Despite Marcus Mariota’s preseason struggles, Eagles HC Nick Sirianni isn’t open to QB2 competition

Despite Marcus Mariota’s preseason struggles, Eagles HC Nick Sirianni isn’t open to QB2 competition

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Despite Marcus Mariota’s preseason struggles, Eagles HC Nick Sirianni isn’t open to QB2 competition
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“I was sloppy. I can do a better job of getting our guys operating cleaner and more efficiently,” Mariota said after the game, via the team’s official transcript. “But that is what preseason is for. Kind of get some of that stuff ironed out. Clean off some of the rust. We’ll find ways to get better.”

By contrast, rookie Tanner McKee entered and jumpstarted the offense. For the second-consecutive week, the Stanford product looked sharp, was able to distribute the ball effectively and looked savvy in the pocket. Had his wideouts not dropped several passes, McKee’s 10 of 18 for 147 yards and a TD line in six drives would have been even better.

Given the dichotomy of the QB play in Philly, Sirianni was asked Thursday if there was a chance McKee could unseat Mariota for the No. 2 spot behind Hurts.

“Way too early on this,” Sirianni responded, “Marcus is our backup, and pleased with the way Tanner is playing.”

Sirianni underscored that the Eagles like what Mariota brings to the offense and must tailor the game plan to that — if he’s needed in a game.

“It’s also us finding out what he does well, too,” he said. “What he sees well, what looks good to him. I know he didn’t play the way he wanted to tonight. I wouldn’t say he struggled the last game. You guys might have said that. I didn’t say that. He ran around and made some good plays and moved the ball really well with him in there against Baltimore. So tonight, yeah, obviously not up to his standard, but it’s about us finding what works for him. And that’s just us learning him. That’s us working together to figure that out.”

Playing in the second half of preseason games, McKee has mostly faced defenders who won’t make their respective rosters. It’s a good sign that he’s dealing against those players, but it doesn’t mean the sixth-round pick will be the next Brock Purdy. But there are signs that he could eventually be the Eagles’ backup, if not this year, then perhaps in 2024.

“So, what I would say is, again, I would see the ball consistently going to the right spot on time — that’s what you want for your quarterback — with accuracy so he can make all the throws. He can see it,” Sirianni said of McKee. “So, he’s been doing good. To compare him to anybody else based off two preseason games, I don’t want to go there, but am I pleased with how he’s looked and what he’s doing? Of course.”

There’s zero surprise that Sirianni would back Mariota in this spot over McKee. There is little utility in saying anything other than what Sirianni said. The truth is that Mariota’s struggles do raise questions about the Eagles’ viability should Hurts suffer an injury. If that were to happen, we’d see how long a leash the veteran received if his play continued, as we’ve seen the past two weeks.


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Despite Marcus Mariota’s preseason struggles, Eagles HC Nick Sirianni isn’t open to QB2 competition

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