Just like that, the Eagles are everybody’s favorite team.
A commanding win over the Vikings on the heels of an opening-day victory in Detroit has the Eagles 2-0 and ranked third or fourth in the NFL by USA Today, The Athletic, Fox Sports, NFL.com and the Sporting News, and either the No. 1 or No. 2 team in the NFC (behind Tampa Bay).
They’re one of only six undefeated teams, they’re 8-2 in their last 10 games with Jalen Hurts at quarterback and their next 10 games are against teams that have won a combined seven games so far.
It can be a lot for a team to handle, and that’s why Nick Sirianni’s message to his players this week was to ignore every single bit of it, focus on the daily grind and don’t lose sight of how the Eagles got to 2-0.
“We talked about the weekly process and not skipping steps or anything like that,” he said Wednesday. “I think when you focus on the process of the week and all those things, you don’t get affected by the outside noise.
“Obviously, people are telling us how good we are now. Last year at this time people were telling us how bad we were.”
A year ago, the Eagles were 2-5 and the message was exactly the same.
Just don’t listen.
And we all know how they responded. They finished 7-2 to lock up a playoff berth in Sirianni and Hurts’ first season together.
“When you truly are in the moment and focusing on what you have to do for that day, people can tell you whatever they want,” Sirianni said. “Your job today is to do this and not to skip any steps, and, OK, if we’re as competitive as we say we are in this room and as we preach in this room, then I don’t care if you’re 2-0 or 0-2, if you won 24-7 or lost 24-7, you’re going to come out and want to take the guy your playing’s heart away from him this next game.
“And I don’t care if you’re playing a 1-on-1 basketball game – what did I get my balls busted about last year, rock, paper, scissors? – I don’t care what it is, you are going to go and try to win that competition and so when you can stay true to your core values and what’s important for a week, all the outside noise and all the waves of the season (won’t matter).”
All a 2-0 record guarantees the Eagles is that they'll finish 2-15 at worst – no matter what all those rankings say. And Sirianni is going to keep reminding his players of that.
“You see every year that a team starts out 5-0 or 5-1 and they fall off," he said. "You see every year that a team starts slow and they build. We’re so early in this. There’s so much time to build. We are truly in the business of getting better every day. Me included.
"We know in this league there’s so many teams that start fast and then they fizzle off. Our focus – and I sound like a broken record – is trying to get better each day. We never come off a game and say, ‘Well, that was good enough.’ That’s not how we operate.”
We’ve all seen teams that start buying into the hype, and that never turns out well.
Sirianni said he doesn’t worry about this team falling into that trap and said he loves the guidance and leadership he gets from team captains Jalen Hurts, Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson, Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Darius Slay and Jake Elliott.
He singled out Johnson, Graham, Cox and Kelce, who all starred on the 2017 team that won the Super Bowl.
“Our captains are special,” he said. “They’ve been to the top of the mountain, most of our captains, and know what it takes to get to the top of the mountain and plant that Eagle flag at the top of the mountain.”
“I feel like I have a unique situation with four guys on the offensive and defensive lines who’ve been in the battle in the trenches and got to the top. They know and they help preach every message, and they’re just great leaders.”