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Opponents on Steelers

Eagles are talking about Tomlin, Pickett

The Steelers will visit their neighbors to the east on Sunday when they go on the road to take on the Philadelphia Eagles in an intrastate rivalry.

The Eagles go into the game with a 6-0 record and coming off their bye week, while the Steelers are 2-5 and looking to get in the win column before their bye week.

Eagles Coach Nick Sirianni, who has strong family ties to Western Pennsylvania, grew up a Steelers fan, as well as a Pirates and Penguins fan, with memories of watching the black and gold some of his best ones.

"One of the really cool memories that I have with my dad is, my dad and my brothers who were all Steeler fans watching that 2005 Super Bowl together as a family," recalled Sirianni. "I came home in a snowstorm to watch that game with my dad and my brothers."

Sirianni and the Eagles weighed in more on the game, including talking about quarterback Kenny Pickett, safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and Coach Mike Tomlin.

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Coach Nick Sirianni on quarterback Kenny Pickett:
"We do our draft homework on everybody. I thought very highly of him coming out. I saw he was a guy that could go through reads very, very fast. Find the guy that he's supposed to go to. Was an accurate thrower. Was deceptive with his feet. Maybe one of the coolest plays I've seen in college football, when he pretended to slide and then kept going in that ACC Championship Game. But now they got the Kenny Pickett rule in. You see signs of that in his game. He's highly talented and he did some things at Pittsburgh that nobody has done since Dan Marino and that's pretty darn impressive to me. And so, you're seeing the signs that he can be a really good quarterback in this league."

Sirianni on his connection to Western Pennsylvania:
"When your mom grew up in Natrona Heights and your dad grew up in western Pennsylvania as well, in Kane, Pennsylvania, which is a little closer to where I grew up in Jamestown, New York. You spend a lot of weekends at Grandma's house. One of our favorite things to do after the family reunion or something like that was a go to a Pirates game. I definitely grew up a Pirates, Penguins, Steelers fan. Have some great memories of that. A lot of Pirates memories, the most are Pirates memories because my dad was a football coach, so we didn't get to go to Steelers games or anything like that.

"One of the really cool memories that I have with my dad is, my dad and my brothers who were all Steeler fans watching that 2005 Super Bowl together as a family. I remember I was coaching at the time, and I came home. I wasn't in the NFL yet. I came home in a snowstorm. I was coaching at Mount Union at the time. I came home in a snowstorm to watch that game with my dad and my brothers.

"I love the City of Pittsburgh, it's a great city. Just spent so much time there and again, my brother being there, some holidays as well still to this day. So can't say enough good things about the people of Pittsburgh, the City of Pittsburgh."

Quarterback Jalen Hurts on Minkah Fitzpatrick:
"Thirty-nine is a guy you know where he is on the field. I have a lot of respect for him, knowing him personally, knowing the type of man he is, the character he has and the work he puts in. I remember a lot of nights where it was Saturday night, Friday night and everybody is out and I think I am the only one going to the weight room, to the field to do extra work, but Minkah was there too. He plays defensive back, and he would go out there and run routes for me. That is how versatile he was. A lot of respect for Minkah. He has been making big-time plays since I have known him."

Sirianni on the sports vibe in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh:
"The City of Philadelphia, the City of Pittsburgh, they just love their sports teams. This city is unbelievable with the support of sports teams. I think back at my time at IUP and when I was at IUP it was cool. It was very interesting because half the students and half the coaches were Pittsburgh fans, and half the students and coaches were Philadelphia fans. It always made for good banter back and forth from our players from Western Pennsylvania to the Eastern Pennsylvania kids and vice versa."

Sirianni on the Steelers-Eagles intrastate rivalry:
"The NFC East the rivalries are kind of like the AFC North. They mean something and it's cool to be in that in-state rivalry as well. I'm always honored to be a part of things like this.

"I've got so much respect for Coach (Mike) Tomlin. It's an honor to go up against him. What a great football coach. There's so many reasons why I think he's a great football coach. His teams are fundamentally sound, he always gets the best out of his guys. He develops guys. He's never had a losing season. There's just so many things to admire about him and his football teams and so I'm honored to be able to go against a coach like him in a rivalry like this."

Hurts on what he expects from the Steelers defense and how dangerous they can be:
"They're a great football team. Well coached. I've got a lot of respect for Coach Mike T(omlin). Lot of respect for him. I think with a team like this, they play hard. They're a really good football team and play really well on defense. I think for us we just have to be prepared for them giving us a lot of different looks. They've shown a lot of different things. We just have to be prepared for them and be able to execute."

Sirianni on Pickett:
"I was a big Kenny Pickett fan. I thought he was a really good football player. He did a lot of really good things. He had one of the best seasons since a guy named [Dan] Marino over there, which is darn impressive. I thought he was an accurate passer. I thought he was a quick decision maker. I thought he was a very good, underrated guy with his legs. He had one of the coolest plays that anyone has ever seen in that ACC Championship game when he pretended to slide, the guy stopped and then he went for a touchdown, so much so that they made a rule about it.

"I thought also he's very intelligent. As far as football intelligence, he was off the charts. I thought he was really good.

"Then getting into how he's playing and everything, you're just going to keep seeing him get better. I just think from everything I know about him, I think he'll continue to get better because I think he has a lot of tools."

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