Jeffrey Lurie and Nick Sirianni
JEFFREY LURIE: Welcome, everybody. Thanks for virtually getting together.
I just want to say that this process has been a terrific process. I want to first thank all the candidates who we had an opportunity to interview with. There were so many quality candidates. I was blown away by the level of expertise, by the vision and love of the game that the candidates had.
We don’t make it easy. Our interviews are long. They’re anywhere from usually seven to 10 hours, non-stop. We delve into every aspect of the sport, leadership, football, in many, many ways. Our fan base, what we want to accomplish in the near future and going forward.
They give a lot to us. We don’t give a lot to them. I want to start off by just thanking those individuals. Several of them are going to be head coaches in the league in the next few years. They will be formidable opponents, I can guarantee that.
Secondly, I just want to thank everybody involved in our process. It was a wide swath of looking for who could lead our football team over the next several years. We involved quite a few people in our process because that was the very best way to get as much information as we could about who the potential candidates would be, then do as much background information as we could and really delve into details in so many ways about each candidate.
I want to thank everybody who both was either involved in the interview process or, just as importantly, involved in all the background work because we depend on all the departments and coaches and players and people involved to communicate with their counterparts and people they’ve worked with around the league to really give us an ability to hone in on what the strengths and weaknesses might be for any candidate. So thank you to everybody involved in the process.
In the end, I have to make the final decision. But as important as the position is, how determinant it is in terms of your future, I welcomed all the input and was able to really I think get a very, very clear indication of what each candidate could bring and how to proceed. Thanks to everybody involved in the process, and those outside the Eagles organization, as well. Lots of help and interesting perspectives.
I want to especially go into the process because what does a team, in particular our team, do to enter this process? You don’t do it very often, yet the ramifications are large. We typically in this case start with probably about 25 people, 25 names, that we wanted to consider. There wasn’t an absolute number, but that’s about what it was.
We go into the details of their background, not just their résumés, but every aspect of leadership potential, X’s and O’s, of course, but far more than you would expect in terms of just what’s on a football résumé.
It’s much more about the people and how they conduct themselves, how they surround themselves, do they reach for greatness, are they risk averse, do they manage well, do they have a great attention to detail, how are they to work with, how are they to work with when there’s ups and downs of a season, how are they under enormous stress, how are they in competitive situations. The list goes on and on and on about the characteristics.
I think for the Eagles, what we’ve harped on very, very much is we’re looking for the best football leader going forward. It’s not about who is the hot coordinator, who is the best X’s and O’s, who is the best résumé. Everything is important. Everything is important.
We started with about 25 names that we thought, whether it’s offense, defense, ex [head] coaches, or those with no [head] coaching experience, college. There’s really no limitation who those 25 are going to be except we have a hope that they might be excellent.
Then we go from there, and with lots and lots of research, narrow it. In this case we narrowed it to 10. We interviewed 10 candidates. Again, I was blown away by the quality of these candidates. The NFL is lacking in slots, not in candidates. I’m really glad to be able to say that. I’m not saying that diplomatically. Trust me, any friend who has asked me, it’s like these were really, really impressive people and candidates. Some of them quite young. They’ll be the hot candidates in a year, two or three, no question about it. That’s what we learned in the process.
You also learn a lot about what other people’s perspectives are on the present and future of the game, what leadership looks like, what football looks like in terms of offense, defense, special teams, how they would run a franchise, their vision, on and on and on.
Again, I repeat, they give a lot to us, and we give just an opportunity. I’m very grateful for that experience because you don’t go through it very often, at least we haven’t.
I also want to take a moment to thank the [assistant] coaches we have worked with that won’t be with us going forward because some of them, many of them, have been just terrific partners, and we won a Super Bowl together. In the case of some, they’ve been with us and with me for a long, long time. Communicated directly with many. Without COVID, would have been able to personally spend time with them.
I want to single them out in terms of their contribution. It’s not easy to win a Super Bowl. It’s not easy to be in the playoffs three of the last four years. They deserve a lot of credit.
In particular, just because he’s kind of like a son to me, I just want to talk about [former Eagles assistant head coach/running backs coach] Duce [Staley]. Duce is somebody very special to me. He’s been a terrific player, coach, leader for us. He’ll always be a Philadelphia Eagle. He and I talked well into the night the other night.
