Howie Roseman and Nick Sirianni
Q. Nick, this is your second training camp, full camp. What did you learn from last year and should we expect to see a lot of similarities this year with how you ran camp last year? (Eliot Shorr-Parks)
NICK SIRIANNI: You are always going to adapt things that you do in camp, and so there are some differences of what we’re doing this year, as you guys can see from the schedule.
We’re just always looking to make our process as good as we possibly can for the players. For one, for the players to be ready to play, for the players to be healthy to play, and just that’s something we go through each time, is what can we do better this year?
That question is asked at the end of OTAs, at the end of rookie camp, asked at the end of the draft process, asked at the end of a joint practice, asked at the end of training camp.
It’s not just asked of the coaching staff. We talk through it with the front office, with the media, with [Eagles Senior Vice President, Communications] Bob [Lange]. We talk through it with the strength staff, everybody.
So, there will be some differences as you guys have seen, and look forward to getting out there and working.
Q. Howie, expectations are seemingly high after the roster construction this offseason. You’ve been around a long time and have seen both sides of the coin there. How do you feel about that coming into this season? (Jeff McLane)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Yeah, I feel like this is Philly. Obviously, there are always going to be expectations. At the end of the day, we have to start that with camp. We have to start that with having a good camp, having a competitive camp, getting guys ready to play for the start of the season.
So for us, we’re just trying to stay in the moment and make sure we’re evaluating the team and getting the best possible players that we can to get ready for Detroit.
Q. Nick, you talk so much about QB Jalen Hurts getting the second year in your offense. How do you expect that to show out? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: Similar to how it played out in OTAs. You can see he’s a year further into it, decisions are being made quicker and faster each time he gets a rep at it. Just like a lot of quarterbacks in this league, they get better with their decision making over time.
You’re definitely going to see that. You will still see his play making ability with his feet. I saw a more accurate passer in OTAs, and now he’s got to go and continue to improve every single day.
But I really thought he had great progress in OTAs and just got to continue to ride the momentum of that through training camp each and every day.
Q. S Jaquiski Tartt and CB James Bradberry, late off-season signings, what was it about those guys? (Ed Kracz)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think for [CB James] Bradberry, this is a guy that we spent a lot of time evaluating guys who came out. We didn’t have a second-round pick that year. Competed against him in Carolina and the Giants. Had a lot of respect for the player and the person and was excited to get the opportunity to get him into Philadelphia.
Obviously, you’ve seen him going against the guys in the NFC East, which is a big part of us. The NFC East is our first goal that coach outlines with the team.
With [S Jaquiski] Tartt, we always try to keep looking at our boards. Our scouting department does a great job keeping the boards updated and telling us who the top guys on those lists are, and he kept kind of showing up.
This is a guy who played seven years on a very good defense in San Francisco. Played at a high level, played in big games, has the right temperament, so we are excited to add him to the team as well.
Q. Nick, your comfort level in year two, and you too, Howie, as far as being more comfortable, understanding what the staff wants. How is it different for you guys this year as opposed to coming into camp last year? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: You just can see how much further you are along. There is a lot less questions on how things are run. I mean, it’s just everything. The first year you’re figuring different things out as you go.
So that year experience is huge among the coaches — coaches to players relationship, coaches to coaches’ relationship, and coaches to front office relationship.
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think when you go into the first year you never know how people are going to handle adversity, and that’s players, coaches when they first get here.
I think last year watching how coach and his staff handled adversity, like we talked about in this city, we were 2-5, and handling that and being consistent, I thought it was really impressive.
So obviously when you go through something like that you have an understanding of how people are going to deal with certain situations, and so going into the second year you don’t have any of that unknown. You know who the person is, and you know how they’re going to handle situations.
Q. What did you tell the guys yesterday about expectations for this season? (Martin Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, like Howie said, this is Philly, right? I didn’t feel like expectations weren’t high last year. Whether somebody said they weren’t, or somebody said they were, our standard was high. I know the city’s standard was high. And so that’s not new.
Now, as far as what I said to them, my message to them was very clear. I can’t tell you how many times this year somebody — this year or this summer — somebody has come up to me and said, ‘Hey, NFC East, then we’re going to have a home playoff game and win that one, then we’ll just see what happens.’
We have training camp to do, right? And that’s every day you have to go through this process. I think I talked about this before. When you are trying to climb a mountain, you don’t look at the top of the mountain and say — you might initially, but you don’t look at the top of the mountain every single day and say, ‘I have to climb that.’
You look to the part of the mountain you have to climb that day and you focus on that. That’s what training camp is about, you focus on the daily deposits.
That was the message yesterday. We talked about a track runner – [WR] Devon Allen was very into the story – we talked about a track runner that made daily deposits, and when it was time to cash the check, his check didn’t bounce. He had the money in the bank, because every single day he worked hard. He worked hard every single day to make sure he was ready for the Olympics.
That’s the same thing with us. All the expectations are great, everything there, but it’s day by day. It’s what are we going to do today to be ready to have a good pre-season game number one, and so on and so forth.
