Coming into this week as the Eagles head into the playoffs, head coach Nick Sirianni was already trying to preach the importance of not making the moment bigger than it is.
Then he got valuable reminders from two legends.
First, center Jason Kelce came to Sirianni earlier in the week with an important message that Sirianni clearly took to heart.
“What he said I thought was really valuable,” Sirianni said. “He said, ’The things that lose you games in the regular season also lose you games in the playoffs.’ We were really talking about assignment and fundamentals. The minute details of what you do and how you do it.
“Know what you do and how to do it. I must have said that 50 times to the team today. Know what to do and how to do it. Know what to do, know how to do it. And it just kind of amplifies.”
Not long after Kelce delivered that message to Sirianni, Sirianni’s assistant, Tyler Scudder, brought him a video of Kobe Bryant’s speech to the Eagles during the 2017 season. The late Bryant spoke to the team in Southern California in December that season before the Rams game as the Eagles made their final push toward the playoffs.
Kobe’s message in 2017 wasn’t that unlike the one from Kelce this week.
“His message was exactly the same,” Sirianni said. “It was, hey, the fundamentals and technique get amplified more and more so and the assignments get amplified more and more so in the playoffs.”
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According to Sirianni, Kobe back then spoke specifically of fundamental mistakes in the late stages of the Miami Heat vs. San Antonio Spurs series. Presumably, Bryant was talking about the 2013 NBA Finals, when the Spurs were up by five points with less than 30 seconds remaining with a chance to win the title.
But they blew the lead, lost in overtime and lost the series in Game 7 because they lost track of their fundamentals.
“That is the message,” Sirianni said. “The emotion of the game, that emotion is going to be there, all we can do now is … this is my message to Jalen (Hurts) and this is my message to the team — is control what we can control now and that’s getting a little bit better each day.
“Hyper focus on that assignment and the fundamentals. What’s great about that is that’s been our hyper focus all year. So we’re not doing anything differently. … I thought it was a great message coming from Jason and coming from Kobe Bryant.”