It’s not official quite yet, but it’s all but guaranteed that Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni will be announced as the new Head Coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. Sirianni is quite young for an NFL coach, at just 39 years of age, and this will be his first head coaching gig. But the NFL is going younger. In the past five years 24 head coaches have been hired. Of those, 17 have been under the age of 45. Even then, nine of those are under 40 just like Sirianni.
Sirianni’s Job History
Despite his young age, Sirianni has been coaching for a long time. He’s been in the business since 2004, as a defensive backs coach for Mount Union. He jumped into the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2009 as an offensive quality control coach. Over his four years with the Chiefs he was also assistant quarterbacks coach and a wide receivers coach. He moved on to the Los Angeles Chargers (then the San Diego Chargers) after that, staying with them for five years from 2013-2017. He wore similar hats there, shifting around from quality control to quarterbacks coach to wide receivers coach. His final job before his Eagles appointment was three years as the offensive coordinator for the Colts.
The Chief’s Years
Let’s take a quick look at Sirianni’s performance in his past jobs as best we can. I’ve chosen to look at any jobs above the assistant level, starting with his role as the Chiefs wide receivers coach in 2012. It’s not a great start. To be fair, the team itself was bad. They finished a dismal 2-14, and had been last place in the division three of the previous four years. Their leading receiver under Sirianni was Dwyane Bowe, with 801 yards and three touchdowns. The next guy was Jonathan Baldwin sitting at 325 yards and one touchdown. Depending on what you consider Dexter McCluster’s position to be, those were the only touchdowns caught by wide receivers at all. KC QBs threw only eight total touchdowns that year.
Again, to be fair to Sirianni they weren’t much better after he held the position. Despite the team performing much better (Reid was hired after Sirianni left), the wide receivers were similarly dismal, culminating in 2015 when the Chiefs had zero wide receiver touchdowns.
Sirianni in San Diego
Next we have Sirianni’s two year stint as Phillip Rivers quarterbacks coach from 2014-2015. Again it’s not amazing. Rivers had two pretty average years under Sirianni. He had more touchdowns and yards than his career average, but also more interceptions and sacks. Rivers in general just threw more. It looks slightly worse that Rivers was a pro bowler the year before and the year after Sirianni. Then again pro bowler doesn’t mean THAT much, and River’s numbers weren’t all that different. When Sirianni took over Rivers was already an established veteran at that point, it’s unclear how much influence he would have had on Rivers.
Sirianni then moved to the Charger’s wide receiver coach for two years, and the record looks a lot better. He didn’t have a ton of talent or experience at that spot, but turned out some decent WRs. Tyrell Williams had his two best seasons ever under Sirianni, including a 1000 yard effort in 2016. Year two was Sirianni’s first and only full year with Keenan Allen, and Allen had his first pro bowl season (and was second team all-pro). Allen had his career high in yards that year as well. Not too shabby.
Success in Indianapolis
Finally, we have his latest and most important tenure as the Colts offensive coordinator. With three completely different starting quarterbacks, the Colts were a top ten offense twice. With Andrew Luck in 2018, by far the best QB he had, they were top five. Luck had arguably the best season of his career with Sirianni, posting highs in completion percentage, QBR and passer rating. This year, in Phillip River’s final year, despite him being physically past it at 39, Sirianni had him playing at an above average level. Besides Luck and one year of T.Y. Hilton, Sirianni has been successful without elite offensive talent at the skill positions.. The Colts have had a top line in that time frame however.
Sirianni and the Eagles
That makes him a good fit with the Eagles. The wide receiver room is a bit of a mess (Sirianni has WR coach experience), but when healthy the line is a major strength (just like in Indy). Sirianni was also the handpicked OC for former Eagles coordinator Frank Reich when he went off to become the head coach of the Colts. Sirianni and Reich also worked together in San Diego.
Reich was one of the (some say the biggest) architects of the Eagles 2017 offense and Carson Wentz’s MVP year. If the Eagles couldn’t get Frank Reich back, it makes a ton of sense to go for his protege. If there was one person besides Reich that could fix Wentz, Sirianni might be the guy. Bright young offensive minds are all the rage in the NFL right now. Your McVays, your Kingsburys, your LaFleurs. Sirianni can be that whether he fixes Wentz or leads the Eagles new franchise QB. He’s got a good track record, he fits what the Eagles want and as far as we know fits the personnel.
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