Nick Sirianni will make his NFL debut as a head coach Thursday night when the Philadelphia Eagles open their preseason against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The preseason opener will also be the first game Sirianni will be the primary play-caller as well.
“I will be the play-caller, and then Shane [Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen] will be the one talking to the quarterback,” Sirianni said prior to the start of the Eagles training camp practice Tuesday. “So I’ll say a number to Shane and Shane will say the number to Jalen [Hurts] if it’s a wristband play, or I’ll say the number to Shane and he’ll read it to Jalen.
“We’ve been in that situation before. That’s just so I can talk to other people, too, and make some notes here. I just think that’s the communication that he hears every day in practice and that’s why we’ll do it like that in the game.”
Sirianni does have experience calling plays, revealing Frank Reich gave him the primary play-calling responsibilities in preseason for the Indianapolis Colts when he was the offensive coordinator. He also was the play-caller for some Chargers preseason games under Mike McCoy and called the passes for the Kansas City Chiefs in a 2011 game (Week 15 against the Green Bay Packers) after Todd Haley was fired as head coach.
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“When we were calling the plays at all the places I’ve been, it’s always, ‘Hey, here’s’ – I think the only difference is I’m not the one pulling the trigger on every single one because there was constant communication in between series,” Sirianni said. “‘Hey, Frank, what do you think about this, this, this, and this?’ Then it was Frank pulling the trigger, but we would talk through it.
“It’s just a different guy. We are still going to talk through it as a staff, ‘Here is what we want to run, and just we’re calling this at this time.'”
Sirianni also revealed Jalen Hurts will start the game with Joe Flacco coming in after him and Nick Mullens rounding out the night. The Eagles have a plan for how long the first team will play in the preseason opener, but won’t reveal it.
“We’re still talking through that. We’re still talking through that every day,” Sirianni said. “We don’t have exactly — again, there are guys — everybody is in a little different scenario. For me to say, ‘Hey, the starters are playing ‘this’ many –,’ we’ve discussed everybody, and everybody has their own little scenario that we’re doing.
“That’s why I don’t want to tell you guys, ‘This is how many series. ‘If we go out and have a seven-play drive, then we reevaluate, just like in a game. If we go three and out, then we reevaluate.
“Everything is on — I don’t want to say sliding scale, to say.”