HomeDa Birds NewsNick Sirianni Stands Firm: Patricia Remains His Top Choice

Nick Sirianni Stands Firm: Patricia Remains His Top Choice

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PHILADELPHIA – You look at the numbers and the players attached to them, and you ask yourself how in the world can a Philadelphia Eagles defense, mired in crisis, stop them?

The simple answer is they cannot, though the defense will try when they travel to Tampa to play the Buccaneers in the wild-card game on Monday night.

Tampa receiver Mike Evans has had yet another 1,000-yard season, giving him that milestone in each of his first 10 seasons in the league, and fellow receiver Chris Godwin just posted his third straight 1,000-yard and fifth overall.

Running back Rachaad White ranked fourth among those at his position with a career-high 1,539 scrimmage yards and a careernhigh 64 catches.

Then there’s quarterback Baker Mayfield who had a career-high in completions (364), passing yards (4,044), and touchdown passes (28).

Matt Patricia and Eagles GM Howie Roseman USA Today

The Eagles’ defense did a nice job holding all of the above in check in what was probably their best win of the season, beating these same Bucs, 25-11, in Week 3. It was the team’s largest margin of victory all year.

So much has changed, starting with Nick Sirianni’s decision to Matt Patricia as the defensive play-caller, a move announced on the same day, Dec. 10, that the Eagles qualified for the playoffs.

Since then the defense has hit the skids. The Eagles are 1-3 since Patricia relieved Sean Desai of his play-calling duties, and none of it has been pretty.

Generally, though, the defense took a big step backward this year.

Take a look at how far it tumbled:

2022

  • 70 sacks (first in league)
  • 97 tackles for loss (first)
  • 124 QB hits (second)
  • 17 interceptions (third)

2023

  • 43 sacks (20th)
  • 73 tackles for loss (27th)
  • 106 QB hits (15th)
  • 9 interceptions (25th)

Some of that regression falls on general manager Howie Roseman for not doing enough to replace the five starters on last year’s NFC champions.

Much of the blame, though, has to be pinned on the coordinator change. It was a  move that smelled like panic at the time and that smell has gotten worse.

Related: Eagles vs. Baker Mayfield: 2 Injuries for Bucs QB in Playoffs?

At least Desai ran the show when the Eagles shut out the Kansas City Chiefs in the second half of a 21-17 win earlier this season. Desai also ran the show when the Eagles short-circuited the high-flying Miami Dolphins, holding them to 17 points, in a 31-17 Week 7 win.

And now that it’s been made, there’s no going back.

Sirianni isn’t regretting a thing, saying so last week. His stance squashed any possibility that Desai would be restored in his previous role to call the defense in Monday night’s playoff game.

“Everything that I do, every decision that I make, is with the thought of the team first and what is best for the team,” said Sirianni. “You know, the adjustments that I made a couple weeks ago were in attempts to do what was best for the team, and I still believe that. We made some adjustments.

“Coming off a game like that, no one is going to be satisfied about anything that happened. But I do believe in the guys that we have on the field. I do believe in the guys that we have – the defensive coaches. And so no, again, every decision I’m trying to make, is what’s best for the team, and I believe that adjustment was necessary and where we are right now.”

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