Q. Go back in time a little, 2003, Donovan McNabb’s start was really similar to QB Carson Wentz’s start this year, and then you went off and won nine straight games, went to the NFC Championship game. What do you remember about the way Donovan kind of worked out of that? It was his worst start of his career? He was in his fifth year like Carson, and what lessons maybe can you guys take from that and maybe apply to Carson? (Reuben Frank)
DUCE STALEY: You went way back in time. That’s really old school there. Brought me back to some of my memories.
But just some of the things that we teach every day, some of the things that [head coach] Doug [Pederson] stresses, myself, I stress it, and really taking it one day at a time. Taking it one day at a tame, making sure as a team, not just talking about Carson, as a team we have to go back, make our corrections and making sure we are dotting all our i’s and crossing all our T’s and making sure we are doing the little things right.
Q. RB Miles Sanders, his playing time the first two games he’s been back, about 75, 80 percent, do you think that’s sustainable, or do you want more production out of your No. 2 and 3 guys? (John McMullen)
DUCE STALEY: I think that’s sustainable. There’s a reason why he’s 1. He has to go out there and we depend on him, he’s our guy, he has to go out there and he has to play, and sometimes it’s going to be like that. If you have a playmaker like Miles, you want him on the field all the time, but also [RB] Corey [Clement] and [RB] Boston [Scott], those guys know they can be plugged in at any moment. Going out there playing 80, 90 percent of whatever, that’s what we expect, and that’s what I expect out of him also, and I believe he expects that.
Q. How involved are you in the play calls for QB Jalen Hurts, he’s been involved in the run game but how much input do you have there and how much creativity do you add to those play calls and what do you like about his game? (Mike Kaye)
DUCE STALEY: We’re all involved. We all have our hand on the game plan. Any time you have a dynamic player like him and we can squeeze him in for a couple plays, we all get creative and we all try to go cook up something nice. Of course, you have to go back to his film and try to see what he did well and try to incorporate it with your team.
Q. One thing we have been talking to head coach Doug Pederson about this week is sort of the screen game not being where it had been last year and some of the struggles there. What do you see there and what do you need to fix? Are you giving things away? What’s missing from the screen game? (Bo Wulf)
DUCE STALEY: It starts with us coaches, that’s where I’ll start first. As a group, coaches, we have to do better, and I am starting with myself. I have to do better. Make sure I’m scouting better and make sure I’m going back and looking at the last three weeks, looking at those teams seeing if I can pick up on any calls, any little things that are different that they are doing, I’ve got to go study and make sure that we take care of that. And then we have to go out there and do the little things once again, that’s what it’s about, making sure you detail your work. As running backs, we have to detail our work in order for us to be better in the screen game. Around here for a long period of time, the screen game was in the Top-10, Top-5 for a long period of time, so we got to get back to that.
Q. Expanding on that, you talked about going back and looking, are you talking about other teams and what they are doing against you, or are you talking about your guys’ tendencies for other teams to sniff out on screens? (Les Bowen)
DUCE STALEY: I think it’s a little bit of both, and I’ll start with ourselves. We have to make sure we are not giving it away from eyes to depth, alignment, certain things like that. So you check there first. Then when you go back and study the last three weeks because we haven’t had any success, you go back and see what the defense is doing and then you try to counter.
Q. Just want to ask you about RB Boston Scott and RB Corey Clement, you mentioned them, they haven’t played a lot of snaps. When they have played, they don’t seem to be that effective. How difficult is it to keep them sharp and to get them to flash when they get into a game? (Ed Kracz)
DUCE STALEY: You have to remember, this is their job, and they know that. So keeping them sharp, keeping them focused on the details and the little things is their job and what they have to do. So when they do get an opportunity, they do get a chance to go in there and make a play, they have to. I love where they are because they are hungry. They are excited. They want to be out there making plays. So while Miles is out there doing what he does and he comes off, no matter if he comes off for two or three plays in a row or no matter if he comes off for one, the guy that’s going in the game has a job to do and that’s his job.
