Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Nick Sirianni is encouraging Eagles players to embrace their roles ahead of the season opener | Early Birds

The first-year head coach opened the Eagles’ week of preparation Monday with what seemed to be a simple, but resonant message.

Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni
Eagles head coach Nick SirianniRead moreHEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer

Good morning, Eagles fans. If you’re reading this Wednesday morning, you’ve got four more sleeps until the season opener Sunday against Atlanta. Exciting stuff, I know. The Eagles are back on the practice field Wednesday, and coach Nick Sirianni will speak with reporters beforehand. Sirianni had a message for the team earlier this week.

You’re signed up to get this newsletter in your inbox every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during the preseason. If you like what you’re reading, tell your friends it’s free to sign up here​. I want to know what you think, what we should add, and what you want to read, so send me feedback by email or on Twitter @EJSmith94.

EJ Smith (

Role play

Sirianni opened the Eagles’ week of preparation Monday with what seemed to be a simple, but resonant message: Embrace your role.

When DeVonta Smith was asked about his expectations for the season Monday, he referenced the meeting he’d just come from and Sirianni’s directive.

“Coach Sirianni, we just had a meeting and it was all about people just playing their role,” the first-round rookie said. “Whatever my role is, [I’m focusing on] just embracing and playing my role.”

Smith’s role figures to be a significant one. The first-round rookie projects as a starting outside receiver going into Sunday’s season opener in Atlanta, and he’ll be tasked with turning around a group of receivers that had only one player surpass the 500-receiving-yards mark (Travis Fulgham) last season.

“DeVonta is going to have a big role on this team,” Sirianni said Monday. “We talked about the role today; that was one thing just with everybody. ... The other thing we talked about a lot with our team is, ‘What are the things that are going to prevent you from getting better every single day?’ Because that’s the goal at the end of the day, is just continue to make these gains of getting better every single day.”

What you need to know about the Eagles

  1. The Eagles usually leave no doubt about who is the answer at quarterback, but this season, Mike Sielski writes, Jalen Hurts isn’t getting that benefit of the doubt.

  2. Dallas Goedert told reporters earlier this week that he was expecting to have a contract extension by now. As yours truly writes, the team had other plans.

  3. Sirianni is a frequent user of videos to break up his team meetings and drive home a point. Read all about it in my season-preview story on the first-year coach.

  4. Josh Tolentino and I make some bold predictions in anticipation of the season opener.

  5. Searching for reasons to be optimistic about the Eagles? Marcus Hayes has you covered, arguing this team’s defense will be better than it was in 2017.

  6. From Damichael Cole: The Eagles are releasing a new sports apparel collection with New Era that focuses on streetwear.

  7. Got a last-second fantasy football draft? KC Joyner explains why the Eagles’ rushing attack has the potential to dominate.