Tue, 09 Mar 2021

What will the offense look like under Nick Sirianni

Philadelphia Eagles
25 Jan 2021, 18:12 GMT+10

Chris McPherson

As the Eagles officially announced Nick Sirianni's hiring as the 21st full-time head coach in franchise history on Sunday, there is a sense of excitement and anticipation to see what type of offensive scheme the team will deploy.

The Indianapolis Colts posted a nearly six-minute video in the 2018 offseason called Film Study: Offensive Coordinator Nick Sirianni. The Eagles' head coach walked through three facets of what he and Frank Reich envisioned for the newly installed Colts offense utilizing game tape from other teams as examples.

Since entering the NFL coaching ranks in 2009, Sirianni has worked for the Kansas City Chiefs, the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers, and the Indianapolis Colts. He's worked with the likes of Todd Haley, Charlie Weis, Brian Daboll, Mike McCoy, Ken Whisenhunt, Anthony Lynn, and, of course, Frank Reich, who called Sirianni, "the right person at the right time for the Eagles."

Sirianni showed the ability to adapt to his team's personnel over the years, just look at the three years in Indianapolis. He worked with a different starting quarterback to open each season, going from Andrew Luck in 2018 to Jacoby Brissett in 2019 to Philip Rivers this past season. Sirianni doesn't have a one-size-fits-all philosophy, but these are three aspects of the Colts' offense that could remain staples in Philadelphia.

12 Personnel

The first aspect of the offense that Sirianni discussed was 12 personnel or two tight end sets. In the video, Sirianni referenced Zach Ertz's Super Bowl-winning touchdown reception against the New England Patriots.

"It forces a bad matchup for one of the defensive backs," Sirianni said.

The Colts ranked in the top 10 in using 12 personnel in Sirianni's first two years as offensive coordinator - ninth in 2018 and sixth in 2019. That dropped to 16th (20.9 percent of plays) in 2020. The Eagles have been the team to most prominently utilize 12 personnel over the past three seasons, ranking first in each of the past two campaigns.

Yards After Catch

"Another thing we like to do is get the ball to our players within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage, get the ball to our players running," Sirianni said at the open of the second play, a clip of wide receiver Tyrell Williams of the Chargers taking a short pass for a 44-yard touchdown against the Jaguars that featured 40 yards after the catch.

The Colts ranked fourth in the league this past season in yards after the catch. They also ranked eighth in screen attempts. This is exciting for someone like 2020 first-round pick Jalen Reagor. Running back Miles Sanders should be juiced about the possibilities here. What's more impressive is that the Colts gained 2,331 yards after the catch, but ranked 21st in missed tackles forced. Sirianni helped scheme playmakers open with room to run.

For comparison, the Eagles ranked 29th in yards after the catch in 2020.

Running Backs in the Pass Game

The third and final video Sirianni referenced was yet another Eagles clip showcasing three-time Pro Bowl legend Darren Sproles flexed out in the slot as a receiver.

This goes back to Sirianni's point from the 12 personnel highlight - it's about creating mismatches. A linebacker or a box safety is not going to be comfortable in space against an athletic pass-catching back.

Sanders had 78 receptions for 706 yards in his first two seasons. His 78 receptions ranked third among all NFL running backs over the past two years. Who is No. 1 on the list? Indianapolis' Nyheim Hines accumulated 107 catches.

More Indiana News

Access More

Sign up for Indiana State News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!