So daily deposits, and that doesn’t matter — if you live in that world, then it doesn’t matter if you’re an underdog, your expectations are high. You’re just working on how you get better every day. That’s all we’re focused on.
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think the other thing we talk about a lot is our most talented teams have not necessarily been our best teams. You can have all this talent, but them coming together and fitting the right pieces in place is the most important thing.
That’s what this camp is for, coming together as a team and making sure the talent meets connection and goes into a place with the season where we’re feeling really good about the people.
Q. Last time you guys brought in Terrell Owens — it was 2004 — another receiver. There was a lot of the excitement. You were at that camp. Is there any of that excitement, not just with WR A.J. Brown, but with the off-season acquisitions you made? Do you feel that? (Bob Grotz)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I’ll tell what you feel, you just feel the passion for football in this city. I think that’s exciting, that whenever you’re going somewhere, people are excited for Eagles football. They can’t wait. Even though it’s kind of ending some of the summer here that people go, ‘I can’t wait for Eagles football.’ Whenever I go somewhere I feel that.
Again, I think where we are, we have a long way to go in trying to bring the team together and pick the best guys on this team. I think we are just trying to stay in the moment and make sure we have a good day today here and have a good training camp.
Q. Howie, it’s the first time we’ve spoken to you since the personnel department news. What do the losses of former Eagles vice president of player personnel and current Steelers assistant general manager Andy Weidl and former Eagles senior football advisor Tom Donahoe mean for that department? (Jeff McLane)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Yeah, I think you start with [former Eagles Senior Football Adviser] Tom [Donahoe]. I mean, somebody that had been here a long time that I was extremely close with personally and professionally. Just very appreciative of his efforts for us. I think you never really replace that guy.
I think we need more experience, and I think that’s when you have [Senior Personnel Director/Advisor to the General Manager] Dave [Caldwell] and [Senior Personnel Director/Advisor to the General Manager] Matt [Russell], that’s what they’ll try to fill that role of having people with experience who have been around the league for a long time.
And then [former Eagles Vice President of Player Personnel and current Steelers Assistant General Manager] Andy [Weidl], Andy was here since ’16. We won a lot of games together. Obviously, he was my right hand for a lot of things. I know for his family it’s very cool for him to be in Pittsburgh where they have a lot of family and the opportunity he has.
But definitely miss those guys.
Q. What are some of the benefits you’ve seen this offseason of having WR A.J. Brown as part of the team, from a players’ and coaches’ perspective? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: Obviously his resume speaks for itself. He does a lot of things really well. We’re happy to have him obviously.
Yeah, the better your players, the better coach you are, and that’s no secret. Our job is to get the most out of those players as we can and maximize their potential. Just excited to have him. Yeah, he’ll fit in nicely.
Q. As you look at the safety depth chart, are you happy with where you stand there? Do you view that spot similar to positions in the past where you’re looking at what you have? (Zach Berman)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I don’t know that I ever look at our depth chart and feel content. I think it’s a situation, because of the nature of this game, where you’re always kind of looking forward to what’s next and have to look forward to what’s next.
When we talk about the safeties, a guy that we spent a lot of time talking about this offseason, was [S] Marcus Epps, and a guy who — nobody works harder than Marcus. Here is a guy who obviously last year played in a rotation with those guys, and you want your young players to step up and develop more of a role.
That’s why we have a player development program and these coaches. With him and the veteran guys we have, plus we have a couple young players in that group, [S] K’Von [Wallace] needs to take a bigger step, we brought in some young players as well behind those guys.
It’s like every position. We’ll evaluate it and constantly be on the lookout to improve the roster. Team building is a constant thing here. I don’t know that I feel content at any position that I would say, ‘Hey, we’re good.’
Q. Howie, we can obviously hear the excitement from fans as players walk on the field. You’ve been around long enough and a lot of us have been around long enough to remember what it was like at Lehigh when thousands would come out every day. What are the advantages of being here, and can you talk about now that you’ve done it for a while what benefits you feel like you get by having camp here as opposed to Lehigh? (Rob Kuestner)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: [Jokingly] Sleeping in my own bed versus a dorm bed is a big advantage for sure. I think when you talk about players and them sleeping in dorm beds, with what we know about performance now, we know that affects them. Them not being able to sleep in the same kind of beds, having the same of performance related aspect that we have with cryo, massages all that.
For us, this facility was built, it was an amazing facility. The cafeteria, the access they have to nutrition. For all of us being able to have our systems in place here, which when you go up to Lehigh it’s harder.
There are give and takes. I loved coming out there, and you would ask every day how big are the crowds, and you certainly can‘t have that crowd. I think both have their pluses and minuses. Obviously, we’re here now.
Q. Nick, when it comes to the offensive line, and specifically right guard, what has been your messaging and Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach Jeff Stoutland’s messaging to that entire group? (Josh Tolentino)
NICK SIRIANNI: That is such an important group for the cohesion of the unit to be together and going. [G] Isaac [Seumalo] has been in that group for a long, long time and he’s played really well. Look forward to having him back.
