Kevin Patullo has spent most of this year trying to convince people he isn’t the Eagles’ head coach.
The Eagles’ passing game coordinator shares a resemblance with Nick Sirianni, and conceded Friday that he has ditched the visors Sirianni likes to wear to lessen the confusion between the two of them recently.
“I’ve kind of switched to hats currently because I was wearing visors early on and everyone thought I was Nick,” Patullo said. “So I’ve kind of gone away from that a little bit.”
Even Patullo’s family isn’t immune to mistaking him for the Eagles’ head coach.
“From time to time, my kids look on the internet and say, ‘Hey look, that’s Nick, no that’s dad but the picture says it’s supposed to be Nick,” he said. “It’s kind of funny. It does happen frequently.”
For Sunday’s game against the New York Giants, Patullo might have to reverse the habit. With Sirianni quarantined after testing positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week, Patullo will act as the team’s head coach unless Sirianni is cleared before kickoff.
Sirianni said Friday he’s feeling much better than he did on Wednesday when he first tested positive and he’s still hopeful he’ll be able to return in time for the team’s home game against the Giants. He has been leading virtual team meetings while quarantining in a hotel room all week and would be eligible to return once he gets a negative COVID test.
“If it’s a minute before the game, I’ll be there. If it’s two days before the game, I’ll be there,” Sirianni said during his virtual news conference. “When they tell me I can go, I’m ready to go. I’ve prepared the same way as if I was in the building all week. The sooner, the better.”
Both Sirianni and Patullo said the week of preparation hasn’t changed much with Sirianni quarantining, aside from maybe the head coach’s physical activity level.
“I’m doing everything I [normally] do, just from my hotel room,” he said. “Now, I need to probably go out and get a walk a little bit because I’ve been in this hotel room for three days, but I’ve been watching a lot of tape and feel good about where we’re at right now.”
If Sirianni doesn’t test out of COVID protocols in time for Sunday’s game, he’ll leave play-calling duties with offensive coordinator Shane Steichen and will have Patullo handle game-management scenarios. Patullo doesn’t have any head-coaching experience either in the league or elsewhere. He was with Sirianni in Indianapolis, coaching wide receivers for two years before spending 2020 with the title of pass game specialist.
How much will Patullo’s potential game management differ from Sirianni’s tendencies?
“I feel like I am very similar to Nick in a lot of ways,” he said. “We’ve had so many discussions over the years about philosophy and game management, so I really don’t feel like it will be very much different at all. Like I said, we’ve had so many meetings at this point, we’re both very well-prepared for whatever situation it is.”
Iowa State offensive coordinator Tom Manning, who overlapped with Sirianni and Patullo in Indy during the 2018 season, said the two have similar traits as coaches, but they have different personalities.
“You know Nick, Nick’s energetic,” Manning told The Inquirer. “Kevin is, too, but not in the same way. I think that’s what’s really great about Nick is he wants you to coach the way that you coach. Kevin’s got great energy and juice to him, but it’s probably not going to show in the same way. It’s probably going to manifest itself in a different way than Nick’s would.
“Kevin’s a really sharp guy from a football standpoint but also just a really good human being. He’s certainly a guy that I think people gravitate toward because of his passion for the game and also because he does things the right way.”
Kerrigan added to COVID list, Dickerson comes off
The Eagles will have Landon Dickerson back in the lineup Sunday after the starting left guard missed one game on the COVID-19/Reserve list. The second-round rookie went on the list last Sunday and was replaced by Sua Opeta against Washington on Tuesday.
Dickerson has started 11 games this season and has settled into the left guard spot since Isaac Seumalo suffered a season-ending foot injury.
The team also added defensive end Ryan Kerrigan to the COVID-19 list. The reserve edge rusher’s absence should open up more playing time for rookie Tarron Jackson, who has started to take some of Kerrigan’s snaps in recent weeks.