There was a recurring theme in Nick Sirianni’s post-game presser Sunday night in Vegas.
It was Jonathan Gannon.
Sirianni laid a ton of blame for the Eagles’ loss to the Raiders on Gannon, his passive scheme and what Sirianni seemed to indicate was a reluctance to adjust when his initial plan was not working.
Even when he wasn’t asked directly about the defense, he referred to Gannon and the defense.
He made sure to say that everything that happens with the team is ultimately his responsibility. Then he blamed Gannon some more.
He wasn’t wrong. But it was revealing just how directly he blamed his defensive coordinator for the mess the Eagles are in.
The Eagles fell to 2-5 Sunday with a 33-22 loss to the Raiders. Derek Carr completed 31 of 34 passes – the 2nd-most accurate QB performance ever against the Eagles and the 2nd-highest completion percentage in NFL history by a QB throwing at least 30 passes.
The Eagles' defense didn't put up much resistance.
“We need to challenge more,” Sirianni said. “It obviously always starts with us as coaches being able to put them in positions to make plays, so we have to call defenses that are going to allow the defenders to challenge more and then our defenders (have) got to challenge more.
“When someone’s 91 or 92 percent or whatever he (was), everyone’s got a piece of that. So we’ve got to be able to challenge more and that’s defensive scheme and then obviously playing, too."
In the first 1,285 games in franchise history, only eight quarterbacks completed 80 percent of their passes in a game against the Eagles.
In the Eagles' last five games, four quarterbacks have done it – Dak Prescott, Pat Mahomes, Tom Brady and Carr.
Overall, the Eagles are allowing QBs to complete 74.4 percent of their passes. That’s 3rd-highest in NFL history through seven games.
“When you’re playing these good quarterbacks ... and you’re giving up this high a percentage, yeah, that’s the same thing we talk about on offense, any time you’re not playing well, you’ve got to make changes, you’ve got to adapt, you’ve got to move,” Sirianni said. “I’m not saying you have to make a complete philosophy switch, but we’ve got to do things to help our players out, absolutely.”
In the Eagles’ last five games, the defense has allowed 34, 42, 18, 28 and 33 points. This is the first time since 1971 the Eagles have allowed 28 points four times in their first seven games.
“Anytime you lose like that, everybody’s got to look themselves in the mirror,” Sirianni said. “It just wasn’t good enough execution, it wasn’t good enough play calling - on both sides of the ball ... we just weren’t good enough.
“And that starts with me. Everything’s always going to start with me. I just wasn’t good enough and everybody followed suit.”
Even talking about his decision to accept a 10-yard penalty in the first quarter and take a 3rd-and-15 instead of a 4th-and-2 he was critical of the defense.
The Raiders, who had the punt team coming onto the field expecting the Eagles to decline the penalty, converted that 3rd-and-15 with a 43-yard pass from Carr to Zay Jones.
“We went down and we gave up a 3rd-and-13,” Sirianni said. “We can’t give up a 3rd-and-13."
And answering another question about Carr’s historic performance, Sirianni again pointed the blame directly at Gannon: “Derek Carr was 91 percent. Not good enough on Jonathan’s part.”
What does it all mean? Is Sirianni considering making a change this soon? Is he going to read the riot act again to Gannon? Is he going to take a bigger role on the defensive side?
We’ll see. But it sure seems like something has to change, and Sirianni didn’t say anything Sunday night to indicate he disagrees.
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