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Spadaro: Eagles turn the page and begin the climb for 2023

Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro
Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro

It's time to move onward and upward for Executive Vice President/General Manager Howie Roseman and Head Coach Nick Sirianni because, clearly, the 2023 offseason is well upon us and there is a lot on their plates. The two held a joint press conference on Thursday at the NovaCare Complex and addressed a number of issues, some related to the loss to Kansas City in Super Bowl LVII and some about the work the team has ahead of it.

For those interested in a rehash of the 38-35 loss, you can watch the press conference below. From this perspective, you can't change the past, so let's focus on the future.

1. Addressing the losses of Coordinators Jonathan Gannon and Shane Steichen

Sirianni and Roseman anticipated losses because, as a team has success, it is going to lose coaches. So, the process of identifying new coordinators is well underway.

"We're obsessed with developing our football players, and we do many different things throughout the year to develop our players. And I'm obsessed personally because of the stock that people have put in me of how we develop our football coaches as well. So constantly want, from our position coaches to our coordinators, all the way to our quality control coaches and assistant position coaches, I want them involved in everything. And I try to give them things that helped me throughout my career. That's my job as the head coach," Sirianni said. "With that, Shane and Jonathan were successful, not only because Shane and Jonathan are good football coaches, but also because they have good assistants. And they have good people working with them.

"And so, I feel like we have a lot of good in-house options, which is always going to be where I start because that's just always kind of been how I've learned of grooming the people that you have in attempts for when this day happens that you're ready to go. But we won't stop just there. I mean, we'll look at every option to make sure we're getting the best people in here to help our team. We're going to do what's best for the Philadelphia Eagles. But I do believe we have great options in-house, because when you're grinding to put together a staff, you're not just grinding to put together the offensive and defensive coordinators. As a matter of fact, really the offensive and defensive coordinator, when you (Howie Roseman) hired me, we knew who we were hiring at those spots. The grind was getting the soldiers, getting those other guys in place that we felt really good with. A lot of good options.

"Two years ago, I remember Shane and I, we interviewed about nine running back coaches, and Coach (Jemal) Singleton was the ninth. I was, like, 'This is the guy right here.' There was a lot of work that went into that. So, again feel really good about in-house, but we will also do what's best for the Philadelphia Eagles of replacing these guys."

One thing to note, Sirianni said on Thursday that the new offensive coordinator will continue to call plays just as Steichen did.

2. With the defense, are there specifics in what the scheme will look like?

Sirianni has a concept of what the defense must include, but he also wants the new coordinator to have his own vision. That's basically the balance to be made here.

"There are core thought processes that I have on defense. So, there's going to be things that, yes, do I like a lot of the things that we're doing on there? Yes, I do. You think you're going to see that I really believe in, you know this, that I really believe in the turnover differential, I really believe in the explosive-play differential," Sirianni said. "There are things of that nature of that defense that I like. Then there's going to be things situationally that are non-negotiables. I guess, to say with me, whether it's third-and-long, whether it's tight red zone, whether it's two-minute, end-of-game plays, whether it's four-minute defense backed up. I'm naturally going to have things that I'm going to require the next defensive coordinator to do. But I also know that I'm hiring somebody to do their job to the best of their abilities, and that's why I'm hiring them.

"Again, it's all going to look a little bit different, no matter if you bring Jonathan's twin brother in, which he doesn't have – if you brought him in, it's still going to look a little different when that guy calls it as opposed to Coach Gannon. So, there's going to be little changes, little differences. But, again, I guess my long way of answering that is I'm not opposed to changing. I'm going to do what's best for the Eagles. We have great in-house candidates. There are candidates outside that we know – there's a lot of good football coaches out there that we know there as well. Again, there's going to be core – not as much as the offense, like, where Shane leaves and I'm saying, here's the offensive scheme that we're running. But with the defense, we're hiring the guy to do his job. I do have core beliefs that I don't want to change intermixed with that. But he's still got to do the job to his best ability – to do his job, whoever that may be."

3. What is next with Jalen Hurts? Will the Eagles sign him to a new contract? How does Roseman view retaining so many potential unrestricted free agents?

