Q. If you go back to last year’s game against Minnesota, such a different coordinator. How much can you look at that because it’s so much different? (John McMullen)
BRIAN JOHNSON: It’s a completely different operation in terms of their scheme. Some of the personnel is still there, obviously, but when you talk about our game from Week 2 last year, I think it’s a completely different scheme than obviously what we’ll be facing on Thursday night.
Q. When you had a chance to look at the tape, what were your overall impressions of how calling the game went and the overall offense? (E.J. Smith)
BRIAN JOHNSON: I mean, it was too sloppy. From just the standpoint of — I think for me, the thing that was really most frustrating is we had an opportunity up 16-0 with the ball in the minus territory, three possessions in a row, and we couldn’t get much going.
Obviously, we’ve just got to continue to clean up those corrections, make those corrections, and put ourselves in a position to go out there and have some success.
Q. What have you focused most on trying to correct and clean up? (Michael Smith)
BRIAN JOHNSON: I think the biggest thing going into that game last week was all about our operation, and I thought we operated at a really clean level in terms of getting in and out, managing the different scenarios, and being able to adjust in the second half to what we needed to get done in order to move the ball a little bit.
But I think when you talk about just a 17-game season and continuing to find different ways and unique ways to get everybody involved and put guys in the best position possible so that they can go out there and perform at a high level.
Q. What went into the struggles to convert on third down? (E.J. Smith)
BRIAN JOHNSON: We played a great defense. Early on, I think we converted like a 3rd and 11 early on, and then there were a couple situations where we got in some really, really long yardage situations with a couple penalties and a sack.
So, I think that just goes into what we talked about in terms of the cleanliness that we play with, and keeping ourselves on schedule. We know we’re also a big 4th down team, as well, so for us, as we get to those conversion opportunities, we’ve got to do a great job of giving ourselves good yardage situations.
Q. Some of those 3rd down runs, especially on 3rd and long, was that more trying to catch them off guard? Was it weather? What went into those? (E.J. Smith)
BRIAN JOHNSON: Yeah, that’s something that we’ve done here for quite a while in terms of, without getting too specific, in terms of game planning.
I can think of a couple times, I think one of the plays that comes to mind last year is [QB] Jalen [Hurts]’s long run against Chicago.
You can catch guys sometimes in some unique fronts and be able to pop a run. Dealing with some of the weather that we were dealing with, as well, certainly played a factor.
Q. WR A.J. Brown talked about the curve balls in coverage, a lot of different looks. Did you get a sense for that during the game? (John McMullen)
BRIAN JOHNSON: We knew they would have some sort of wrinkles to their system and what they were doing. Obviously, it’s a very, very well-coached team. They do a fantastic job.
I think one of the things that they did a great job of was eliminating us from being able to make explosive plays down the field and really staying back in their coverage and making it sort of a dink-and-dunk type of operation where you’re just trying to keep the ball in play and keep it moving forward, and there wasn’t much opportunity to really get behind the defense just with the depth that they were playing.
Q. As far as the touches, Head Coach Nick Sirianni had mentioned you never want to come out of a game with RB D’Andre Swift getting two touches, TE Dallas Goedert didn’t get a reception. You kind of went through that in Detroit with WR DeVonta Smith last year. As the coordinator, do you have to sort of have that in the back of your mind, ‘I’ve got to get so and so a ball?’ (John McMullen)
BRIAN JOHNSON: Yeah, for sure. Like you said, that was something that really took place in game 1 last year with DeVonta where he ended up without a catch, but there were four or five times where the ball could or should have went his way.
We have to be really, really mindful of that and get all of our players involved.
I think that’s a scenario — Dallas obviously is a fantastic player, and we have to do a great job to try to find ways to get him the ball.
Q. I watched Bills QB Josh Allen last night get reckless and throw three picks. Does QB Jalen Hurts show maturity when he rolls out instead of trying to force something and just throws it out of bounds? (Merrill Reese)
BRIAN JOHNSON: Jalen is a very, very smart player. I think he has great instincts. He understands the game. He understands what it takes to win football games. A big part of that is us as an offense doing a great job of taking care of the football and not giving the ball away.
