Howie Roseman and Nick Sirianni
Q. At the running back position, what’s the plan to rotate those guys in training camp, and how much opportunity do they have to earn roles this summer? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: Everybody has an opportunity to earn roles, and looking forward to watching that position group battle because there’s a lot of good options there. They’ll rotate throughout. You’re going to see [RB] Boston [Scott] in with the ones; you’re going to see [RB] Kenny [Gainwell] with the ones; you’re going to see [RB Rashaad] Penny in with the ones; you’re going to see [RB] D’Andre [Swift] ; you’re going to see [RB] Trey Sermon in with the ones; you’re going to see him in with the twos and you’re going to see him in with the threes.
So, there’s no set with it because of the way — they just all need to get reps, and we don’t care where those are happening. They all need to get reps and they all will get reps with different groups. I wouldn’t look too much into who’s with the ones, who’s with the twos, who’s with the threes, because they’ll all be mixing in to make sure they’re getting the reps
Q. What about right guard? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: We’re going to start with [C/G] Cam [Jurgens] right there, but that’s where we’ll start today and we’ll see how that plays out, and then we’ve got some good options there, as well. Looking forward to see how that battle plays itself out, as well, but Cam [Jurgens] will start out there today.
Q. Talk about the decision to sign T Dennis Kelly and where does he fit? (Ed Kracz)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think obviously we have experience with [T] Dennis [Kelly]. We drafted Dennis [Kelly] here in Philadelphia. We know what kind of person he is. We know what kind of work ethic we have, and we know what kind of player he is, just by watching his tape. Obviously, we followed his career for a long time starting in college at Purdue. We’re always looking for offensive line depth. We’re always looking for guys that can come in and have versatility and play a bunch of positions. For us it just made a lot of sense to bring him back, and excited that he’s here.
NICK SIRIANNI: Looking forward to him to add to our depth, and if he’s one of the best five, he’ll play.
Q. Looking at the training camp schedule this summer, you have fewer back-to-back days where you practice. What went into that? Obviously last year you pared things down — (Reuben Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: Just a little bit the way — we’re still tweaking some things on that, as well, but that’s a little bit fluid, the schedule. I mean, there could be a time where we add one in there. But it was really the way the preseason games fell at the end of the week is just why they kind of ended up that way.
Q. First time there’s been sort of significant change on your coaching staff; how is that process going, and what can you tell us about that sort of added layer with Senior Defensive Assistant Matt Patricia and Senior Offensive Assistant Marcus Brady as senior assistants? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: We think it’s going really well. Offensively it’s a lot simpler. We’re running the same offense we’ve been running for the last two years. It’s just a different guy that’s calling the plays. When you look at how we game plan and all those different things, the only guy that’s not in that room game planning that was last year is [former Eagles Offensive Coordinator and current Colts Head Coach] Shane [Steichen]. But like I said, when we game plan, first everything has to come through me to game plan, right, first and foremost. Then from there it’s [Passing Game Coordinator/Associate Head Coach] Kevin [Patullo] giving some ideas; it was Shane [Steichen] giving some ideas; it was [Offensive Coordinator] Brian [Johnson] giving some ideas; it was [Quarterbacks Coach] Alex Tanney giving some ideas. So really all that you’ve done is exchange [Senior Offensive Assistant] Marcus Brady and Shane [Steichen], and Marcus [Brady] was really there at the end of the year as it was.
Defense obviously is a little different, it’s just getting on the same page as far as all my expectations for how I want to handle different situations and different things, while also letting [Defensive Coordinator] Sean [Desai] — Sean is the defensive coordinator. That’s why we hired him, to do that job. But it’s just getting on the same page of the things that I do have expectations for as far as requirements for some different things for the defense of how we want some things to look and some situational things and otherwise. That’s just the reps, right. That’s just reps going through it, and reps for coaches don’t have to happen just on the field, they happen in the meeting room, and you can be a tireless worker in the meeting room and get on the same page that way.
As far as Marcus [Brady], as a senior assistant, again, with losing some guys on the staff, I think we felt that it could head that way last year, so we wanted to get guys in here that we knew were great coaches to have in the pipeline, and that’s the same thing in case we lost a guy, and Marcus [Brady] was able to step into Alex Tanney’s role and Alex Tanney was able to step into Brian’s [Johnson] role and Brian was able to step into Shane’s [Steichen] role. That’s why you do that.
And then with [Senior Defensive Assistant] Coach [Matt] Patricia, he’s been an excellent resource for me. You bring guys like that in to do just that, be resources for you, be resources for the defensive coordinator. He has a ton of experience. It’s nice to have a former head coach on the staff that I’m able to bounce some different things off of. Like I said, awesome, awesome resource, comes from a great coaching tree. Always been fascinated by that coaching tree, and how I can pick the brain of that so I can continue to get better as a coach and ultimately us get better as a team.
