HomeDa Birds NewsSirianni Planned to Target 3 Players vs. Cowboys

Sirianni Planned to Target 3 Players vs. Cowboys

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PHILADELPHIA – From the moment Howie Roseman traded for A.J. Brown on draft night two years ago, Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni was adamant about how the offense would look, saying that it was going to run through Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert.

He is also fond of saying that a wise man avoids all extremes.

Sirianni took that saying to a whole new level, an extreme level, you could say, on Sunday night in Dallas when it was only those three players who quarterback Jalen Hurts targeted in the passing game.

Of all the warts that have sprouted during this two-game losing streak, the fact that Hurts only threw the ball to three players is extremely glaring. Most high school teams throw the ball to more than that many players on a Friday night.

By way of comparison, the Cowboys targeted eight different players in the passing game. On Tuesday, Sirianni defended a game plan that targeted just three players.

“Our passing game runs through three guys,” he said. “That doesn’t mean we don’t want to get the ball to some other guys here and there, but the main passing game goes through those guys. The Cowboys and the style of defense they run, which is obviously a very good defense, allows you to kind of get the ball to where we were going with it.

“That’s where the ball was designed to go. It has nothing to do with anything else. We wanted to get A.J. going. We wanted to get DeVonta and Dallas the ball. Every plan is thought of through that. …That was by design to throw those guys the football, and that’s why the football went there.”

Nick SirianniUSA Today

Clearly, the design was flawed, with the offense generating two measly field goals.

That’s where coaching comes into play during this losing streak. Sure, the players need to execute, and three fumbles on the Cowboys’ side of the field, didn’t help matters, but involving only three players in the passing game? That seems too easy to defend and take away if that’s the only three players getting a chance to make a catch.

The problem is the Eagles haven’t developed another receiver after Brown and Smith or a tight end after Goedert.

Last year, Quez Watkins had 33 catches. He missed eight games with injury this year, but there was no uptick in targets for Olamide Zaccheaus or Julio Jones.

Zaccheaus, who, a year after making 40 catches with the Atlanta Falcons, has all of seven this year.

Jones must have something left or the Eagles would have cut him instead of linebacker Christian Elliss, but if he does, we haven’t seen it. In eight games, he has five catches for 16 yards and one very important touchdown in a tight game against the Washington Commanders.

Britain Covey is a speedy returner who somehow found a way to catch 184 passes for 2,011 and 11 touchdowns in five years with the University of Utah. He has 20 snaps but not one target after looking like he might be able to lend a hand in the passing game with a solid summer camp.

As for the tight end position, when Goedert missed three games, nobody filled the void.

General manager Howie Roseman delivers Albert Okwuegbunam, a pass-catching threat who had 54 catches for 546 yards and four touchdowns in three years with the Denver Broncos, but the Eagles looked his way once in the passing game with Goedert unavailable.

Jack Stoll was signed undrafted out of Nebraska for his ability to block, but he has been here three years and has talked about his development as a pass catcher, yet he was targeted four times when Goedert was out.

It seems like getting more players involved in the passing game might make the Eagles feel less predictable and possibly more difficult to defend.

Sirianni needs to heed his philosophy and be a wise man who avoids all extremes.

Related: Getting Ugly? Eagles Seeking Answers After Cowboys Loss

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