Among the rest of the guys fighting for spots, the more positions they can play the better, right? So, looking forward to the competition of all those roles of not only the starting positions, at every position, but also the backups. We just had a lot of good depth at the offensive line for a long time. Tribute to Howie and his staff. They’ve done a great job getting us depth, and Stout has done a great job developing those players.
So, looking forward to all the competitions that are happening throughout the entire training camp.
Q. Going into your second year with QB Jalen Hurts, how much more comfortable are you with him, what makes him tick and how to coach him, but also what he likes, what he’s comfortable with and what he excels at in the offense and how many adjustments do you make? (John Clark)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, the more you know somebody, both personally and about their style of play, the more you can adapt the plan to them. We’re constantly learning that.
Now, we have a much better understanding this year than we did last year. We have 18 games of proof of what he likes and what he tells us and a whole year of a relationship.
So, yeah, we feel like we’ve narrowed it down to the things that he likes, things he does well. Not only Jalen, but that’s other positions, too. You don’t ask a receiver to run a route they can’t run. You don’t ask a running back to read a play that they can’t read. You don’t ask the offensive line to run a scheme they can’t run.
It’s the entire group, and obviously the first thought of our mind is about Jalen because he has so much on his plate.
Q. Speaking of Jalen Hurts, I notice your shirt. Love it. First day of training camp. It sets the tone. What made you pick that? (Jamie Apody)
NICK SIRIANNI: Hey, he’s our quarterback. [Jokingly/smiling] This was I think the best one I had clean. I do my own laundry, so it was the best one I had clean and this is the one I picked.
Q. Do the players pick up on that? (Jamie Apody)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think so. This is something that I got from my brother actually. He’s a college football coach, and one thing he always liked to do was wear the high school that — they don’t make these for division three college players, but what he would do is wear a shirt from the high school that they went to.
He always had this wide variety of shirts. He told me why he had it. Just an easy way to connect with the player. So what better way to connect with them than wear a shirt with his face in the middle of it. That is the why. There is always a conversation off of that.
Q. Does this team feel like it needs to support or defend Jalen Hurts from any outside criticism by wearing shirts and hats? (Sal Paolantonio)
NICK SIRIANNI: No, no.
Q. How many padded practices do you expect to have in these first ten practices? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: I don’t know the answer to that exactly off the top of my head. I have to look at schedule and let you know.
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I mean, I don’t know, Jeff the last time a team went on the road to practice against another team, I think that is part of how hard this camp is.
Q. Back-to-back you’re saying? (Jeff McLane)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Back-to-back, right.
Q. So basically, you’re saying you have these two inner squad things coming up, so you are going to go lighter in these practices?
NICK SIRIANNI: No.
HOWIE ROSEMAN: No. I was just adding that that’s hard to do, go back-to-back and compete two weeks in a row.
Q. Your first scheduled walk-throughs before the first pre-season game, that’s different than last year. Why do a walk-through as opposed to a practice? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: Well, this first one, it’s all about player health, what went down last year, our numbers as far as the soft tissue injuries, right?
So our third day, which tomorrow would be our third day, they had hard conditioning yesterday. They’re going to have an intense practice today. In our third day, numbers tell us not only on our team, but throughout the league that soft tissue injuries shoot up that day. So that’s the reason for that.
Then that is the same data that we’re following for those other three walk-throughs that we’re going to have. Is it different from last year? Yes. But the other thing you’re getting is more high-volume days because of that walk-through there.
We have a green day, a yellow day, and a red day. So, yes, we have a couple more walk-throughs than we had, but there are more green days now, which means there are more high-intensity practices. So, the distances of how much we’re running at the skill positions, how much we are running at every position, is going to be more in this camp than it was last camp.
But it’s just a different way of how we get there. It’s all educated — and that doesn’t mean we’re not going to get soft tissue injuries, right? There are probably going to be some.
We’re doing as much as we possibly can to prevent those things. My job is to make sure that team is ready to play. I have to listen to the experts. I have to listen to our doctors. I have to listen to the strength and performance staff. I have to listen to the trainers.
But at the end of the day, I have to make sure the team is ready to play. So, it isn’t just blind faith following. It’s educated of how we’re doing these things. And then like I said, I have to sometimes make hard decisions on what to do and what not to do.
Q. You typically always built through the trenches, but this specific season the defensive tackle rotation seems stronger than usual. Did you put a specific emphasis on the interior defensive line where you have four starting-caliber players at that spot rather than just both sides of the ball? (Shamus Clancy)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think in terms of the draft the last two years with [DT] Milton [Williams] and [DT] Jordan [Davis], it was based on the draft board in terms of those guys.
I think you’ve seen over the last few years kind of an increased emphasis from us as a front office in interior pass rushers. When you look at it and you look at the quarterbacks who are really effective in this league, you have to make sure that you’re affecting them in the middle and getting in their face and doing things, because sometimes with edge rushers they can step up and have a clear throwing lane.
So, we wanted both of those things obviously, but I think we’ve seen in the last couple years for us increased emphasis on having interior defensive linemen who can create pressure.