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Nick Sirianni: 'Fresh ideas' needed for Eagles offense after disappointing end to 2023 season

The 2023 Eagles' season featured a very defined demarcation line located between Weeks 12 and 13.

The latter period after his team's 10-1 start put head coach Nick Sirianni's job in question. The turbulent end, however, could end up setting the Eagles on the right track under Sirianni, who joined general manager Howie Roseman for Philadelphia's end-of-season press conference on Wednesday 

The message: After parting with offensive coordinator Brian Johnson and defensive coordinator Sean Desai (senior defensive assistant Matt Patricia, who called plays on defense after a mid-December change, is also moving on), the time is now to start fixing his team, and a primary focus will be looking to the outside for a new offensive scheme.

"I just think right now we just need to bring some new ideas from the outside," Sirianni explained to reporters on Wednesday. "We need to bring a guy in with new ideas that's not part of this family of coaches. I think that an important thing or even if it is from one of the coaches that have been somewhere else -- it can be any of that. So, that's important and because that's important you are making sure you always evolve.

... "The evolution will not just be of the things that this new coordinator will bring to the table as far as their scheme and things we may not know a lot about. It is easy to look out and say 'I like to do that and do that' but not know what there is to know about. That's why you are bringing in a coordinator to bring those new ideas."

New ideas are needed for an offense that Sirianni admitted had grown stale in 2023, but new ideas alone won't earn a candidate the job. Fit matters, too -- namely, how a coordinator plans to maximize the talents of those already on a roster that Roseman said on Wednesday "isn't even close to bare."

"It's just about putting the players in the best positions to succeed but doing things differently at times too," Sirianni told reporters. "There's going to be things for whoever the new coordinator is that there's going to be things that they bring that are going to be fresh ideas for us to help out players grow and help our players play at the top level. There's been some things that we've done well that our offense has done in the past that you'll mesh in some of that together as well. I think with some of the success that we've had these last three years and our guys do well. I'm excited about that.

... "These ideas and this new person coming in is meant to help take away the staleness and add the value of what they are adding to the offense."

Chief atop Philadelphia's list is finding a coordinator who will pair well with franchise quarterback Jalen Hurts, who didn't have the stellar season most expected. Evaluating Hurts' 2023 season isn't as simple as jotting down some negative notes, because he made some incredible plays along the way, but it eventually became clear he and the Eagles weren't the same well-oiled machine that propelled them to Super Bowl LVII the previous season. In order for the Eagles to return to such a level, quarterback and play-caller will need to be in much better sync than Hurts was with his former quarterbacks coach, Johnson.

"Obviously, we're all going to have things that we need to work on. Jalen is no different -- we're all going to have to look at the things from this season and say what we need to work on this or that," Sirianni said on Wednesday. "Without getting into the specifics, the one thing I do know about Jalen is when there are things in his game that he needs to improve, he goes to work and busts his ass to do that.

"I think you know you saw -- there were a lot of questions after that first year about some things like could he be a passer or whatever the questions were. He came out and put up an MVP-type season the following year in the way he threw the ball, accuracy and all those different things. He just continues to grow, and I said it last year a bunch: 'I don't know if we know what this guy's ceiling is.' He's going to work and do things that he needs to do to get better."

Johnson isn't the lone scapegoat, of course. Hurts played through a knee issue that seemed to slow him, and intermittent injuries at tight end and receiver threw a wrench into the operation. It's difficult to argue with results, though, and after closing their season with a 1-6 record and an offense that lacked energy, it became clear to the regime in Philadelphia that change was necessary, even if it was also emotionally taxing.

"We did what we thought was best at the time," Sirianni said of parting with Johnson. "I can't say enough good thing about Brian, though. He's a great football coach. He's going to have another opportunity to lead an offense, and I will miss him. Some of the things that we want to do as a team is grow in a lot of different areas.

… "It's about coming up with fresh ideas and doing some things different, and that's exactly where we are right now. Brian being at that position, unfortunately, he's the one that's leaving at this particular time. But I can't say how much I appreciate him as a coach. We've had a lot of success here in the past three years and Brian's contributed a lot to that. … Just wanted to bring in some fresh ideas, and that's where we are with that."

The identity of Johnson's replacement remains to be determined. The same is true for who will replace Desai and Patricia, a pairing that must be mentioned together because of how their roles changed during the season in a decision Sirianni admitted wasn't fair to either, but felt it was best for his team at the time.

Veteran coach Vic Fangio became available during Wednesday's presser following Miami's announcement they'd parted with the coordinator, adding to a list of candidates that could also include the likes of former Giants and Ravens DC Wink Martindale -- whose defense suffocated the Eagles in Week 18 -- former Commanders head coach Ron Rivera, and a number of other individuals. Sirianni declined to comment on any specific candidates, but remained optimistic about the Eagles' options as they venture into 2024 as a bruised, but not beaten bunch.

"We got a lot of good targets that we're working through," Sirianni said. "There are a lot of guys that have done really well in their interview process. I look forward to continue with that process and we'll see what happens."

Wednesday served as an important checkpoint on that 2024 roadmap, silencing any uncertainty regarding Sirianni's job security for the upcoming season. It was clear the Eagles know there is plenty of work to be done in order to return to where they were in 2023 before the wheels fell off.

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