The Philadelphia Eagles secured a potential campaign-saving victory on Tuesday by defeating their NFC East rival Washington Football Team 27-17. The Eagles are soaring, having reigned victorious in four of their last five contests. Philadelphia's recent string of victories places them just half a game out of the final wild-card spot, which is currently being occupied by the Minnesota Vikings.
Few envisioned the Eagles being capable of competing in such a manner, and their stunning results raise a fair question regarding the job Sirianni is doing in his debut season as their head football coach. Does he deserve to be considered a 2021 Coach of the Year candidate? There are better candidates, but Sirianni deserves love all the same.
Sirianni's hiring was initially met with little fanfare. The 40-year-old Jamestown, New York native spent the previous three seasons flying largely under the radar while helping Frank Reich oversee a rather average Indianapolis Colts offense. Things didn't get off on the right foot in Philadelphia, with the Eagles losing three of their first four contests. A passionate and rambunctious fan base was quick to question Sirianni's credentials, but those examinations have all but disappeared in the face of their newfound success.
The pair of Sirianni and offensive coordinator Shane Steichen have transformed an Eagles offense that began the season in less than ideal fashion. A surprising midseason makeover is where Sirianni deserves the most credit. Philadelphia's rushing attack has been at the core of their recent success. Their latest showing saw the Eagles accumulate an astounding 238 yards on the ground against a stout and physical Washington defense. It served as an accurate representation of an elite rushing attack that Sirianni has designed and spearheaded in remarkable fashion as of late. Since Week 8, the Eagles have completely revamped their offense by averaging a total of 214 rushing yards per contest. The numbers are truly stupefying.
Philadelphia's positive offensive progression extends beyond the rushing attack which has flourished under Sirianni's watchful eye. Sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts is beginning to blossom as he continues to gain comfortability in a surging offense. Hurts has truly elevated his play as of late both as a runner and passer, and is beginning to look like Philadelphia's rightful quarterback of the future.
One of Bill Belichick or Matt LaFleur will likely capture this year's Coach of the Year honor, and rightfully so. Belichick has done a masterful job turning the New England Patriots' fortunes around in a post-Tom-Brady-world. The reworking of a haunting defense paired with the drafting of Mac Jones has catapulted the Patriots to Super Bowl contention once again. The Green Bay Packers have been extremely consistent under LaFleur and the road to Super Bowl LVI may travel through Lambeau Field for the rest of the NFC. Either one qualifies as a worthy winner, but Sirianni deserves recognition for the excellent work he's done in Philadelphia in year one. Sirianni continues to build a winning program with long-term success at the forefront of his thought process. It counts for something.