EAGLES SIRIANNI GETS LAST LAUGH: PUNCH LINE TO WILD CARD!

By Max Harper

Nick Sirianni has come a long way since last January when he was rolled out as Eagles coach and was creamed in the media for his public comments:

He’s not ready for prime time.

He’s not ready for Philly.

He’s just not ready.

Now he is the only rookie coach to lead his team to the playoffs this season and he’s getting ready to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4) on Sunday.

“We’re going to have our same process that we’ve had throughout the entire year of trying to get a little bit better each day to give ourselves a chance to go 1-0,” Sirianni said Monday.

“And we know how good of a team that Tampa is. That’s going to be typical through the playoffs. … We’re going to stay the same way. I know it sounds cliché, but it’s just if you start doing anything different now in the playoffs than you’ve done the entire 18 weeks prior, you’ve done the 17 or 18 weeks wrong. That’s my philosophy, that’s how I was raised in this business, and I think that’s what good coaching is.

“If you’re going to do something different this week, then you haven’t prepared the right way for 18 weeks this season. So, we know we got a challenge. We know we’re playing a very good team, the defending Super Bowl champs, and we’re going to prepare like crazy. We got the right guys in this building that I know are going to give everything we got and do everything we can do to get better each day to put ourselves in position to win this week.”

The Eagles secured a wild-card spot last week so they rested Jalen Hurts and most of their starters Saturday night in a loss to Dallas. The coaching staff focused much of their preparation Sunday on Tampa because it was the most likely matchup for Philadelphia.

Meanwhile, Tom Brady and the banged-up Bucs played until late in the fourth quarter in a rout over Carolina on Sunday that earned the NFC South champions the No. 2 seed.

“A lot of our focus was on Tampa and it’s nice when it comes out that way where you’ve put in the work there and you don’t have to start again,” Sirianni said. “So, that was a lot of our emphasis (Sunday). It was fun to just be able to have the games on in the background and watch some things that we were tracking as we got ready to play our game next week.”

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