Nick Sirianni backtracks criticism of Jonathan Gannon, Eagles defense

Nick Sirianni Eagles
Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni wasn’t afraid of sending some criticism toward defensive coordinator  Jonathan Gannon after Sunday’s loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.

While teasing some changes within the defense that yielded 33 points in Week 7, Sirianni looked as though he drove another divide between him and the defense while speaking with NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark

“I felt it was lack of possessions,” Sirianni said. “This is the ultimate team game. We’ve got to get the ball back from our defense to our offense. It felt a little bit out of rhythm because of the lack of possessions”

Not a very team-like comment for an “ultimate team game.”

But Sirianni soon backtracked those comments in an attempt to slap another band-aid on an Eagles season that continues to be cut open.

“I want to make it very clear, when I say the defense needs to tighten up, I’m looking at myself first,” Sirianni said. “Every product that’s on that field, special teams, defense, offense, has my name on it. I’m not just the offensive coordinator, I’m the head coach of this football team. So, everything that’s out there on that field is first my responsibility.

“When I say the defense needs to tighten up and needs to get the ball back to the offense, I’m saying that that’s my responsibility, right? That’s my responsibility to say, ‘Hey, on this one, I want to tighten up and play man coverage on this one.’ In no way, shape or form was I putting any blame on the defense or Jonathan Gannon at all.

He also went on to give a vote of confidence to Gannon, which doesn’t necessarily mean much in the world of sports.

“I have utmost faith in Jonathan Gannon. I have utmost faith in our defense,” Sirianni continued. “I’m putting that responsibility on me and nobody else.”

Regardless of where the finger is pointed, the bottom line is that the Eagles defense has been a liability this season.

They’ve allowed the sixth-most points in the NFL, the 11th-most total yards, and the fourth-most rushing yards. That hardly instills confidence for a 38-year-old first-time defensive coordinator like Gannon — who may or may not have sovereignty of the defense.

“Well, when you say that, everything that goes onto that field is my responsibility,” Sirianni said. “My name is on it. If I want something done, then we’re going to do it that way because my name is on that. Now, I trust Jonathan completely in the sense that he’s doing most of the studying on it. I’m going to be there, just like I said, to support and also answer questions in an offensive style.

“If I see right for us to pressure on a play, then we’re going to do it that way. But again, I trust our staff completely. That’s kind of our process.”