Q. WR DeVonta Smith is out here working on the JUGS machine. What’s the plan for him moving forward as he works on the knee? (Mike Kaye)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, just being in the training room working to attack the training room and get himself healthy and just be mentally in it when he’s out. So, the meetings are huge for him, just to stay mentally sharp, and he is very mentally sharp.
He’s really into the meetings, really into practice of watching it while he’s not able to participate.
Q. Now that it looks like TE Zach Ertz is going to be here, how much more involved will he be in the game planning going forward in practice and even in the games? (Ed Kracz)
NICK SIRIANNI: You know, game planning we’re not even close to thinking about that yet. We’re repping a set of plays that we think is good for our group, and you can see as you watch practice, we throw the ball to the tight ends quite a bit, right in between those — you’re watching it, you see where we’re kind of throwing it to them.
Just seeing, again, what [TE] Zach [Ertz] can do and what all the tight ends can do, and really, really impressed with Zach and his ability — he’s been such a productive player in this league for so long, and you see it on game tape from afar, right? But then when you get to be able to go to practice and see in meetings, he’s just a very instinctual player and very smart football player.
We want to use those strengths that he has right there to be able to find holes in the defense because he does have this — he just has a supreme feel that is very typical among good players.
Q. RB Boston Scott has been very involved in your offense so far. How do you think his skill set fits what you want to do and what have your impressions of him been? (Eliot Shorr-Parks)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, [RB] Boston [Scott] I think is a great leader and really good for the running back room. I think he’s highly respected amongst his teammates. Love that he knows what to do at all times.
And yeah, he shows ability in the backfield, in the run game, and in the pass game, whether that’s protecting or splitting out wide.
Guys that are multiple with what they can do and not just a one-trick pony to say, they’re hard to defend. So I’m glad we have Boston because he seems like he can do a lot.
Q. Nick, what’s your experience with the use of analytics in terms of player evaluation, how you run your offense and also on game days? And how much do you plan to use it? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, that’s a great question, Jeff. I think it’s just a piece of the puzzle, right? You study — like when you’re evaluating, I’ll talk about more so the game planning of a team. You game plan a team, there’s a lot of thought process that goes into that. It’s you’re watching that 1st and 2nd down cut-up, you’re watching that 3rd down cut-up, you’re watching what’s hit on that defensive coordinator throughout the past four years.
So, you’re putting in a lot of time studying tape, and then there’s these numbers that you have on that that can either back up what you – you look at those – you study the tape first, then you get this analytic piece of it and you’re like, ‘What do the numbers say? Oh, that’s exactly what I was seeing.’ And sometimes it’s, ‘Hey, I didn’t see exactly that. Let me go back and rewatch that and see if those numbers are telling the truth.’ So, when you’re game planning an opponent, it helps you out tremendously. But again, it’s just a piece of the puzzle.
I think a wise man avoids all extremes. You don’t want to be like, ‘I’m just putting all my eggs in this basket or just putting all my eggs in this basket.’ You use all the pieces available to you to help put your team in the best position.
And then as far as – I think you asked about game day. Again, that’s the same thing. You don’t – we use that. That’s great information to help us be able to call the game. We have a plan for 3rd down. ‘Hey, we want to run this and this and this and this, in this order.’
But that can change, right, based off of what the defense is doing, and the same thing with analytics. ‘Hey, this is what the charts are saying, to do this and this and this.’ But there’s a human feel to it, as well.
So, you want to, again, be – you want to avoid the extremes but use the information that’s given to you because it’s valuable information that can help you win and lose football games.
Q. Will you have one coach or staffer designated as the guy that will help feed you that information and do you know who that is yet? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: We do. We’ll have somebody feeding me that information. And it’s a group effort. There are a couple guys that are involved in that to help me out with that. And so yeah, again, group effort.
Q. When the pads go on, we see there’s always things get chippy, there’s fights. What’s your philosophy? I mean, do you tell them no fighting? Do you kind of accept it as part of the deal? What’s your message to them about that? (Reuben Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: You know, we want to – this whole thing about connecting, right? That’s a big piece. Again, the best teams that I’ve been around are the tightest teams.
Now, does that mean that like I haven’t fought – I’m tight with my brothers. That doesn’t mean I haven’t gotten in fights with them. I’d rather them not fight, and they know that, but we’ll handle that as it comes.
Because the fighting, too, there is a part of – it’s going to get chippy out there when the pads come on. We all know that. But, you also have to – in this game, you have to keep your cool to play the next play, right? And you can’t do things that hurt your team.
Fighting gets you penalties. Fighting, right, gets you to think about the fight rather than the play, right, which is what we’ve got to focus on.
Again, just like practice is, it’s a great preparation for the game. So, if there is a fight, it’s a great teaching moment, but we’d rather not have that happen and have that hard competition still.
But things happen at practice, and we’ll handle them as they go.
