Nick Sirianni has hit the ground running as the Eagles' new head coach because, well, that's just the way it is in the NFL. Time waits for no one. Maybe it feels like there is an interminable number of days between now and the start of Training Camp, but the countdown is already on in 30 league cities. For a new head coach – whom you will hear from in due time, so thanks for your patience – there just aren't enough hours in the day.
What is the to-do list for Sirianni, the 39-year-old head coach who wowed the Eagles so much in last week's interview that they made the very quick turnaround to hire him? Here is a sample list, which probably is leaving out some elements that are personal for Sirianni …
1. Hire his coaching staff
This is a complicated and extremely important process. And while there have been a lot of reported names already joining Sirianni's staff, the Eagles haven't yet made anything official and won't do so, likely, until the entire staff is complete and all of the contracts are signed. To build a coaching staff, Sirianni will rely on the relationships he has made in his 12 seasons in the NFL and, perhaps in some instances, on recommendations from trusted coaches from around the league. Face-to-face interviews at the NovaCare Complex are not permitted under the league's COVID-19 protocols, so Sirianni is doing his work virtually.
Think about the timeframe: Sirianni signed his contract on Saturday night, the Eagles officially announced the deal on Sunday morning, and then Sirianni arrived in Philadelphia a day later. We're only a few days removed from all of that. Hiring three coordinators and a large fistful of position coaches, with assistants to some of those positions, doesn't happen in the manner of two or three days. Building his coaching staff has absorbed the majority – by a large amount – of Sirianni's time so far and that likely will continue through the week, at least.
2. Evaluate the roster
Everyone wants to know what Sirianni thinks of the roster, starting, of course, at the quarterback position. Guaranteed, he won't rush into any public proclamations. Sirianni will pore through the season's play by play, make notes, and grade every player who stepped on the field in 2020. The Eagles have a ton of question marks about the roster, so the communication between Sirianni and the personnel staff and Sirianni and the rest of his coaches – who will evaluate their rooms from 2020 as well – and between the coaching staff and the personnel department will be critical. The Eagles are in a "transition" period with the roster, as Chairman & CEO Jeffrey Lurie stated a couple of weeks ago when he discussed the move to dismiss Doug Pederson. There are a ton of salary cap decisions to be made, contract issues to be resolved, and a preliminary depth chart to establish.
Sirianni and the entire football operations need to be in coordination here. The Eagles have a lot of work to do with the roster and have an opportunity this spring and summer to do so. More on that below.
3. Get to know the NovaCare Complex and its people
Most of the Eagles organization is working remotely, so this is going to take some time. While the coaching staff is changing significantly from 2020, the personnel department is expected to return largely the same, so Sirianni needs to get to know his people on a day-to-day basis. This happens organically through meetings and time spent together, as the team shares philosophies and makes plans for 2021 and beyond.
Too, Sirianni needs to become familiar with the cadence of the building, where to do and when, that sort of thing. He's the one who will set the tone for the NovaCare Complex – now with only a handful of people in the building but – we hope – a full slate of employees for the regular season. Most of what he's doing now is virtual. That's the way of the world. It doesn't change the to-do list. The methods may not be "normal," but the end goal is to be ready to go with a great team in September.
4. Reach out to his players
How much of this Sirianni does is, obviously, a personal preference, but new head coaches historically reach out to as many players as they can and introduce themselves and briefly lay out their expectations for the season ahead. Again, there are only so many hours in the day, but there is no doubt that Sirianni – known to have great energy and to have a positive-reinforcement approach who holds players accountable – wants his players to know that he's on their side as early as possible.
5. Take care of his family and their living situation
More important than a head football coach, Sirianni is married and a father of three young children. The organization will help his family relocate to the Philadelphia region, which is just a whole lot more complicated now than in non-pandemic times. There isn't anything more to discuss here, but it is certainly part of the equation for a new head coach in a new city.
6. Meet the media
Sirianni hasn't yet held a press conference, but he will. There isn't any particular rush in the NFL. The New York Jets hired Robert Saleh and held a press conference a week later, so it happens. It just happens when the team wants it to happen, when the head coach has time to focus on the questions the media have. It would be surprising if Sirianni has given more than 10 seconds of thought to that component of the job. He's coming from being a coordinator in Indianapolis to a head coach in Philadelphia and the size, the tone, the scrutiny, and the relationship will be unique for him to experience. It will happen, the press conference that is, at the right time for Sirianni and the Eagles.
7. Prepare for NFL's free agency and the NFL Draft
This goes back to the personnel department and knowing the roster and upgrading the roster for 2021. It's happening right now. The Senior Bowl practices are happening this week. Much of the pre-NFL Draft process will be different than any other year. So, yeah, things are happening for Sirianni at a rapid pace – free agency begins on March 17 and the NFL Draft's Round 1 is on April 29 (the Eagles have the sixth pick and need to nail it and all of their picks). The new head coach has to be efficient in every move he makes because the clock is always ticking in the offseason and the NFL.