This is a gradual process that is frankly broken into daily chunks. As in “Let’s have a good meeting.” And: “We really have to focus on this practice.” Then it says, “We’re going to challenge each other in this conditioning session.” The whole idea is to eliminate distractions, be where your feet are, and put all your focus on that single task. It’s the Nick Sirianni Way and the 2021 Philadelphia Eagles lived and breathed that mantra throughout an eventful season that continues Sunday at FedEx Field against the Washington Football Team.
“We preached the same thing and bought into our process and we’re getting better every day,” quarterback Jalen Hurts said in an exclusive interview for the latest Eagles Insider Podcast. “Everyone tried to label us with our identity as a football team, but it really didn’t matter and neither did we. It was always about getting better every day. And day by day, as a group, we’ve bought into that. Day by day we have grown as a group on the same page. We still strive to do more of this every day. Nothing changes. “
That’s the mindset of this football team preparing for Sunday’s NFC East game in Washington. Sirianni’s quips ring “one percent better,” “double what we know to be true,” “control what we can control,” “rent is due” throughout the NovaCare complex as the Eagles prepare for their second game against Washington within 13 days. Remember when Sirianni talked about planting the seeds of success and made the analogy to a flower and the reaction of those outside the NovaCare complex? Well, all of that has served him well as the team’s mindset certainly aligns with his direction.
“I think the team has got that mentality,” Sirianni told me earlier in the week. “Why does the team achieve this mentality? Because we have great leaders in this football team. ‘Dawg mentality’, ‘rent is due’, ‘get one percent better every day’ is not world known, new learning for them We all know that’s true, and if you have something simple – and I like having a coaching point so they know what I’m going to say before I say it, you can do that – and you have the guides that we’re in have this football team who believe in it and can go out and do it every day; that’s what we’ve been all year.
What the Eagles have been is a team that has really improved over the season to this moment. They know they’re playing against a Washington team that was ravaged by COVID-19 and injuries at Lincoln Financial Field two weeks ago, falling 27-17 to the Eagles. You know how difficult it is to beat a team twice in such a short space of time. You know the fluid nature of the NFL means you have to stay agile — Washington has placed four key players on the reserve/COVID-19 list in recent days — running back Antonio Gibson, starting right tackle Sam Cosmi, starting left guard Ereck Flowers , Sr. and one of the NFL’s best players, Tress Way — and that’s how the Eagles have approached it every day this season.
Philadelphia starts the new year with an 8-7 record after winning five of their last six games. The Eagles won’t run Miles Sanders back with a broken bone in his hand. Running back Jordan Howard was restricted in training with a stinger all week and is listed as questionable. Boston Scott and Kenny Gainwell are ready to handle the workload when it counts. That’s how it’s been all season – the next few players have been preparing for the game all season so they’re ready to take responsibility when their numbers are called.
“You have to be ready to go and I think that’s one thing that we’ve done very well across the team,” said safety Rodney McLeod earlier in the week. “Prepare to be the starter so you’ll be ready when the time comes. It sounds like everyone does that anyway, but that’s not always the case. With this team, we all took that approach.”
That’s coming from Sirianni so he knows as the final word of 2021 he was the leading force in his rookie season as head coach. Sirianni and the Eagles are 8-7 after a string of early injuries hurt the team in the trenches after starting 2-5 as they navigated the ongoing infection of COVID-19 and how they grew together to create a crucial one Point to achieve moment in the season.
“They haven’t seen the best of us,” Hurts said. “We’re still waiting for the day when we can sum it all up and say we’ve done our best. Until then, we always strive for more. I think that’s the definition of what we’re trying to achieve here.”