I love the man. I just believe, I think he believes, that it’s best for his goal of being a head coach in the league to work for another organization for a while and set himself up the way many of the candidates have.
It will help him. I just want the best for him. I think he’ll be an excellent leader for wherever he is in the future. I just want to share that love for Duce, because he’s very special.
That being said, I want to kind of go into [Eagles head coach] Nick Sirianni. Nick, with a group of so many good candidates, just shined throughout the process from the very beginning. The research on Nick was terrific. It was somebody that knew the game as well as anybody, football IQ off the charts, a grinder, somebody that had an unlimited work ethic and a desire to be great.
He always had coaching in mind from his very beginning. His family background, his brothers, his dad of course. I just think it’s somebody who has wanted to excel in this profession for so long, has excelled, and is more than ready to take the next step.
But the research was part of it. It’s a big part of it. The interview is probably, I don’t know what percentage, probably 33% of it, somewhere around there.
As soon as you got to spend time with Nick, and we probably spent about, I don’t know, 10, 12 hours together over two days, it became apparent that this is a very special communicator, not just a brilliant football IQ, which was very evident early on as we went through how he game plans, how he attacks defenses, how he maximizes personnel, not just relying on a scheme but how to each week attack exactly who you’re playing, what their strengths and weaknesses are in great detail. Much more than that.
He’s somebody who connects with everybody. To me, it continues the culture we’ve had and builds on it. In today’s world, it doesn’t get talked about maybe that often, but for the Eagles, culture remains the most important thing. In our world today, there’s such polarization, there’s such a disconnect between people, people get divided by race, by age, by politics, whatever it is. There’s social media that contributes to that.
I think it’s really valuable to have somebody that innately and genuinely cares about who they work with, the players that play for them and with them, the other coaches, the staff. Somebody who is genuine about caring. For me, Nick epitomizes that.
The first step I think in being a great coach in modern football today, modern sports today, is to care very much about the players and coaches you work with, and everybody. But a player who is 22, 30 years old, in this world, if you care, you can earn trust. If the caring is not real, if you’re not being genuine, players are too smart and they see right through that, as they should.
One of the prerequisites for this job was to be able to have a head coach who literally cares every single day. That continues the culture that we’ve been building over the last five years, and potentially accentuates it even further.
That was a deal breaker for me, for anybody that I felt didn’t have that quality. I don’t know if it’s the hidden sauce, but it’s what propels everything else. If you care, you earn trust. If you earn trust, you can motivate. If you motivate, you can teach. It all spins from there in terms of improving a player’s performance, improving a team performance, increasing discipline, increasing accountability, and being able to really move off a status quo and advance whatever vision the head coach and his staff have.
I think Nick has that in very unique ways. It’s a credit to him as a person. As you’ll get to know him, I think you’ll see what we all see in that.
Football IQ, off the charts, as I said. Leadership, it goes hand-in-hand with what I’ve been talking about, but it’s even bigger than that. Can command a room. He has an edge. I think he’ll be himself and at times it will be with an edge. I think that’s great. I encourage that.
Independent thinker. Not tied to a particular scheme that’s in fashion at any moment, but wants to maximize the individuals on the team. Bring everybody together for a common good. With all that, the most important, a teacher who wants teachers around him at all times.
We talked about how to put together a great staff. He has a great vision for that. It’s a combination of those that he knows already that are wonderful teachers and those he was very much open to meeting and expanding his own horizons from that. That’s what he’s doing with his staff right now.
It’s the man. It’s the teacher. It’s the coach. It’s the father. It’s the husband. A lot goes into it. It’s an important decision for an owner. It’s an important decision for an organization. I’m very, very excited by Nick and want to welcome his family, Brett, their three kids.
I think it’s just a day where I’m exhilarated. Been exhilarated during this search. Sometimes you think the search is, ‘Oh, boy, we’ve got to do this lengthy search.’ Really it was exhilarating for me and I think for all of us.
Nick was sort of the culmination of a lot of thought that went into it, a lot of projection. Of course, that’s what it is. It’s an evaluation of what is now and what coach he can become and what organization we can become with his leadership.