Q. Kind of meshing Jeff’s question with analytics and Ed talking about TE Zach Ertz, different personnel groupings, have you found sort of a default setting throughout analytics where one personnel grouping is more successful than the other? Or is it typically about the players? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think it’s about the players. That’s a great question, because there is some times that it comes back – also, in analytics you want to know what the sample size you’re working with too is, right? You get one game of analytics and it says this team is not good – or this team is really good against 12 personnel. Well, who were those guys in 12 personnel that they were playing against the last time, right?
So, you’ve got to think it’s always, always, always, always about the players first. That’s regardless of – you know, when we talk about game planning – that’s regardless of whether you see a great play on tape or the analytics tell you something. It’s still – I guess the old saying goes, ‘It’s about the Jimmys and Joes not the Xs and Os.”
It still comes down to that player. That was taught to me a very long time ago by [Former University of Mount Union Head Coach] Larry Kehres, my college coach. It comes down to that player. The analytics may say something, the tape may say something, but if they can’t cover Zach Ertz, then we’re going to Zach Ertz regardless of what it says, right?
Again, we use all the information given to us, but first things first, it comes down to the players.
Q. With WR DeVonta Smith down, there’s opportunity for some of these wide receivers? Who is a receiver or two that’s stood out to you so far in camp? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: I’ve been very pleased with the entire group. I think [passing game coordinator] Kevin Patullo keeps coming up to me and he keeps saying, ‘We didn’t have this speed in Indy.’ He’s like, ‘And we sure as heck didn’t have it right away.’ We’re seeing that we’ve got some guys that can really run, so I’m really excited about that.
You saw [WR] Quez [Watkins] yesterday go deep and [QB] Jalen [Hurts] did a great job of finding him, threw a perfect ball out there. So really excited about the group as a whole because I really feel like [Eagles executive vice president/general manager] Howie [Roseman] and has staff have done such a good job of getting players in here that we can work with and develop.
So again, I mentioned Quez and [WR] John Hightower looks really fast, too, out there, but I’m really pleased with the group as a whole.
Q. What’s the thinking with DeVonta Smith and the preseason? Are you expecting him to play preseason games at all? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, again, we’re not putting a timetable on any injuries. We just want him to attack his rehab, and get ready as soon as he can.
We want him to have as many reps as he possibly can. This is a different game. NFL and college football are different games, so we want him to get as many reps as he can and we’ll play that day by day, week by week.
Q. What’s your perspective with the preseason? I know it’s still a week away, but this is our first exposure to you. Are you going to try to get more guys in there? Are you more conservative when it comes to the preseason? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, it’s case by case. It’s case by case, and we’ll talk through every guy and what their experience is. And it’s just like, you don’t treat every player the same. And it is, it’s truly case by case, and what we want to show and what we don’t want to show, those are discussions that we’ve had.
We’ve had our game plan for our preseason done, because my philosophy is, hey, let’s get the scripting done, we can always adjust it. Let’s get the game plans done for the preseason. We can always adjust it. So that when we’re here with the players, we’re not up all night thinking about what we’re going to run against the Steelers or the Patriots or the Jets.
We’re thinking about our sole focus is how do we get our players better. That’s all that matters, is how we get those players better.
Again, we’ll be adjusting those game plans and talk through all that, but really every day we’re just focused on how we’re getting our guys better.
Q. If you design an offense around Jalen Hurts, how much do you take stuff you did with Indy in your career and also maybe concepts he was comfortable with in college and even suggestions from him? (John Clark)
NICK SIRIANNI: With quarterbacks particularly, I always want to hear what they’re comfortable with. We always want to hear that, because it doesn’t matter what play I like. It doesn’t matter what play [Eagles offensive coordinator] Shane [Steichen] likes or Kevin [Patullo] or [Eagles quarterbacks coach] Brian [Johnson]. It doesn’t matter what plays we like.
It’s are our quarterbacks comfortable operating the play because they’re the ones doing it. It’s a combination of all those things you said.
Yes, hey, here’s a group of plays we ran at Indy, for instance. Take a look at them, let’s look at them, let’s get some reps at them. What have you done, and we saw you run this play, do you like that, okay. Well, here’s one that maybe we ran when I was in San Diego or Kansas City. So yes, you’re finding what feels good to him and what feels good to the quarterback room and you’re trying to get reps of that.
There’s a lot of carryover. There’s a lot of carryover from teams. There’s a lot of teams running similar plays to each other. So again, it’s a process to figure it out, and the practice, there’s one thing I like in the meeting room and then coming out and executing it. A lot of that is to be determined, as well, how we practice on the field.