It won't be easy, but nothing ever is in the offseason. The Eagles have a significant list of potential unrestricted free agents and they have the matter of their star quarterback, Hurts. Roseman has navigated this kind of complicated picture before.

"Obviously, we want to keep our best players here for the long term. And he's certainly one of our best players. So that's something we'll keep all the contract talks internal but we'd definitely like to keep Jalen Hurts here long term," Roseman said. "I think we have a good sense of what we need to do here. We have a little bit of time here, too, to kind of figure it out and get away and discuss that. But at the end of the day, the most important thing is keeping our best players here. And Jalen's certainly one of our best players. I think we have obviously a large number of free agents that we knew going in. I think when we looked at this team – and we always look at this team over not just this year but over a period of time – we knew we needed to get additional picks. That's one of the reasons that we made the trade last year was to make sure we have picks going forward.

"And even though maybe we don't have the amount of picks this year, we have a bunch of high picks. And then next year, we're going to have a tremendous amount of picks. We already have two additional picks from two trades that we made. And just by the sheer number of free agents, we're going to have comp picks next year. Even if we signed a bunch of guys, we are going to have comp picks next year. So, I think we go into it with the understanding that it's going to be impossible to keep every single person on this team. But we're here to compete. I think that a lot of times, I've heard this week, you know, we'll be back. Just because we say it doesn't mean it. We've got to make that happen. I take great pride in trying to do my part."

4. How much of a factor is Jason Kelce in the equation? How does the offensive line's picture matter here?

Veteran All-Pro center Jason Kelce has not made his intentions clear for the 2023 season – he deserves all the time he needs to make a decision – and what he decides certainly impacts the Eagles moving forward.

One thing to know: The Eagles will always make sure the offensive line is strong.

"Yeah, for us, offensive line is always going to be a priority. You've seen the way we've built teams," Roseman said. "It's not like we have some secret sauce here. Everyone knows the ingredients. And so, for us, we're going to continue to go through our offseason process. I think for us during the season, we are doing everything for 2023 during the season. So, this isn't like, 'Hey, we're a month behind and we're starting from scratch.' We've been working this, and coach will come to my office on a Wednesday (asking), 'Who are you watching? Tell me about this guy.'

"It's not like we're starting from scratch here. We're going to evaluate all the players. We're going to make sure that we keep our priorities in the right place here for this offseason and we have a scar (from the Super Bowl loss). We have a scar on us. And it's going to heal over time, and we're going to do everything we can, everything in our power to make sure that we bring the city, our players, our staff, what they deserve."

5. Finally, what did Nick Sirianni learn from the 2022 Eagles season and coming so close to completing the mission?

It was special for the second-year head coach and he now has a taste of what it's like to reach the Super Bowl and for Sirianni, and everyone else at the Eagles, it's just tantalizing. Everyone wants more. Everyone wants to finish the job and win the Super Bowl and then win the one after that and so on and so on.

"The wisdom is that I think we were there. We were close. And all that does to me is make me hungrier to get back and that's about the last time you'll hear me say get back because what you're going to hear me say is we're going to do it one day at a time one day at a time because that's the right mindset," he said. "But that doesn't stop you from when you see the red and yellow confetti fall or you have a piece of it stuck on your shirt, that you don't think to yourself, I have to do everything I can to help our guys get back to this moment. Maybe that's not a wisdom thing, maybe that's more of my drive and I know our players' drive and I know Howie's drive to be like, oh, my God, we were there. We talk about climbing the mountain. We climbed the mountain. We'd look one step at a time, one step at a time, one step at a time, and then we slip right before we were able to put our flag at the top of the mountain.

"All that does is make you more determined, driven, to make that climb again, to get back to the top and hopefully stand at the top ... The other part of it is that half the fun of this thing, half the reason we do this, and a big part of the reason is the journey. So, without getting sentimental here, that is the last time that that group of men will be together. So you know you're going to – like Howie said, not everybody – it's not going to be the same team. There's going to be draft picks. Jonathan is gone. Shane is gone. Different things are going to happen. But you look back. You always cherish that journey. It didn't end the way you wanted it to, but the journey was special. The men involved in the journey were special. The relationships that were built will last forever."

On to 2023. It's here and it's not going to stop and the Eagles are ready, collectively, to start another climb to the top. One day at a time. One step at a time.

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