With that, I want to welcome Nick to the Eagles, to Philadelphia, to the best fan base in America. I wish him all the best. He’s already gotten started. I think you’re going to really enjoy what he provides as a person, as a coach, and as someone to get to know.
With that, Nick, look forward to your opening remarks and any questions for Nick. Thank you all again for virtually attending today.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Jeffrey. Coach, welcome to Philadelphia. We’ll get started with your opening remarks and then we’ll go ahead and open it up to questions.
NICK SIRIANNI: First of all, I’d just like to thank Mr. Lurie for believing in me to be in charge of this unbelievable football team in this unbelievable organization and this great city.
The fans, I can’t wait … I know from experience of coming here and playing here as an opposing coach how passionate the fans are here in Philadelphia. I’m just glad we’re on the same team now. You’re on my side now (smiling).
Thank you to [Eagles Executive Vice President/General Manager] Howie Roseman. I can’t wait to work side-by-side with you in efforts to bring another championship back to the city of Philadelphia. It’s been great working with you so far. I look forward to continuing that relationship.
Thank you to [Eagles President] Don Smolenski and the rest of the people around this organization. It was very apparent to me right from the beginning, like Mr. Lurie said with the interview process, how great the people are in this organization. It’s a special group of people. It’s a special group of people. You can feel that right away. I just can’t wait to start working with all of them.
Thank you to the Indianapolis Colts. Thank you to the Irsay family. Thank you to [Colts General Manager] Chris Ballard. Most importantly, thank you to my friend, my mentor, and [someone who is] like my big brother, [Colts Head Coach] Frank Reich. They believed in me, they gave me a chance to be their offensive coordinator, and I’m forever grateful for them for that.
I’d like to thank my beautiful wife, Brett, and our kids, Jacob, Taylor and Miles, for your unending support, for your consistency, your steadiness through the ups and downs of the season. Just thank you for your continuous support of me and unconditional love. I love you guys.
Thank you to my mom and dad. I just have two wonderful parents that care about me, that have been there for me for everything, that have been to every sporting event that I’ve ever been a part of. [They] had season tickets in Indianapolis, when they live in Jamestown, New York. I’m quite positive they’ll have season tickets here in Philadelphia. Thank you for the example that you’ve given me to be the type of person I want to be. I can’t thank you guys enough for that.
I’d like to thank my brothers. I’ve always looked up to my brothers, both Mike and Jay. I’ve always looked up to them. I have two older brothers that are football coaches, so I’ve looked up to them in many ways. They’re older than me. What an example they’ve given me, as well, that I’ve tried to follow and make them proud of me.
I’d like to thank all the coaches that have helped shape me to the coach I am today. You take a little bit of each coach that you’ve been around, right? You take a little bit of each coach that you’ve been around and make yourself out of that. You take the good, you take the bad, and you make the best out of you from those people. So, thank you for believing in me, thank you for teaching me, and thank you for just always being there for me.
The coaches I’d like to thank – I know I’ll leave some out, but I need to thank these people first. My dad was my coach, so I thank him. Larry Kehres, at Mount Union College, my college coach. Todd Haley, Romeo Crennel, Brian Daboll, Ken Whisenhunt, Mike McCoy, Anthony Lynn and Frank Reich, and many more. I know that I can’t mention all [of them], but all these guys have shaped me to where I am today.
And it’s all about the players. It’s all about the players. I’ve been blessed to be around some unbelievable football players that I’ve built great relationships with, that I’ve went through battles with, and went through the ups and downs of a season. That’s a special relationship that you’re able to build with a player and a coach, and I value that.
I’d just like to mention a couple of them. And I know I’ll leave some out again, but Philip Rivers, Keenan Allen, Dontrelle Inman, Tyrell Williams, Zach Pascal, T.Y. Hilton, Jacoby Brissett, Andrew Luck, Jack Doyle, Nyheim Hines, Danny Woodhead, Ryan Kelly and Quenton Nelson. It’s been great just to get to know these guys and be in that room and be in the battle with them every single day. I can’t wait to build those same relationships with the players here in Philadelphia.
