Nick Sirianni thinks Eagles have environment for young QB to thrive

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Dave Zangaro
·4 min read
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Sirianni thinks Eagles have environment for young QB to thrive originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Whether the Eagles decide to roll with Jalen Hurts in 2021 or draft a quarterback in the first round, they will very likely have a young QB under center this season.

So they need an environment that allows a young QB to thrive.

Nick Sirianni thinks they have it.

In an interview with the Eagles’ website, the Eagles’ head coach went through the process of putting together his first NFL coaching staff. When talking about his offensive coordinator, Shane Steichen, Sirianni emphasized how important the situation around a young quarterback can be.

“He just has a unique way to be able to make things simple for the quarterback,” Sirianni said. “And we saw that last year with Justin Herbert. How he was able to take a young quarterback who’s never played a snap in the NFL and turn him into the rookie of the year. He makes the game simple for him.

“And he’s got so much passion, especially when he’s talking about that position. As we all know, that is the most important position in all of sports. So to have his expertise in that area is going to be huge for this football team.”

Unlike Doug Pederson, Sirianni’s background as a player and a coach is mostly at the receiver position. That’s not to say he won’t be heavily involved with Hurts or whoever the quarterback is, but he, along with Steichen and quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson, will be the most important influences for the Eagles’ young quarterback in 2021.

Steichen last season was the OC with the Chargers as Justin Herbert went from first-round pick to Rookie of the Year. While many have credited former Chargers quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton for Herbert’s success, Herbert thinks Steichen played a huge role too.

Earlier this month, Herbert told CBS Sports’ Jeff Kerr that Hamilton and Steichen formed the support system that allowed him to thrive.

“We talked about the offense so much and having that guy, who is just so smart about football and our offense,” Herbert said about Steichen to CBS Sports. “I could go to him with any questions and we talked about inside zone, outside zone, and all the run game. I felt I got much better at the line of scrimmage making points and redirecting protection because of him."

Sirianni and Steichen had previously worked together with the Chargers. In fact, many of the coaches on this new staff have direct ties to Sirianni. Johnson did not.

The Eagles’ new quarterbacks coach didn’t have a relationship with Sirianni or anyone on the staff, Sirianni told the Eagles’ website.

“But we saw a great coach and we saw a great coach by numbers,” Sirianni said. “You saw what he did with that offense at Florida, super impressive. What he did with that quarterback at Florida, super impressive. So excited to have Brian. He brings so many good ideas, he brings an element of the college game that not all of us have. Again, couldn’t be more thrilled to have Brian on this staff.”

This past season, Johnson was promoted to offensive coordinator at the University of Florida in addition to being the quarterbacks coach. In 2020, the Gators scored 39.8 points per game, an improvement from their 33.2 points per game in 2019. And quarterback Kyle Trask took a huge jump from his junior to senior season. In 2020, he threw for over 4,200 yards with 43 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.

Before getting to Florida in 2018, Johnson was at Houston for a season and before that he was at Mississippi State, where he coached Dak Prescott.

When the Eagles restarted the last time in 2016, they realized how important it was to create a stable environment around their young quarterback. They might do some things differently this time, but they still want to create a situation where a young quarterback — Hurts or someone else — can thrive. Sirianni clearly thinks they’ve done that.

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