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Spadaro: The under-the-radar core principle that's propelled the Eagles to a 4-0 start

Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro
Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro

Nick Sirianni's five-pronged core values of his football program, as mentioned many times since he became head coach of the Eagles, are:

1. Connect

2. Compete

3. Accountability

4. Football IQ

5. Fundamentals

If he wanted to add a sixth, it could easily be trust.

There is no doubt that one of the many reasons this team is 4-0 and has such tremendous chemistry is that there is trust throughout the NovaCare Complex and within every tentacle of the football team – player to player, player to coach, coach to player, coach to coach.

The trust factor is something Sirianni often brings up when asked about his playcalling and it came up again on Monday when Sirianni was asked about his penchant for being aggressive with his fourth-down offensive calls. He's gone for it on fourth down 11 times through four games, converting 7 of those 11 attempts.

In Sunday's 29-21 win over Jacksonville, Sirianni had the Eagles go for the first down on fourth down five times. The Eagles converted three times on a day when the wind, rain, and generally miserable weather conditions made it difficult to execute the simplest of tasks.

But he had the offense stay on the field instead of summoning the punt team or the field goal team. And on Monday, he explained why.

"The very first thing of why we go for it on fourth down, or why we went for it on fourth down yesterday, I trust our guys," Sirianni said. "Who do you trust? I trust (QB) Jalen (Hurts) to make the right decisions with the football. I trust Jalen if it's a pass. I trust Jalen that if it's a run that he creates an extra gap for the defense. I trust the heck out of our offensive line and I trust our guys on the perimeter to make a play with the football in their hands. I trust our defense if we don't get it that they're going to get a stop.

"That's a big part of it. You heard the first guy I mentioned, right? I trust Jalen. I trust Jalen. I trust Jalen, right, because he's going to be touching the ball every single time.

"We do a lot of work that goes into it, into the four-down things that we're doing, what we're going to do on third down, what we would do on fourth down. So myself, (Passing Game Coordinator) Kevin Patullo, (Offensive Coordinator) Shane (Steichen), (Quarterbacks Coach) Brian Johnson, that's the guys that we're sitting in there a lot talking about third and fourth downs. (Tight Ends Coach) Jason Michael's in there as well and (Wide Receivers Coach) Aaron Moorehead. We're sitting there and talking a lot about that, and so when you spend a lot of time talking a lot about it and you've got a plan and understand what the mode is, you have conviction, right?

"So that always starts with the trust in the players and then goes down to our preparation and how we do that. You're convicted. I think sometimes what you see is that there is a lack of –  I don't want to say lack of conviction, but it's like, 'Hey, what are we going to do in this moment?' I think we have already talked about a lot of those things about what we're going to do in that moment. So, I learned a lot of that from (Indianapolis Colts Head Coach) Frank (Reich). He was great at planning that. So, again, everything that I feel like that I'm doing I got from somebody else, a good coach that I've been around in the past."

Trust. Sirianni has it with everyone on his football team, and it means so much.

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