I’m so excited to be here. I mentioned, it’s such a great support staff here, the people in place here, the great culture that Mr. Lurie mentioned. It’s a wonderful organization, it’s a first-class organization. I look to continue to build on that culture that they have here.
The core values that I believe in that are important to any good team that I really want to make sure that we have here with the Philadelphia Eagles, the one is to connect with each other. That’s so important to me, is that we have a building here where everyone is connecting. Coaches are connecting to coaches, players are connecting to players, and coaches are connecting to players.
When you have that connection, when you build these connections, you’ll end up pushing a little bit harder for someone that you know and someone that you care for and someone that you love. That’s what we want to try to develop.
I get to be a part of a team. All of us, everybody in this building, are part of a team. I’m 39 years old, I’m part of a team. That’s unbelievable. We all should feel so lucky to be a part of that team. When you can get that connection, that’s a special part of an organization, a special part of a team. All the best teams I’ve ever been a part of have that connection. I look forward to doing that with the people here in Philadelphia.
The other thing that’s important to me is that we compete every single day. We compete every single day. Just like it’s important to practice a play to get good at that play so you can run it in a game, it’s important to practice competing. The parity in this league is so tight. Every game comes down to a one-score game. We have to pour that into our DNA here in Philadelphia. In the meeting room, it’s important that we compete. On the field and also off the field, we’re constantly going to be competing with each other.
The next thing that’s important to me and part of my core values is accountability. We have to set the standard early of what’s acceptable and unacceptable on the field, and what we need to do to get better. That’s my job. That’s my job to set that standard with the coaches. And then when you really are cooking, the players are holding the players accountable and everybody is holding each other accountable. Accountability.
Next thing that’s very important to me is that we build a smart football team, that we have a smart football team here. I know we have the people in place to do that. The first part of being smart is knowing what to do. We’re going to have systems in place that are easier to learn. Complicated to the defense or offense that they’re going against, or the special teams group they’re going against, but easy for us to learn. Because when we can learn our system and we can get good at our system, then our talent can take over. Less thinking equals talent takeover. But we need to have systems in place, and we will have systems in place, to do so.
The other thing that’s highly important for a smart football team is game management and situational ball. I was just up in my office the other day and I was showing a couple coaches that I haven’t been around in a couple years a video clip that I like to show to the team about how important situational ball is and how important those things are.
I showed them the clip of Villanova in the national championship game in 2016, when they drove down the court against North Carolina and they kicked it back and they made the three. They were interviewing the players after the game. One of the players said that we’ve been through that situation so many times over and over and over again. Coach Wright [Villanova men’s basketball coach Jay Wright] has put us in that situation over and over and over again. We were ready for anything that the defense threw at us. We were ready for anything they threw at us. We made the shot because we put ourselves in that situation and we were smart situationally. That’s our job here with the Eagles, to make sure we go through all those situations with them and create a good, smart football team.
Lastly, as far as a core value of mine, is fundamentals. Being good at the fundamentals, winning your one-on-one matchup because you won that matchup with fundamentals. When you’re playing this game, again the parity is so tight in the NFL, you have one player that’s just as good as this player, and one coach is going to call a good play, and this coach is going to call a good play. So, what gives there? Fundamentals. And that’s how we develop players. Getting them good at the fundamentals that it takes for that player to be good at his position.
I remember a quote. I like to study great players and great athletes and great coaches. Kobe Bryant is one person I’ve loved to study more than anybody. He talked about how, yes, he was extremely talented, but at the core of his game was the fundamentals. When you can combine the fundamentals and you combine that with the talent, that’s when you get a player to reach the level of excellence. Those are the core values that I’d like to bring here and build upon here of the Philadelphia Eagles.
With that, I’d like to open it up to questions.
Q. Did you take this job with the stipulation or the expectation that QB Carson Wentz is your quarterback next season? If so, what is your plan to get the most out of him? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: Well, I took this job because of what a great organization this is. The plan here is that we have to go through a lot of things. We’re getting our coaching staff in place. We’re getting it in place so we can get the best people in here as coaches.
What we need to do is evaluate the entire roster. We have a lot of things to go through in these next couple weeks of evaluating the entire roster in every position: quarterback, wide receiver, defensive back. That is what we’re going to be diving into here. It’s great.
