For the first time, Nick Sirianni is preparing for a Week 1 opener as the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Eagles are coming off a painful to watch 4-12 season resulting in their Super Bowl winning coach to be fired and their former No. 2 pick, franchise quarterback to be traded.

Now, Sirianni and the Eagles will kick off their 2021 season against the Atlanta Falcons, who were equally as bad as the Eagles were last season, going 4-12.

97.3 ESPN logo
Get our free mobile app

However, Sirianni knows new Falcons head coach Arthur Smith well, with both coaches working in the AFC South the past few seasons. He knows that Atlanta will be well prepared for Week 1.

"I have a ton of respect for Arthur and his abilities as a coach; great person as well, and he's going to have their guys ready to play," Sirianni said on Wednesday. "Just you saw over and over again that his teams are well coached. Offenses that he ran were well coached, fundamentally sound, and knew how to attack a defense. And he did what his players did best."

"I respect the heck out of that, and I know it's going to a challenge for us with Arthur."

In addition to what Smith brings to the Falcons offense, Atlanta features a new defensive mind as well, veteran coordinator Dean Peas, that will provide a tough matchup for the Eagles young skill position players.

"Coach Pees, always has challenges that he presents you," explained Sirianni. "We're studying the heck out of the tape."

"You know, again, we're getting prepared with the plays that we have and against the defenses, but yeah, a guy like Dean Pees who has had a ton of success in this league always presents challenges. We're going to have to be ready for him, Jalen is going to have to be ready for him, the entire team is going to have to be ready for him."

While the Falcons have a new coach, they have a similar look this season with quarterback Matt Ryan still triggering the offense.

"Matt has played a lot of games, a lot of years. He's a heck of a football player," Sirianni said.

"You know, he's just always knows exactly where to go with the football, when to go with the football, what time to go with the football, and he is a very accurate passer."

"And I know Arthur is a good coach and I know good coaches do what their players do well. You can except that a little bit more there just because of the years that Matt has played."

Ryan is back in the offense and has a new weapon, first-round pick, Kyle Pitts, a 6'6, 240 pound tight end that runs like a wide receiver. 

"Yeah, there's a reason that guy went as high as he went. There's a reason all the defensive coaches when they're talking before the draft, say this is the best guy they've seen in the last 10 years," explained Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. 

"So, you know, we're going to have to be smart about how we defend him. And we're going to know -- people that end up on him, they're going to need to know what he brings to the table. And hopefully that we don't have -- you know, we have help around us when we're defending him."

Eagles Top-10 Sack Leaders



More From 97.3 ESPN