Q. What are you seeing from QB Joe Flacco both in helping out Jalen Hurts and also on the field and everything? How has he been doing? (Martin Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: You know, when we’re in coaches’ meetings I think the pretty common — I’ll try to give you some insight of when we’re in a coaches’ meeting. A pretty common term when we’re talking about Joe is, ‘Man, he’s played a lot of football.’ And it shows. That’s why we say it. That’s not — it’s just not a blank statement that we’re making because he has played a lot of football.
But it is, it shows that — I think about this play that he had the other day. We had a situation that happened at the beginning, there was a motion, we had to freeze everybody because two guys were in motion at once, great situational football by our team, smart football IQ. He stopped it, he put the guy back in motion, the guy came off the edge on the right edge, he stepped up in the pocket with excellent fundamentals and ball security and then he threw the ball on the sideline to [TE] Tyree Jackson over here, perfect throw, put it out in front of him.
So there was all these things like — that was like, ‘Man, this guy has played a lot of football,’ and I think that’s a really good compliment we can give a guy because that’s saying in the coaches’ meeting, that’s saying, ‘This guy is really smart. This guy knows what he’s doing.’
I think you just see that. He has a good feel for the offense. He’s still getting there because it’s a new offense and new terminology for him, but he’s got a good feel where [running] backs are. He’s just got some innate abilities that come with veteran players. So that’s what I see a lot with him.
And what he provides in the meeting room is experience. That’s just another voice of experience to talk through. Because we, again, I think I’ve said this before, we always — any play you want to tell the guys, the quarterbacks particularly, ‘We like this play against this, we don’t necessarily love it against this.’
So Joe is able to give some insight, because he’s pretty much run all these plays, he’s been with a lot of different coordinators, a lot of different guys and he’s pretty much run all these plays, so he’s able to say, ‘Oh, I remember I hit this against the Jets in 2008 against cover three,’ and then we can all paint this visual picture in our head, of that happening. That’s just another rep that we get with that visualization.
Q. Who won yesterday’s practice? (Ed Kracz)
NICK SIRIANNI: Who won yesterday’s practice? You’re saying just in the win-loss record that I said I had earlier? You guys are going to hold me on that one [jokingly/laughter]. Defense won that one yesterday. I think it was like 27-24. It’s tough now because it’s not — we’re not tackling, right, and so some tap-offs are tackles sometimes and sometimes they aren’t, and so we’ve just got to make those hard decisions sometimes.
Q. What’s the overall tally then? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: The overall tally, good question, I don’t know exactly what it is. The one from yesterday is fresh on my mind. I don’t know what the overall tally is. I’ll have to ask [Eagles coaches assistant] Tyler [Scudder] my assistant out there today.
Q. You’ve known Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon for a while. Now that he’s been in his role here, what have you seen from him? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: Same passion. I was talking to my dad or another coach yesterday, I can’t remember who on the phone, and they asked about him, and I said, ‘He’s a good football coach. He knows the game really well.’ His energy is nonstop, right?
His ability to not only teach scheme and fundamentals, that’s a great combination and that’s what you’re looking for for every coach. Do they know how to get a player better fundamentally and do they know how to put their players in good positions scheme-wise, and that’s what I’ve always valued in Jonathan.
So I think he’s doing a great job, and it’s no surprise, I mean, he’s on a three-year interview with me. I knew what I was getting. I knew what I signed up for when we hired Jonathan.
Q. Will you have pads on today and will you tackle at any point during camp? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, that’s a constant talk. We talked about that this morning. We’re not going to tackle today, but it’s a constant talk about, ‘Hey, should we tackle this period?’ We are undecided on that right now.
The speed when we have pads on, the players know exactly when we have pads on. That was one of our first meetings. Here is what it looks like when we’re in a walk-through and this is the expectations of you. We do it just like we would do a play.
The expectations so everybody knows, here is what we want you to do when it’s jog-through, here’s what we want you to do when it’s tap-off. Here is what we want you to do when it’s thud, here is what we want you to do when it’s full pads.
That doesn’t say go to the ground, but the players know what we want and require when it’s full pads.
Q. When you’re evaluating a player going through a position change, like TE Tyree Jackson who doesn’t have any experience like a TE Richard Rodgers or TE Caleb Wilson at the position, how much do you weigh potential on that grading curve with what you know the other guys can do and how comfortable they are in that position? (Mike Kaye)
NICK SIRIANNI: You know, I’m going to try to answer as best I can. Hopefully I answer the question. I think a lot of that — yes, there is a lot of potential, but a lot of that, like Tyree has made a lot of plays out there already, and you can see his development. Great — he had a route in the first two days. He didn’t like really stick the route hard and break to the corner. Then yesterday he ran that one that [QB] Joe [Flacco] threw over the middle on him and he struck his foot in the ground and really separated from the defensive back.
So you see that development really a tribute to Tyree just learning and then his position coach, [Eagles tight ends coach] Jason [Michael] and Shane, getting him to do that.
But we’re going to be able to see a lot of that today. It’s a physical game and we get to see a lot of that with his pads on today.