We have two quarterbacks in [QB] Carson Wentz and [QB] Jalen Hurts that are top-notch. They’re top-notch quarterbacks. A lot of teams don’t have any. Just really excited to work with both of them.
Q. There have been plenty of reports about Carson’s relationship with the organization being strained. Wondering what your conversations with him have been like so far? Do you feel it’s a reconcilable relationship? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: I can’t speak on [the reports]. I’ve talked to Carson. I’ve been reaching out to our players. It’s been a whirlwind obviously so far as far as just the amount of things to do as I’ve taken this job, a week into this job. Trying to communicate with all our players as quickly as I can.
I’ve talked to Carson. We’ve had good conversation. I know he’s talked to our offensive coordinator, as well. Just excited, again, to work with him as we move forward here.
Q. What went into hiring Jonathan Gannon? Why is he the right hire for defensive coordinator? (Mike Kaye)
NICK SIRIANNI: Well, I’ve been with Jonathan for the last three years. You can almost say he’s been on an interview with me for three years.
But I think his football IQ is off the charts. When I want to know something about a defense, for the last three years, if I’ve wanted to know something about a defense, he’s the first one I’ve went to every single time. ‘Hey, tell me how they’re doing this’. His football IQ is off the charts. His players play well for him. His players love him. His energy is contagious.
He loves football. He loves being around football, loves being on the practice field, loves being in the meeting room. Tireless worker who I truly believe in, his organization skills, to be a very good defensive coordinator in the NFL.
Q. Have you spoken to QB Jalen Hurts, as well? What has your message been to the respective quarterbacks? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yes, I’ve also spoke to Jalen. Again, I’ll keep our conversations private. Those are conversations between the player and I.
Same conversation with him, is that I’m really excited to work with him. We studied him last year. Had a great college tape. He played meaningful snaps this year that he played well in.
The conversation with him and the conversation with the guys that I’ve had is really excited to start working with you. Most of the conversation is getting to know the individual besides football. I’m going to learn a lot about them in football. I know I’m going to learn a lot about them in football in this next week. But I wanted to know a little bit more about each player I’ve talked to personally, right?
Then when I look at the tape, and I look forward to this when looking at the tape, being honest, having honest and open conversations with each one of them of what I saw in the tape, and how we can improve, all of us improve.
Q. Knowing what you know about the roster, what you know about the franchise, the team, what is your personal timetable as far as when you can win, when you can be a playoff team? How long will it take? (Reuben Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, we have to go through the process here. We have to go through the process here. We’re still in the first part of this phase of getting the right coaches in place to come in and coach the guys, right? That their core values line up with mine and they’re good teachers of fundamentals. We’re in that phase right now.
Then it goes to evaluating the roster. This team, this organization, I’m confident. There’s a talented group. [Eagles executive vice president/general manager] Howie [Roseman] and his staff have put together a talented group. Just super excited to work with all the guys here because I know there’s a lot of talent in this building.
Q. Can you walk us through your offensive philosophy and what it’s going to be like as you take this step into play-caller. (Kristen Rodgers)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, great question. The offensive philosophy, again, we’re going to be multiple. We can attack multiple ways. I’ll just use the example here from Indianapolis. We had Andrew Luck as our quarterback. That followed up with Jacoby Brissett as our quarterback then Philip Rivers as our quarterback. Those three teams looked different. They were all different in their own ways of how we attacked defenses and how we played the game.
I think that’s the sign of a good coach, that you’re going to change based off of your personnel, right? We have a certain personnel in place. We’re going to figure out what they can do well and what their strengths are, and we’re going to play to their strengths and we are going to try to keep them out of situations that they don’t excel well at.
That can change. We can look at the tape and think about, ‘Hey, well this would look really good. This is how he fits a couple things we’ve done in the past.’ But that can change based off of practice. In practice, say, ‘We’re going to have to see it in practice.’ Then that could change based off of a game.
It’s an ever-changing offensive philosophy. Sure, we have our core plays in place that we want to do, that we want to be good at, because that’s what we do. But a lot of it is going to depend on our personnel and utilizing our personnel to their strengths and their weaknesses.
