Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Eagles coach Nick Sirianni discusses AJ Brown’s sideline tantrum

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The frustration pouring out of AJ Brown late in the fourth quarter was the raw emotion of a player wearing his heart on his sleeve. Odd timing, yes, but don’t mistake his mini tantrum for sour grapes. Brown was upset that he couldn’t be untracked for the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Divisional Round.

Brown caught three balls for 22 yards on just six shots against New York. Cameras caught him sitting alone and sulking on the touchline at 5-11 in a 31-7 game. That’s when head coach Nick Sirianni came over and calmed him down. On Monday, Sirianni explained what was going on at Brown at the time.

“Of course he always wants the ball” Sirianni told reporters. “He’s a really good player and not really anyone in the passing game got really a lot of goals or a lot of chances because we ran the ball so well. But that’s what you want from your receivers, to want the football. One reason receivers are good is because they want and crave football. They want the ball to change the game but make no mistake, he was thrilled that we won the football game.”

Brown remained involved in other ways. For example, his bruises Late in the first quarter, DeVonta Smith paved the way for the 9-yard touchdown. That result made it 14-0 and the run was on.

“He always obviously wants to be involved in the plan,” Sirianni said. “He blocked his butt, you could see how excited he was as he popped that block DeVonta’s touchdown. He was super excited and celebrated with all of us in the dressing room after the win.”

The Eagles didn’t practice Monday, but Nick Sirianni updated a few injuries during its media availability. AJ Brown left the game late in the fourth quarter on Saturday night. He appeared to be “stabbed in the leg-hip area” and left the game after 51 offensive snaps. It is nothing serious.

“He went through a little thing with his body that hurt him,” Sirianni said. “We think he will be ready to go this week. But he got injured in that game, so he wasn’t in the game.

Nickel cornerback Avonte Maddox has not played since injuring his toe on Christmas Eve. He was inactive against the Giants and his status for Sunday’s NFC Championship game remains up in the air.

“We’ll see,” Sirianni said. “We’re hopeful but he’s yet to get out and run onto the field and do drills so we don’t know that yet. Because there are some unknowns in football movements that he needs to go out and do.

There was no news on center Jason Kelce (quads), left guard Landon Dickerson (leg) or right tackle Lane Johnson (groin). All three offensive line studs struggled through the pain on Saturday night and plan to do the same this week.

Eagles defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson was recruiting for open defensive coordinator positions. He is a popular rising star assistant who has been openly lobbied for by star cornerback Darius Slay. The head coach has now jumped on Wilson’s PR campaign as he credited the 40-year-old assistant with holding together a broken secondary school.

“I felt like they played really well,” Sirianni said of the Eagles’ secondary school. “Credit Coach Gannon and Coach Dennard Wilson. And DK [McDonald], really good DB wagons. I really think Coach Wilson, I had a second after the game to brag about Gannon, so now let me brag about Coach Wilson. He’s just a great leader of men and he has the ability to bring a group together.”

DK McDonald is serving as assistant defense coach under Wilson. Gannon, of course, was the subject of an impassioned tirade from Sirianni after winning the NFC Divisional Round. The coaching staff could see a lot of turnover in the 2023 season.

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