Q. For both of you guys, how deeply did you look, Howie from a personnel standpoint and Nick from a coaching and scheduling standpoint, at previous teams that had gotten to the Super Bowl and avoiding whatever kind of letdown or runoff a team might experience the following year? (Mike Sielski)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think every situation is different, and for our situation and the messaging that starts with Coach is this is a different year, and we have to do everything we possibly can to maximize this team, this moment. Whatever we’ve done in the past doesn’t matter; it’s what we do going forward. From a roster building standpoint, from a personnel building standpoint, we can’t just rely on what’s happened to other teams who have lost a Super Bowl. We have to do what we think is in the best interest to reset, start over and put us in the best possible position. I think that’s the mindset. That’s the mindset from our coaching staff and from our players is that none of what we’ve done in the past matters. None of what anyone else has done in the past matters. We have to start from scratch and keep our process in place and give us the best possible opportunity to have a good season.
Q. Howie, you’re much healthier than you were five years ago following 2017. How did that affect how you built the 90-man roster and how does that affect how you look at the roster entering this training camp? (Jeff McLane)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think for us, you’re always trying to balance the short-term and the long-term, and I think also learn lessons from some of the things that you’ve done that have worked and haven’t worked. I think for us it’s very important that we balance our team with younger players, and also bring in guys here who have a history of being healthy. Health is a huge part of what we do. Obviously, we had tremendous success with that last year, but that doesn’t guarantee any success this year. For us when we’re looking at guys and we’re looking at the injury history, we know the best indicator of future success is the past. So we’re trying to balance that and make sure that we have great people in place on the performance staff, in the training room, with our doctors, by also giving them a chance to be successful in bringing in the right people here.
Q. To follow up on the Super Bowl question, I saw you quoted somewhere, you guys are looking into why it’s hard for teams to get back. I know Howie talked about it. Is there anything analytically that falls into that? (Howard Eskin)
NICK SIRIANNI: You know the stats of it and everything like that. Let me make this first point perfectly clear. The goal right now, right this second, right now, is not to get back to the Super Bowl. That’s not our goal right now. I know everyone is going to be like, well, that’s a crazy thing to say. Our goal is to get better today. You can’t win two games unless you win one, so our goal is to get better today and to prep to get ready for our first game against New England. That’s it. We’ll take those things day by day of how we go about our process. You do want to look at why. There are a lot of different analytical studies that you want to do, why teams win first games, why teams win Thursday night games, why teams don’t repeat success coming back from the Super Bowl. So, you look at some of the common denominators of some seems that have struggled coming out of winning or losing a Super Bowl and you put those together, and you get answers. You get answers of what the common denominator is. Maybe you don’t get it always completely, this is exactly what it is, because it’s never black and white. There’s some gray to it. So, we have thoughts of hey, these are reasons why teams may take a step back after that based off of our studies there. But again, our goal and our mission right now is to go out there and crush this practice today and get ready to win one game so we can hopefully win the next.
Q. Do you want to share any of those reasons? (Howard Eskin)
NICK SIRIANNI: Sure, some of it is injuries. Some of them would be injuries as you look at it, whether that’s to the offensive line or the quarterback. Some of it is an offensive decline. There are many more, but those are a couple that stick out off the top of my head.
Q. As a follow-up to the health, is anyone starting this week of camp on the PUP list? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: We’re going to get you that list and you’ll have that here in a little bit.
Q. Did everybody pass the conditioning test? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yes, everybody did. Guys came back in phenomenal shape. It was really exciting yesterday through the intermittent rain that was happening, kind of had to adjust our schedules, but that’s what we do. You have to adjust to different things. It was great watching the guys run yesterday and just seeing how much they worked at bringing their bodies back in shape. We’ll do a lot with conditioning here in our camp with different things that we’re doing. We know how important it is that if you’re a 4.6 guy, you’re a 4.6 guy all game. Not just 4.6 guy and then you go to a 4.7 guy and then a 4.8 guy. So, we’re going to work our butts off to make sure that the shape that they came back in only continues to develop, and that’s our job as coaches, strength coaches and as a staff.
Q. At defensive tackle you have DT Fletcher Cox and then you have a lot of really young guys that you’ve invested a lot of high draft capital in. That’s a position that tends to take a little while for those guys to become great players. First of all, why is that, and then also, what are you expecting from those young guys? (Jimmy Kempski)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think any position there’s a learning curve coming into the NFL. It’s a completely different game than college football. Any position is going to have a major, major learning curve, and that’s our job as coaches, to try to make that as fast as possible and get the guys ready to play as fast as possible. Any position has a major curve in learning.
Q. WR Deon Cain is a pretty interesting story. He’s been here before. What did you see from him in the USFL that warranted bringing him back? (Reuben Frank)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: He continued to grow with his opportunity. He had an opportunity to be featured a little bit more than he had been in the NFL. When [Head] Coach [Nick Sirianni] came from Indianapolis, he had told us about kind of his work ethic and who the guy was, and when we had an opportunity to bring him here, we saw that last year. He had a good preseason, and he kind of built upon that preseason and put himself in an opportunity to come here and continue to get better. Looking forward to seeing him.
