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Spadaro: Back to basics as Eagles look inward during the bye

Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro
Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro

Nobody is looking far into the future as the Eagles dig in during this bye week, a theme that Head Coach Nick Sirianni has preached throughout his time here. He met the media via teleconference on Tuesday and discussed where the team is at in this very early stage of the bye and in a nutshell it's here: The Eagles are taking things day by day, maximizing the time off, making sure the focus is mostly internal for the day.

There are extenuating circumstances, of course, and the Eagles are handling those as well. For example, what happens as NFL teams looking to hire head coaching positions reach out to Eagles assistants? Sirianni understands the process and knows that Offensive Coordinator Shane Steichen and Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon could be in demand, so he's helped equip them with tips on how to win the process. There are injuries to consider as well, and as they've been the entire time Sirianni has been here, they are a day-to-day proposition.

Mostly, it's the internal scouting. It's breaking down every component of the team – every situational bit of football involved – and evaluating. Being honest. Being critical. Looking for ways to improve because it's a win-or-go-home scenario moving forward. For the first time in his NFL coaching career, Sirianni is in a playoff bye week. He's taking "little bits of information" from various coaches and people he knows around the league and from situations he's experienced and he's made the decision on how to maximize this week.

At the core of the plan? Fundamentals, which is no surprise because that is one of Sirianni's five core principles and he and his coaching staff stress them every day.

"Fundamentals are going to be a big part in winning in the playoffs, just like we believe it really is in the regular season as well," Sirianni said. "We'll have a little bit more time for 'individual' (portion of practice) this week to get back to some of the fundamentals that you might not have enough time to do in the year, kinda more so like a Training Camp practice or an OTA (Organized Team Activities in the spring) practice where you have more time."

The other part of it is winning at situational football, so there will be an emphasis on that this week.

"It's going to be the smart football teams, it's going to come down to things like that," Sirianni said. "We're going to rep that this week, some of the situational football ... work on some things that we've studied, that we have more time to do now. Maybe different times of end-the-game plays, different types of game-position plays, different types of backed-up (deep in Eagles territory) plays – all those different things that have been on our radar that we've been working on, but now you can get some full-speed reps of that."

This is a long list and it's fortunate that the Eagles can break down every nuance of each player on the roster and each section of the playbook to review. The Eagles have tremendous resources working in coordination among all arms of the football operation – the coaching staff, the analytics department, the players, the scouting department, the sports medicine and performance staff, the video department. As Sirianni said, it's a "grind, but that's what we do."

The objective is to put the players in the best, most strategic position to succeed.

"We grind to make sure we can find answers to put our guys in better spots to coach them more efficiently," Sirianni said.

On the injury front, there really aren't specific updates. Sirianni said that quarterback Jalen Hurts was, as expected, "sore" from his return to action on Sunday, but the Most Valuable Player candidate continues to rehabilitate his sprained right shoulder and should be substantially healthier when the playoffs open. Defensive end Josh Sweat pushed to play against the Giants one week after suffering a neck injury against the Saints and Sirianni is "really hopeful and (the Eagles) feel good that he will" be on the field when the postseason starts.

But, again, no timetable.

This is a week to be diligent, efficient, and open-minded to take advantage of the bye. The process is already well underway as the Eagles move, crushing it every hour, with the Divisional Playoff round in two weekends at Lincoln Financial Field.

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