One plus two equals three, and in the case of the Eagles' offense on Thursday night against Tampa Bay, it just didn't add up satisfactorily for Head Coach Nick Sirianni. A 3-of-10 success rate on third down didn't sustain drives for the Eagles, who opened the game with a 75-yard touchdown drive and then managed just one first down in the next six offensive possessions in a 28-22 defeat. In Sirianni's mind, one (first down) plus two (second down) didn't add up to a favorable three (third down), and it cost the offense against the Bucs.
That is something that Sirianni knows must improve, and he will spend this mini-bye weekend examining that, and everything else.
"It was really the lack of execution on first and second down that didn't extend drives there in that first half," Sirianni said on Friday from the NovaCare Complex. "Obviously, again, it's always execution and it's always our ability, as coaches, to put them in positions to succeed. It's the ultimate team game. It's never going to be, 'Hey, it was just execution,' or, 'Hey, it was just the playcalling.' It's together. It was just – again, when you're three-and-out or four-and-out, when you're that many in a row in the second quarter, you're not getting the ability to sustain drives for different reasons here and there. It was just really – and you look at the second half, again, it was midway through the third quarter, you look at that, you're like, 'OK, that looked good,' and it was a lot like Carolina.
"But it started slow. The first drive was, obviously, really good. You go down and get points. And then there was just this lull, and we were just not good enough – we were just not good enough on first and second down. Then just, obviously, being 3-of-10 on third down, that's nowhere near acceptable in our standards. Then you had an opportunity at the end of the first half to at least go down 21-10, and we had two opportunities. Defense did a good job of getting us the ball back and we had the one two-minute and then we punted it back to them. We got a stop, got an interception, and then we had the other two-minute and we didn't come away with points. That's kind of where, in the Carolina game, you went down and you got points at the end of the half, and it really gave you some momentum going into the second half, and we just didn't execute there in that two-minute for different reasons. Again, putting them in the right position, making the right read, giving the time for the quarterback to deliver, and make the right read.
"Again, when you play the way we did, it's never on just one person. We've all got to accept that responsibility. We've all got to be accountable for that, and we've all got to get better from that."
Sirianni plans to take advantage of this long weekend and dive deep into the opportunity to self-scout the operation through six games. He talked extensively about the trade of Zach Ertz and the close relationship they forged in a short period of time, as well as the confidence he has in Dallas Goedert and the players in the tight end room.
Along with that, when asked if he planned to make any changes as far as the way the Eagles call the offensive plays or approach the offense, Sirianni said he would continue to keep things as they are – and would continue to explore every way possible to improve the performance.
"We're going to continue to do the things we've been doing, as far as playcalling and gameplanning. We feel like we have a good process there of how we go through it. I am fortunate that on this staff, I have guys that have experience calling games, which is helping me throughout games. So, we're going to continue to stick with that. We've got a lot of confidence in that, and we've just got to execute and do better, but confident in our process there," Sirianni said.
"(In terms of) self-scouting, each week, even on a normal week, we look at our self-scout, and we're constantly trying to think, particularly more so than anything, our run-pass ratio within different looks. Now, we've been heavy pass, as we all know, but we always want to get that closer to at least 75 percent. Never be above 75 percent in anything because we know that's where defenses really look at that and make plans off of that. So, we're looking at our self-scout. We have more time, obviously, this week to be able to not only go into the run-pass ratio of things, but also into marrying some plays together and also go into just what you do well as a team and what your identity is as a team and who you are as a team and what you've succeeded in as a team.
"Sometimes on a normal week or even on a short week, you don't get the opportunity to do that as much. With these extra three days that we have, we are looking at that. We just got done watching the game together. I'll go up there with the defense, get with the defense here, get with special teams after that, and then we'll be on to that self-scout as an offensive staff, as a defensive staff, as a special teams unit."