive staff has emerged.

The Eagles replaced two-year play-caller Shane Steichen with Hurts’ position coach, Brian Johnson, who has known the dual-threat QB for most of his life. While Johnson has received multiple requests for HC interviews, the Eagles are limping into the playoffs. Hurts has grown frustrated with an Eagles overreliance on vertical routes that require A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith to win one-on-one matchups, per McManus, who adds just 5.2% of Hurts’ pass attempts came on between-the-hashes throws this season — lowest among qualified QBs. Brown is set to miss tonight’s game with the injury he sustained in Week 18, ratcheting up the pressure on Hurts.

Others, however, attribute this Hurts-staff disconnect to the Steichen-to-Johnson OC change, with McManus also indicating Johnson has attempted to fit his concepts into Sirianni’s scheme. That reminds of the Panthers’ situation, which crumbled in part because of the team attempting to pair OC Thomas Brown‘s philosophy with Frank Reich‘s scheme. While the Eagles are a few tiers north of what happened in Charlotte this year, their fall from 10-1 to the No. 5 seed has been puzzling.

Sirianni’s decision to demote Sean Desai and give much of his responsibilities to Matt Patricia has not produced an improvement, though McManus adds the switch initially provided relief to some defensive players. Locker-room tension helped produce the defensive switch, but McManus, citing finger-pointing on both sides of the ball, adds multiple players-only meetings have taken place.

This paints a grim picture for the Eagles’ chances of defending their NFC title, but Sirianni did both lead the Eagles on a surprise playoff journey in 2021 — after the final Doug PedersonCarson Wentz season brought a freefall — and move the team to being within a disputed defensive holding penalty from having a chance to win Super Bowl LVII.

It would be shocking if the Eagles moved on so soon, even with the team having fired Pederson three years after his Super Bowl LII conquest and canning Andy Reid in the past. Should the Eagles follow the 2022 Cowboys’ lead and topple the Bucs in Round 1, Sirianni would seem safer. Barring a remarkable turnaround, though, the team’s December and January issues are likely to define the upcoming offseason.

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