I think that’s something that has really stood the test of time in terms of the game of football is guys that are able to possess it and score touchdowns in the red zone, it’s generally a pretty good recipe for success offensively.
Q. Especially with so many things to clean up, what’s your approach to the short week with limited practice time? (E.J. Smith)
BRIAN JOHNSON: Nick [Sirianni] has set the schedule up in a way where we’re going to get a ton of walk-through reps, and fortunately for us we’ve got veteran guys that have played a lot of football and that have been through these Thursday short weeks.
I think the goal is just to embrace it. It is what it is, and we have to go out there and be ready to perform at a high level given the short week.
Q. You and QB Jalen Hurts have obviously been together for a long time, know each other well, been through a lot together, but this is your first rodeo of this kind together. How has the relationship, the dynamic, the chemistry evolved? I know it’s only one game of the regular season, but just continuing to grow together? (Michael Smith)
BRIAN JOHNSON: I think our communication in terms of adjustments was really, really good. I think you saw us come out in the second half and kind of put the ball in the air a little bit and we were able to kind of get it moving and get a couple first downs going.
But I think for me and Jalen, our relationship has always remained pretty consistent.
Q. For you personally, what are the biggest challenges on the short week? What makes it more difficult? (John McMullen)
BRIAN JOHNSON: Obviously just the time crunch. When we got back Monday, that was essentially like a Wednesday of game week.
There’s some prep work that obviously has to go into it prior to that week, but this is something that you deal with every single year, so Nick does a great job of organizing the structure in a way where we can get the work that we need to get done.
Q. A lot of coaches say that you sort of have to rely on what you do in the short week versus maybe a typical week. Do you find that being — in other words, you can’t — (John McMullen)
BRIAN JOHNSON: Absolutely, staples of your offense are a huge part of what you do and remaining true to your core. I think that’s always a recipe for success when there’s limited practice time.
I think that’s why you have training camp and you build certain things throughout the course of training camp that you feel really, really comfortable with, regardless of the opponent you’re playing, regardless of who’s out there, stuff that you can hang your hat on and feel like you can go out there and execute really well.
Q. It being your first regular season game that you called, was there a lesson that you walked away with or anything you feel like you specifically learned from? (E.J. Smith)
BRIAN JOHNSON: There are so many lessons to be learned from each individual experience that you have. Not only as a play caller and a coordinator, as a player, but there are so many lessons that you can take from a game like we had. Obviously, those lessons are much easier to learn after a win.
We’ll definitely take that and keep moving forward and continue to get better.
Q. Back to the touches of RB D’Andre Swift and TE Dallas Goedert for a second, what’s the balance between being mindful like you said and getting them the ball, but also flow of the game and realizing it just didn’t get there for one reason or another? (Michael Smith)
BRIAN JOHNSON: Yeah, for sure, understanding that it wasn’t intentional. There was some stuff designed if you go back and watch the tape that the ball very easily, based on the circumstance or based on the reaction of a defender, could have gone a couple different places.
But I think that’s the game of football. Fortunately for us we have some excellent skill position players who are all very deserving of a bunch of touches and can make game-changing plays when they get the ball in their hand.
It’s up to us to really, really, like you said, just be mindful of that and try to get those guys going within the flow of the game.
Q. Planning against Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick, does that help you against Vikings Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores because of their history at all? (John McMullen)
BRIAN JOHNSON: There are definitely some similarities. But I think in terms of just personality and how guys call games individually, there are some differences, but in terms of just the tree of the defense of the origin and the roots of it, there are some similarities. For us, I think that’s one of the beautiful things about this league is that you get guys who kind of grow up together or grow up under a certain tree and build that foundation of a certain way that they do things, and you get to see it evolve into their own personalities.
Coach Flores is a guy that I have a ton of respect for, a tremendous amount of respect for, has done some wonderful things in this league, and I know our team is excited to get ready to go out there and play and open up at home on Thursday night.