Q. Coach Sirianni is always talking about connecting and I know you had good relationships with the receivers, with the tight ends, with the other guys on offense as the quarterbacks coach. How much kind of benefit to you is that now that you’ve got relationships throughout the building and the offense (Reuben Frank)?
BRIAN JOHNSON: Yeah, I think it’s huge. Nick obviously always talks — that’s one of our main core values is the ability to connect with each other. This being my third year here and my first year spending a lot of time in that protection meeting with the O-line and being out on the field with the guys at practice, I think we have been able to — we’ve been able to build a really, really great rapport and a great connection, and it’s been a seamless transition to this point.
Q. When you’re on the practice field, do you have a plan where you’re going to spend your time (Dave Zangaro)?
BRIAN JOHNSON: I think you’re very, very intentional about connecting and having meaningful conversations, so I don’t think it’s one where I meticulously plan out [for example] “I’m spending the day with the tight ends.” I think having those connections be really organic is what makes them meaningful. For example, today I spent some time in the O-line meeting room and hung out with those guys a little bit today.
I think being able to delegate your time and have the appropriate time on task with each position, make sure that things are getting covered that you need to get covered, and you’re building those relationships throughout the building.
Q. Taking over the play calling is going to be a big part of this for you. You’ve done it at the college level. What are some of the two or three traits that most encapsulate what you have to do to be a successful play caller (John McMullen)?
BRIAN JOHNSON: Yeah, I think a lot of play calling obviously is playing throughout the course of the week, so I think just the way you structure your week to put yourself and put the players in the best position to do what they do well, but when you talk about in-game, I think it becomes a little bit of art and science, right. It’s a little bit of a feel of feeling when to call certain things and being able to hunt and find match-ups that you like throughout the course of the game.
That ability to have that feel, that ability to adjust quickly is something that really shows up compared to the college game because you don’t get as many plays.
Your adjustments have to come fairly rapidly in terms of after the first, after the second series to see how teams are playing you, and you’ve got to be ready to roll with those adjustments and not be a play behind.
Q. This is our first time talking to you since you guys got RB D’Andre Swift as well as RB Rashaad Penny. How do you see them fitting into your version of the offense (Chris Franklin)?
BRIAN JOHNSON: Well, both of those guys, both Rashaad and D’Andre have a very unique skill set. They’re different types of backs. I think one of the things it does is it allows us to be very, very flexible with how we want to deploy them, and I think the sign of a good staff and how you want to operate is you want to give your guys the best opportunity to do what they do well and not fitting a square peg into a round hole.
Cutting out pieces of the offense that are unique to their skill set and what they do well and finding ways to utilize it and highlight it within the normal flow of the game.
Q. What made you want to stay here as opposed to going somewhere else this season (Zach Berman)?
BRIAN JOHNSON: Well, the one thing that I can say about that is this is an unbelievable organization. Obviously I haven’t been to a bunch of different places. I don’t have a ton of experience in this league. But at the end of the day when you’re in this profession, I think people matter, and it’s still a relationship business, and it’s still about people. I can’t say enough great things about the people in this building, starting at the top with Mr. Lurie all the way down to [the custodial staff].
I think those relationships and the type of camaraderie that the players have, that the staff has, it’s something that’s really special and I’m very eager to be a part of that.
Q. How will your relationship or your time spent with QB Jalen Hurts change (Jeff McLane)?
I think we have a great quarterbacks coach in Alex Tanney, and he has that room. I’ll still be in there from time to time, but I think the relationship that Jalen and I have won’t change in terms of how we get ready to approach the game. Our relationship off the field won’t change. Me being in this position now will just allow us to even go deeper in our relationship and have that camaraderie in terms of “what do you like, this is how we’re going to attack” and just being able to have those conversations to be ready to make adjustments as we need to.
Q. What’s the biggest thing you learned from Shane about play calling on game day (Reuben Frank)?
BRIAN JOHNSON: I think Shane is obviously a great play caller. I think we see the game very, very similar in terms of how to attack defense, what pops in our brain versus structure. There were many times throughout the course of the game where we were on the same page of what we needed to get to.
But I think Shane had a great demeanor. He was very, very meticulous in his weekly routine of what he needed to see in order to get himself ready to call the game, how he studied the call sheet.
Some of the best playcallers that I’ve been around are guys who have that great feel. You have these big call sheets, but you can just kind of feel the flow of the game of what the game needs at that certain point, and you’re able to make those adjustments quickly.
