Nick Sirianni was the most unlikely head coaching candidate of the Philadelphia Eagles when the team fired Doug Pederson a week ago. Now, the Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator is the Eagles’ newest head coach, CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora confirms.
Sirianni has served as the Colts offensive coordinator for the past three years, all under Frank Reich, who was previously the Eagles offensive coordinator. Sirianni and Reich have a history coaching together outside of Indianapolis, as the two were with the San Diego Chargers from 2013 to 2015 — Sirianni was the quarterbacks coach when Reich was the offensive coordinator (2014 and 2015). The 39-year-old Sirianni also had a coaching stint under Todd Haley with the Kansas City Chiefs in various roles (2009 to 2012).
Sirianni was responsible for the reemergence of Philip Rivers in 2020, as the Colts quarterback completed 68% of his passes for 4,169 yards with 24 touchdowns to 11 interceptions (97.0 passer rating) as Indianapolis finished 11-5 and reached the playoffs. Rivers improved his on-target throws from 76.7% from the previous year to 77.2%. Despite not being a threat to run, Rivers attempted 15 more run-pass option passes than the previous year (his final year with the Chargers), finishing sixth in the NFL in run-pass option passing yards (370). Rivers also cut his interceptions from the previous season from 20 to 11 and his fumbles from eight to two.
The Colts finished eighth in the league in points per game (25.9) and 14th in yards per game (363.9) in the three seasons Sirianni was offensive coordinator, and this was with three different quarterbacks in each year. With Sirianni to Philadelphia, the Colts could promote quarterbacks coach Marcus Brady to offensive coordinator (or Sirianni could take Brady with him to Philadelphia).
Sirianni’s first task with the Eagles will be to fix embattled quarterback Carson Wentz, who was one of the worst signal callers in football in 2020. Wentz completed 64.4% of his passes and threw for 81 touchdowns to just 21 interceptions from 2017 to 2019, compiling a 98.3 passer rating. In 2020, Wentz was 24th out of 35 qualified passers in completion percentage (57.4%), 33rd in yards per attempt (6.0) and 34th in passer rating (72.8). Only 70.4% of Wentz’s passes were considered “on-target,” which was 33rd in the league.
The Sirianni hire is a gamble that could alter the direction of the franchise whether the Eagles choose Wentz or not. Not much is known about Sirianni, but not much was known about Andy Reid when Philadelphia hired him in 1999 either. That turned out well for the Eagles.