Q. You said you have two top-notch quarterbacks in Carson Wentz and Jalen Hurts. Does that mean there will be an open competition at quarterback if they both return? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, that’s something that we have to look at and evaluate. I’m not ready to say that either way yet. We’re just evaluating our players, evaluating every position. Every position, right? We don’t know any of these guys really yet from what we’ve seen on tape so far because we haven’t watched any.
Every position is going to be evaluated and every position is going to be open, I guess to say. We can’t wait, again, to start watching the tape and seeing what our players can do.
Q. Have you had a chance to look at the receivers on the roster from last year? What are your thoughts on them? Specifically, how do you see WR Jalen Reagor in your offense? (Eliot Shorr-Parks)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, [I] know the players more so on the sense of what you see on opposing team’s film. Of the tape that I’ve seen in the past three years, there’s not a lot of crossover tape with the Eagles and the Colts.
There’s some, but [I] know a little bit about it from there in that aspect. Know a little bit about it from the highlights you see on TV. Most of my knowledge on these guys is when we studied the player coming out of college. Last year, I mean, all I can speak of is last year on Jalen, thought he was a phenomenal player, thought he was a really good player with explosiveness. Again, look forward to using him in our offense on some of the things we like to do with players of his skill set.
Q. You talked earlier about the time you spent with Jonathan Gannon in Indianapolis. In making up your staff, which I realize you haven’t finished yet, you seem to have placed a lot of importance on familiarity, maybe over experience. Did you feel that was a little bit more important? Did you feel you have people you could work with now rather than people who had a couple more years in the league? (Paul Domowitch)
NICK SIRIANNI: Good question. With Jonathan, again, just have seen him work. Yes, there is a familiarity with him. There is a familiarity with Shane [Steichen] as our offensive coordinator.
Let me talk about Shane first. Shane and I were in every meeting together game planning. I’ve known Shane for four years. I know Shane thinks about the game the way I think about the game. Shane is a phenomenal offensive mind that thinks about the game the way I do.
It’s almost like with Shane and I — and Shane has done a great job, his résumé speaks for itself, he’s always gotten the best out of his quarterbacks, did a great job with Philip Rivers, did a great job with Justin Herbert this year. Obviously, Shane and I have communicated with each other through this past year of bouncing ideas off each other.
Again, the way we think about the game is so similar, that’s going to be an easy transition for us. It’s like we’re starting on day 15 instead of day one. I’ve seen Shane at work, I’ve seen Shane grind, I’ve seen Shane dig for all the little things on the tape to give us the best play possible to put our guys in position to win. I’ve seen Shane communicate with guys.
Again, just like another four-year interview process that I had with Shane. I think the world of him. I think he’s a phenomenal coach. So happy to have him here on the staff. Like I said with Jonathan earlier.
I’m looking for good coaches. The net is cast, right? We looked at a bunch of people, of who we wanted to hire in those positions and it just kept coming back to those guys being the best candidates because of who they are as football coaches and people.
Q. You kept Jeff Stoutland. What went into that? (Paul Domowitch)
NICK SIRIANNI: His tape speaks for itself. When I first got to Indianapolis in 2018, Frank Reich obviously was here in ’17 with the Philadelphia Eagles. We watched a lot of Chargers tape where I was coming from and a lot of Philadelphia tape. You just saw his offensive line playing really well over and over again. You could see the fundamentals and technique that his offensive line played with. You could see how hard they played. That was noticeable, without even saying a thing.
Then to hear how Frank Reich talks about Coach Stout was unbelievable. He loves him and always talks about him. It was almost as if I knew him right after I took the job because I heard so much about him. Then to chat with him on the phone, it was a no-brainer. His résumé speaks for itself, a phenomenal coach that gets the best out of his players, and so excited he’s part of this staff.
Q. How involved were you with the game plan and the calling of plays with Frank Reich? Why are you ready to call plays for the first time in the NFL? (John Clark)
NICK SIRIANNI: There was a collaboration between myself, Frank, and the entire offensive staff for every portion of that game plan. For every portion of that game plan we all discussed the plays.