Q. Being in the building every day with defensive coordinator Sean Desai, how do you he’ll make you a better coach (Josh Tolentino)?
BRIAN JOHNSON: I always say this, that coaches are just grown-up players. We ask our players all the time, we talk about iron sharpening iron, and Lane Johnson having to go against Haason Reddick and Brandon Graham having to go against Jordan Mailata. It’s no different with the staff. I think Coach Sirianni does a great job of — in our staff meetings of doing that and clinicking each other and bouncing ideas off of each other and ways to attack certain offenses, ways to attack certain defenses.
I’m really happy for Sean. In the short time that I’ve spent with him, he’s incredibly bright. He’s incredibly detailed, and I’m excited for his opportunity, as well.
Q. Given your long history with Jalen, what kind of thoughts and memories ran through you when he got the contract extension recently (Tim McManus)?
BRIAN JOHNSON: I was extremely happy for him. He’s worked extremely hard throughout his entire football life, and I think Mr. Lurie, I think Howie, I think all these guys mentioned this, that it’s not the end of a story, it’s just the beginning of his journey.
For him, like he said, nothing is going to change but the weather. It’s about now, now that all that stuff is behind us, it’s about how do we continue to make ourselves better, become a better coach, become a better player, become a better offense. We’re just uniquely — just trying to find ways to do that and do it in a consistent manner where we’ve made people proud.
Q. How much better do you see Jalen getting, especially going back to your relationship, how well you’ve known him (Martin Frank)?
BRIAN JOHNSON: Yeah, I’ll never — I said this plenty of times to him. He said it himself. We’ll never put a ceiling on what he can accomplish. One of the messages that we spoke about to the offense was yeah, there’s no ceiling, but let’s have an extremely high floor, too, and have a level of play that’s really consistent at a high level, and then his talent can take over.
I think with Jalen, nothing that he ever does will surprise me. He works like a madman. He’s very, very diligent. He’s very intentional about what he wants, and that shows on a daily basis in how he operates.
Q. You mentioned Alex Tanney a little bit earlier. What does he bring to your former position (Dave Zangaro)?
BRIAN JOHNSON: Well, I think Alex has played in this league for a really long time. I think everybody has unique experiences that help them get to the point that they are. Not only for Jalen but even for the rest of the room, for Ian [Book] and for Marcus [Mariota] and for Tanner [McKee]. All of those guys will be able to utilize Alex in a way that will help them get better.
Alex is a very bright coach. He’s a superstar. I’m excited to watch his career take off, and there’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll do great.
Q. What do you find to be the biggest change in your sort of day-to-day life as a coach (Bo Wulf)?
BRIAN JOHNSON: Yeah, you know, the way we’ve done it, there hasn’t been much change other than some responsibilities in terms of like scripting and stuff like that and presenting, but I think Coach Sirianni has the organization and the program set up in a way to where he challenges coaches to improve as much as players, and I think when you have that mindset as a coach of how can I continually get better, do I have a growth mindset, am I finding ways every single year to do something just a little bit better, I think that collectively makes us a better staff.
Q. Nick has said in the past that this is the Eagles offense no matter who’s calling the plays. How are you going to put your stamp on it that’s unique to you, or is this going to look the way it did under Shane (Zach Berman)?
BRIAN JOHNSON: Well, I think the beauty of football, and we talked about this with the offense, is that each team has a one-year lifespan. I think one of the things that’s important is that you have to continually evolve each and every year. We obviously had a lot of success on offense last year, but we also lost some pieces. That’s the challenge of it is to find new pieces to integrate them in and to find ways to continually improve.
So I think that’s the beauty and that’s the challenge of — you can’t remain the same, so you’re going to have to find ways to tweak now the base and the core of our offense here. I’m sure it’ll always be that way as long as Coach Sirianni is around. He’s very, very involved. He’s a great offensive mind, as well.
I think but us as a staff are just trying to find new ways to challenge ourselves, to challenge our players to become a little bit better, to find maybe a better way to do something than we did last year. I think that’s where the improvement is.
Q. Your background before you came here was under former Florida head coach Dan Mullen and in that offense. Are there influences in terms of that offense and what the Eagles do and the way you call games, or is it independent of that (Zach Berman)?
BRIAN JOHNSON: Yeah, I think you’ve seen our offense kind of evolve over the first two years here. I think one of the things is you have to be well-versed in many different schemes. You have to be well-versed in many different types of quarterbacks.
You do what your players do well. I think the challenge for us is to build an offense to where we’re making defenses cover the entire length and the entire width of the field and be able to play on our terms.