Q. Why did you guys have RB Devonta Freeman in a few weeks ago and what came of that visit? (Jeff McLane)
DUCE STALEY: We didn’t.
Q. There was a report that you planned on having him in. Then why didn’t you end up having him in? (Jeff McLane)
DUCE STALEY: I want to say he signed with the Giants maybe. Didn’t he sign with them?
Q. He did, but there was a report before then that you guys were going to bring him in, so just wondering. (Jeff McLane)
DUCE STALEY: We never got to that. We never — and just to that point, remember, we are always looking for talent and we are always looking for anybody out there that can help, no matter what the position, you can bring them in for a workout and see if he can help your team. That’s what this is about.
Q. You mentioned a couple times even before the season that you think Miles can handle this big workload. How do you know that, especially about a young player when they have never done it before in the NFL? (Dave Zangaro)
DUCE STALEY: You don’t know it. You’ve got to put them out there. Of course, looking back to last year, you see some of the numbers as far as how long he was in the game, how many plays. You take that and you try to add on to it, and that’s what we’re doing here now. That’s what it’s about being in the NFL and being a featured back. If you want to be the featured back in the NFL, you have to go out there and you are going to play a lot of plays. You’ve got to be — of course we all know you’ve got to be in condition and you’ve got to make sure you know what you’re doing, but if you want to be called a featured back, you have to go out there and you’ve got to play most of the game.
Q. I wanted to ask you more generally about the art of the screen game, what are the two or three top keys to a successful screen game in your opinion? (Tim McManus)
DUCE STALEY: So you’ve got to go back and when you’re breaking down the defense, and I’m not going to get into all that, but certain things as coaches that we look for and it starts with the rush of course. Then you also got to see what they are doing with their linebackers. If you go back and watch the game for the last two weeks, you will see their defensive end kind of widen and try to hit Miles in the backfield before he got started. So that tells you right there, coming into that game, they had a plan to try to take Miles away from route running. Well, if they are doing that already, they are keying on him. So certain things, you’ve got to look for and you’ve got to continue to look for to try to help you understand how they are playing the back and how they will play the screen.
Q. I’m just curious, how is Miles conditioning right now and how have the injuries that he’s had in training camp and with the glute this week, how have they impacted that? (E.J. Smith)
DUCE STALEY: I mean, when you look back, of course we all know he didn’t have a camp, but that’s an excuse and I told him that. And in our room, we don’t have excuses. We grab the bull by the horns, and we ride. We understand coming out of camp, you didn’t get a lot of plays, okay, great. So now you’ve got to pick it up and get back to where you were last year and that’s what we want out of him. As a group, not just him, everybody in that room. And we also condition as a group. You’ve got to look at it this way, also, for you guys, not having a camp and being able to come out the second game versus the Rams and play as long as he did and then come out against Cincinnati and play over 90 plays, of course he’s going to be a little fatigued and he’s going to be a little tired, but that’s a part of it.
Q. Curious about the way you’re talking about Miles. This is our third time speaking with you this season, and you haven’t been afraid to put a lot on Miles’ shoulders, and it seems these past few years, you haven’t really done that with a running back. Is it because you’ve noticed something special about Miles? Is it because his role on the team? How would you characterize that? (Zach Berman)
DUCE STALEY: I think that he can handle it. I’ll start there. I wouldn’t put a lot on someone’s plate if I didn’t think they could handle it. So maybe if you go back and some of the past interviews I had and you’re right, I never really talked in-depth about a guy or what I’m doing as far as putting ‘this’ on his shoulders or ‘that’ on his shoulders. But I think that Miles can handle it. I think Boston can handle it. I think Corey can handle it. But right now, talking about Miles and being in that role, the starter role and playing a lot of plays, you’ve got to be able to do a lot of things. You’ve got to be able to go be effective in the pass game and of course be effective in the run game and you’ve got to be able to pick up blitzes. So it’s a lot of things on his plate, not just him but whoever is out there but of course we are talking about Miles because the last couple games he’s been out there the most.