Frank and I were together six years in all. As we go through the game, Frank would communicate with me and talk to me and ask me about, ‘Hey, what do you think here, what do you think there?’
When you call plays in the NFL, it’s a collaboration, it’s a collaboration of everybody. The hard work of how you call plays is Monday through Saturday. It’s truly Monday through Saturday. Being in those meetings together, everybody being in the meetings together, thinking about the plays first, then taking that game plan and spelling it out to the quarterback and seeing what they like.
Then, when you get to later in the week, saying, ‘Okay, what is our first, third, and two to three call? Here is what it is. What do we call on second and 10, second and one, what do the tendencies say?’ That is constantly talked about throughout the week. If you’re doing that and putting in the hard work throughout the week, you’re going to be ready to call the game on Sunday.
Are there adjustments to be made? Absolutely. Are there things that pop up that you didn’t think you might see? Absolutely. But we’ve done that, we’ve done that together as a staff in Indianapolis. We did that together as a staff in the San Diego Chargers. I’m more than ready and excited to call a game here.
Again, have great support staff here with me to help me do that, just like Frank had with him in Indianapolis with his coaches.
Q. In your two-day interview with Jeffrey Lurie and everyone else, obviously Carson Wentz went through a steep decline this season, was that a prime topic of that interview, how to get him back on track? Do you have a timeframe for establishing a starter? Do you think it’s important to have one going into training camp, for instance? (Les Bowen)
NICK SIRIANNI: We talked about many things. We talked about, like Mr. Lurie mentioned, game planning, how we would attack defenses. We talked about leadership qualities and the things that go into that, communication skills. There was a wide variety of things that we talked about.
Of course, we talked about positions on the team as far as what we might be looking for as far as positions on the team. Again, many different things that we talked about: players, positions, coaching staff. It was all on the table.
As far as the starter, haven’t really thought about that yet and naming a starter. That hasn’t even crossed my mind. Again, just trying to evaluate the players on our team and get the staff together.
Q. I had a chance to talk with your college coach Larry Kehres who said amazing things about you. One of the things he said was you have a unique compassion for players, but specifically for players who have undergone adversity in their careers, like major injuries. It sounded to me, like I could kind of hear him talking Carson Wentz without saying that. Do you think the compassion you bring to players who have undergone adversity like major injuries is something that will help you work with Carson Wentz? Do you think you have the ability to, I don’t want to say reform him, but help bring him back to what he was before? (Jamie Apody)
NICK SIRIANNI: The reason I’ve become like that was because of Larry Kehres. I had a major injury that I went through my sophomore year in college. I was in the hospital for 10 days or so. He came into the hospital room right before we played. We had a game that Saturday. I got hurt in practice. He came in the hospital room where I was sitting with my parents the day of the game, early morning before he went into the stadium. All he told me was, ‘We’re going to miss you today.’ That’s all he really needed to say to me.
That meant so much to me as a player. I looked at him, I didn’t say anything, but I thought in my mind, ‘If I can come back from this injury, I’m going to try to do everything I can do for you to be an All-American.’ I wasn’t. I didn’t have the talent to do that. But that meant a lot to me.
Again, you take these things from different areas that you’ve learned and you put them into how you coach. So I learned that from him. That was one of the things I learned from him.
So, yes, I think I’ve always taken that opportunity when a player’s going through something to at least explain the adversity that I’ve been through. That’s a form of connecting. Again, that’s why I talked about that as number one, good football teams, they connect with each other. That’s a form of connecting.
You can’t just connect in the good times. You can’t just connect in the bad times. It’s through both. But sometimes through that adversity, it gives you a great chance to really connect to a guy. Of course, I look forward to connecting with each player on this team through good and bad times. Being able to share that story with them and hopefully helping them get through hard times.
It’s worked for me in the past and will continue to do what’s worked for me. But really when it comes down to it, it’s just caring about people and the players on your team.
Q. In the last three years in Indianapolis you had three different starting quarterbacks. How do you think that prepares you for handling the quarterback situation here, if you have to decide between Carson and Jalen? Does that mean you’re not particularly married to one quarterback in particular? (Martin Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think all that means is that we figured out ways — the job of our football team, our football coaches, is to figure out ways to win each game. There’s always a way to win each game. We just have to figure out what it is.