Q. There’s been a debate around the league around the running back position. You haven’t really given second contracts there. How do you view that position in the league going forward? (Zach Berman)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I would probably say it a little bit differently. We’ve taken — I think in the last 10 years we’ve taken — we took [former Eagles RB] LeSean [McCoy] before that 10-year period, but we gave LeSean a second contract in that situation. Obviously, [former Eagles RB and current Panthers RB] Miles [Sanders] was a great player for us. Miss him, wish him the best in Carolina. For where we were this year, we had to make some hard decisions. That was one of them. I don’t know that we’ve necessarily been in that situation. I don’t know that we want to make any absolutes on anything. We’re looking for really good players. We’re trying to keep the guys that we draft for as long as possible. I think the way we look at our running back room, it just worked out that a lot of these guys are on one-year deals, but we value the running back position. Really excited about the guys that we have here, and I don’t think that for us, we would be against signing running backs to long-term deals in that situation, and we have those conversations. It was hard for us to let Miles go. I think it’s all individual. It’s all team-based, and obviously here with the amount of guys who are on long-term contracts, we have to make some hard decisions.
Q. In building the roster, what did you see last year, what did you learn about LB Nakobe Dean that made you comfortable with him? (Bo Wulf)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think what we learned from Nakobe was the same thing that we saw in college, the same reason that made him such a highly recruited guy coming out of high school. The guy has tremendous passion, tremendous love for the game, tremendous work ethic. He was around the ball in every opportunity he had. I think both of our off-ball linebackers last year played really well, and it’s a credit to them and how well they played. When guys are playing really well, Coach will say all the time, you don’t make changes just for change sake. I don’t think it was anything that Nakobe did as opposed to kind of what those guys were doing, and we have high expectations for Nakobe, but no higher than the expectations he has for himself.
Q. With QB Jalen Hurts entering year four, coming off a franchise extension, has the conversation about protecting himself and what you’ll do to protect him, is that any different than it has been before? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: Every time we run him, it’s always about protecting him, and it didn’t matter if he had thrown for zero yards or the amount of yards he had right now. That’s just always been our thought process and our process of how we run the quarterback, how we want him to protect himself. We still talk about it. We talked about it, but it would have been malpractice on my part if I didn’t do that when he was the starter going into the 2021 season. We like to look at our process in everything that we do, not just be reactionary to, well, Jalen is making a lot of money now. Sure, you know that, but we feel like we’ve been doing that the past two years of protecting him and him knowing how to protect himself so he is able to play the majority of the season. But we didn’t go into the ’21 season like ‘Well, if he gets hurt, whatever.’ We had the same conversations we’re having today back then. The process hasn’t changed all that much as far as how we tell Jalen to protect himself and how we call plays to make sure we don’t put him at risk.
Q. How important is keeping the continuity around QB Jalen Hurts, pretty much the same receivers, running backs, tight ends, especially coming off the season you just had? (Martin Frank)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Well, I think it was important for us with [WR] A.J. [Brown] and with [TE] Dallas [Goedert] to get those guys signed long-term, and I don’t necessarily know that it was by design that we didn’t add a ton of guys at those positions, other than we have a lot of faith in the people who are here. So, we feel like all those guys are ready to take the next step. They had good springs. They came back in great shape. I’d say there’s probably a lot more turnaround at the running back position, and that was because of the opportunities we had to add those players. We’re excited about seeing those guys, as well. We’re always trying to improve the team. We’ll continue to try and improve the team today, just like Nick talks about, for his team and his process. Every day, we’re talking about who’s out there. We’re seeing if there’s ways to improve the team, and we’ll continue to do that until we can’t really do that anymore, which is theoretically at the trade deadline.
Q. Is there someone at linebacker after LB Nicholas Morrow and LB Nakobe Dean? How do you view that? (Ed Kracz)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: We’ve got a lot of young players at that position. We’re excited to see those guys, evaluate them on a daily basis, and again, like anything, we’ll keep our options open. We’re never going to close the door on an opportunity to improve our team, so we’ll constantly be looking at that position and every position.
Q. Is there something that you’ve learned about this rookie class that has kind of surprised you guys from what you saw on tape? (Chris Franklin)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think once you start putting the pads on and getting into this portion of it, then that will continue to tell the story. I don’t think we’re there yet to make any statements on as far as those — we love the guys that we drafted because we did a lot of work to get the right type of guys, and we know they’ve got the right stuff inside of them and that they’re working their butts off to get better every day. They’ve assimilated well with the rest of the team, and we’re excited to go out there and continue to get them better and develop them.
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I would say the only thing I’d add to that is sometimes you see it’s big for them in the spring and the summer, the transition, it’s going to take them a little bit, and I think all those guys have come in with a tremendous mindset. Coach hit on the conditioning test yesterday, the kind of shape they’ve been in and the position they’ve put themselves in to start training camp the right way, understanding it’s a long season ahead.