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Lurie explains his decision to keep Sirianni after 2023 collapse

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie on Tuesday was asked about his decision to retain head coach Nick Sirianni.

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ORLANDO, Fla. — Over two months after the Eagles’ season ended with an unprecedented collapse, owner Jeffrey Lurie met with Eagles reporters at the NFL’s annual league meetings.

And there was one major question to be asked: Why keep Nick Sirianni?

The Eagles fell apart down the stretch in 2023, losing six of their last seven games, including a first-round playoff exit. But even after major turnover to the coaching staff under Sirianni, the head coach remains.

“We go through a very, very intensive process after every single season,” Lurie said from The Ritz-Carlton Orlando resort. “This season was no different. Extremely disappointing ending to the season, the last five, six games. Extremely disappointing to me, very frustrating for all of us. 

“But what we do is, and I insist on this, is there's no recency bias, there's no latency bias, there's no bias. Take a very hard look at exactly what the entire season looked at, what the entire history has been over the last few years for our organization, for our team and listen.”

And when Lurie took a step back and listened to Sirianni, general manager Howie Roseman, players and more, he ultimately decided to bring back Sirianni for a fourth season despite the disastrous ending of 2023.

Lurie on Tuesday pointed out the success under Sirianni before the collapse at the end of this past season, citing a 31-7 record before the fall. Lurie said he didn’t want to fall victim to recency bias.

“A very disappointing ending but I don't take light 31-7 in the National Football League. That's extraordinary,” Lurie said. “And so the ingredients that I've always seen with Nick are very obvious: The ability to connect, the ability to be authentic, incredible work ethic, high football IQ. All the reasons that he was hired in the first place have been almost magnified in the first three years because they've been extremely successful and yet that doesn't ever take away from the hard look at the disappointment and frustration as it ended.

“So I don't mean to diminish that in the slightest because I don't. I live that and I care. So every element of why we were not able to be resilient as we expected goes into that analysis.”

Lurie pointed out the big difference between the Eagles and the other top competitors in the NFL in 2023 was that they couldn’t steady things after they ended up in a tailspin. Both teams in the Super Bowl — the 49ers and Chiefs — had rough patches during the season but ended up playing well going into the playoffs. The Eagles obviously didn’t and that needs to be addressed.

One of the attempts the Eagles made to pull themselves out of that collapse was to change defensive coordinators in Week 15, a move Lurie said flatly “didn’t work.” But he also praised Sirianni for his bold approach and not relying on comfort.

After listening to Sirianni and Roseman, Lurie said he was encouraged by their plans for the future. This seems to be the other main reason why Sirianni is back for the 2024 season.

Back in 2020, when the Eagles fired Doug Pederson, there were clear disagreements on the future of the coaching staff. That wasn’t the case this time. While Lurie said he didn’t get involved to pick the next offensive and defensive coordinators, he very obviously liked Sirianni’s choices of Kellen Moore as the OC and Vic Fangio as the DC. Lurie seemed impressed about Sirianni’s “proactive” plan for the future of the coaching staff.

Lurie has spoken at great lengths before about his view on the importance of assistant coaches, specifically coordinators, and on Tuesday even alluded to paying top dollar to land the best candidates.

“The things with Nick I have to say were really impressive were wanting to truly improve the ingredients of the offense, truly improve who was going to lead, in terms of leading the offense and the direction it would go,” Lurie said. “Wanted it to be much more innovative, much more dynamic. Of course, bring the things that brought us a lot of success but very open to finding the best possible offensive coordinator. 

“And the same with defensive coordinator. He’s an offensive head coach more but he recognized that Vic Fangio was somebody that would be an outstanding defensive coordinator for us. I mean we talked about his systems for years and all the people that you know he developed and now we have the guy that really kind of fathered the certain approach to defense. 

“And so Nick's conscious desire to have top-notch coordinators under him really drove a lot of the strategy and he was hell-bent on making sure we had the best. And you know, highly encouraged by his both analysis of where we're at, no excuses, basically a fundamental understanding of what needs to be better than the last five or six weeks of the season and not only a return to our championship caliber performance and execution, but improve on that too. Not just go back to what we were, but try to be better than what we were in the really recent past.”

Sirianni, 42, will enter his fourth season as the Eagles’ head coach in 2024 with a 34-17 record and trips to the playoffs in all three of his seasons since being hired in 2021.

But after the collapse in 2023 and the upheaval on the coaching staff under him, there’s an obvious thought that Sirianni’s leash could be shorter than ever going into this next season.

“Every coach is in a high-pressured situation,” Lurie said. “Nick has had a pretty spectacular first three seasons and he's shown all the ingredients to have outstanding success. So I'm just looking forward.”

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