Uttering the phrase “Nick Sirianni should win Coach of the Year in 2021” would have been mocked two months ago. The Eagles were fresh off a 33-22 loss to Las Vegas and sat in the bottom of the NFC with a 2-5 record.
Fast forward to the week of Christmas and that sentiment has completely changed. If you don’t consider Nick Sirianni as a legitimate candidate to win Coach of the Year, you simply haven’t been paying attention. The way in which Sirianni has turned this season around for his Philadelphia Eagles has been remarkable.
After starting 2-5, the Eagles have won five out of their last seven, posting a point differential of +82. During that time, the Eagles are first in rushing yards per game (214.4), third-down efficiency (51.6%), scoring efficiency (52.9%), and explosive plays (80). They’re second in points per game (29.3) and yards per game (388).
All of this success was made possible by Sirianni’s change in philosophy. Through the first half of the year, Philadelphia’s offense did not have an identity. There was no marriage of plays or consistent game planning. And more so than anything else, Sirianni relied far too heavily on Jalen Hurts’ arm.
In the first seven games of the year, Hurts was averaging 34.5 passing attempts per game. In the last seven, he’s averaged just over 19. Hurts exceeded 30 passing attempts in just one game over the past seven games, Week 12 against the Giants. A game in which the offense still produced over 200 rushing yards.
The Philly media mocked Sirianni early in the season. The infamous flower comment that everyone laughed at happened right at the beginning of this run. Shows how much we know.
There are certainly other worthy candidates for this award. Bill Belichick, Matt LaFluer, Kliff Kingsbury, and Sean McVay are currently the favorites to win Coach of the Year. But, they all have something that Sirianni doesn’t — a bonified passer of the football. Belichick has a rookie and it’s undeniably impressive what he’s been able to do with Mac Jones, but it really shouldn’t surprise us too much. After all, most scouts pinned Jones as arguably the most pro-ready quarterback in this past year’s draft.
Sirianni is winning football games the old fashioned way — running the football and controlling the clock. And if he manages to get his team into the postseason with this formula, there may not be another coach in this league more worthy of the Coach of the Year award.