It’s the same thing. I think it’s the same thing that we’ve went through in Indianapolis. We had to figure out a way to win with each quarterback. And not only are we going to have to figure out a way to win with each quarterback, but figure out a way to win with each offensive line, each running back, each receiver, each defensive lineman, each safety, and each corner. That’s going to be the key, again, to figure out what our players do the best and form our system off of that.
Q. Looking at the NFL, all but one team that won a division had a veteran coach. What do you need to do as a young coach in gaining the respect and having the players do for you what they do obviously for veteran coaches? (Howard Eskin)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think a lot of it starts with the five things that I mentioned in the core values, right? Connecting. The constant competition. The accountability. Everybody wants to be coached hard and be held accountable. I know that. Having a smart football team and teaching the ins-and-outs of doing that. Then the fundamentals.
I really believe this. The first part of connecting, in my opinion, is when a player looks at you and he starts to feel like this guy can get me better, right? That’s where the connection can really come.
We feel like we get players better through those core values that we have that are important to our football team. Once those players feel and know that we’re doing everything we can to get them better, that’s what they want. They want to reach levels that coaches can bring them to, right? They have all the talent. Can we get them to play a little bit better than their talent level?
I think that’s the start of the connection and that’s the start of when you’re building something really special, when they can raise their level because they trust you and believe in you as a coach.
Q. Can you tell us one way or the other whether Carson Wentz will be back with the Eagles next year? (Howard Eskin)
NICK SIRIANNI: I can’t answer that. Again, evaluating everything. Evaluating everything. Again, there’s a lot of things to go through. Evaluating everything.
Q. To get back to your coaching staff a little bit with Jonathan and Shane and you also bring in Michael Clay. Shane has been a coordinator in the past, but the other guys would be first-timers. You would be a first-time play-caller. Did you give any thought about being a CEO-type coach, maybe to oversee everything as opposed to play calling? On Brian Johnson, because you didn’t have the relationship with him, what stood out about him to make you think he could coach the quarterback position on that day-to-day basis? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: That’s a great question. Of course, we thought through everything. Everything was on the table as far as what you’re saying as far as being the CEO and the play-caller or just the CEO. Of course, we thought through all of that. With my expertise in offense, we just all thought that would be the best direction to go to call the plays.
As far as Brian, he came in here and interviewed with us and just did a phenomenal job. He showed why at a young age he was the offensive coordinator for the Florida Gators. Just a really sharp guy who really believed all the things that I spelled out here with the core values. He just really believed in those things. He knew how he was going to intertwine that into coaching.
I hate to go back to Indianapolis, but again, you pull from different experiences that you’ve been in. We hired a coach in Indianapolis when we first got there from college. We hired a college offensive coordinator, Tom Manning. The things that he brought to us to open up our offense a little bit more that we still run to this day really helped us become harder to defend. It helped us fit our players. This player fits this scheme from the college game. That was really important to us in our first year and the years moving forward in Indianapolis.
Again, Brian, a great human being, great person, great fundamentally, great scheme-wise. Again, he’s just super sharp. Then on top of that, he gives us the ability to take some things from the college game to make our offense just become a little bit more difficult to defend. That was another thing that was really attractive about Brian.
Q. On final cutdowns will you have final say over the 53-man roster? Then on game day will you have the final say on the game day roster, and how interested are you in being a part of the conversation in terms of free agent acquisitions and the draft? (Jimmy Kempski)
NICK SIRIANNI: Howie has final say over the 53. I believe I have the say over the 47 on game day of what we need to go through the game and get into the game, the pieces that we need.
As far as picking the players and helping pick the players, I really look forward to working with Howie and his staff to help get the players in here that we feel like fit to what we want to do offensively and defensively.
Again, we work with what we have, but there are players where we are like, ‘This player has this skill set, we’d love to use him for these couple things we’ve had success with in the past.’ Really look forward to doing that, first evaluating our team, then doing that with Howie, having those conversations about what we need as an offense, what skill set for the certain types of things we like to do offensively and defensively.
Really look forward to doing that with him because I think the best organizations I’ve been on are the ones that work together at that.