Nick Sirianni

Q. Can you talk about what went into changing the schedule today? I think you were originally scheduled for a walk-through, what’s the thinking there? (Reuben Frank)

NICK SIRIANNI: Just that we have extra time this week and an extra day where our guys’ bodies feel good and we want to work some fundamentals and do some different things.

This time of year, you don’t get these very often because it’s late in the year and you don’t have the extra days. You want to get a lot of the walk-through reps. And we’re trying to combine both of them here by still getting a lot of walk-through reps, while also getting some stuff at speed and some individual stuff for some fundamental work.

Q. You guys had a lot of missed tackles in the last couple of games. Is that something you wanted to address with the practice? (EJ Smith)

NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, we’re always thinking about our fundamentals. It’s about what team is more physical. It’s about what team tackles better. It’s about what team blocks better. It’s about what team throws better, catches better, all those different things — and gets off blocks better, takes care of the ball better. Those are all fundamentals that we know are important and obviously critical to executing the game plan.

So, on the year, we’ve still been good at missed tackles. I think we’re third in missed-tackle percentage. But like I said, we want to get that extra work, and as we get later in the year to make sure that we are living up to the standard that we know we can live up to in tackling.

Q. Do you expect that QB Jalen Hurts, WR DeVonta Smith and WR A.J. Brown to practice today? (Eliot Shorr-Parks)

NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, we’ll see. We’ll obviously give you a report here in a little bit. We’ll go through everything. I kind of have a feeling of what they’re going to do. Some guys, we’re expecting guys to be able to go during the game and we’ll see how their bodies feel out there and how much they do out there today.

Q. You have the underdog hat on. Is that part of your messaging for this week heading into it? (Chris Franklin)

NICK SIRIANNI: No, I just like the hat. No.

Q. How much has your prior playoff experience helped you to get ready this year, and how much has it changed since you’re probably not going in as hot as you have been in the past? (John McMullen)

NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, you lean on all your experiences, whether that’s from previous years, previous teams, previous staffs, previous players, anything, you lean on all those experiences. And so we’re definitely leaning on that experience of being in the playoffs, making a deep run in the playoffs obviously last year.

You think through all that stuff, with travel, with everything. So, we obviously benefit from having experience. The guys on this team, the coaches on this team, like I kind of mentioned the other day.

Q. Jalen Hurts mentioned he’s never been through something like he went through with the dislocation of a finger. In talking to him, how does he seem, and any concern that he’ll be able to grip it and throw it the way you’re accustomed to him doing? (Rob Kuestner)

NICK SIRIANNI: I know that he’s tough and he’ll do everything that he can do to play through it. He went back in the game on Sunday after he had done it. And he was able — I imagine it hurt pretty good.

He’s not going to tell me that, though. Jalen’s tough and he’s not going to tell me how bad he’s hurting. But I just know how tough he is and how much he can fight through and how much pain he can withstand.

So obviously it will be a challenge. Obviously, it will be a challenge. And I know that he can overcome because he’s overcame so many different things throughout his football journey. And that’s what makes him special.

Q. Jalen Hurts said last week you guys meet once a week, coach/quarterback. What do those meetings generally cover? (Jeff McLane)

NICK SIRIANNI: Obviously we’ll keep all our stuff — we meet all the time. I’m in every quarterback meeting. We meet on the practice field. We meet on the way from one meeting to lunch. We meet individually as a group on Fridays to kind of go through the game plan one last time. I don’t know if he’s referring to that meeting. Do you know which one he’s referring to?

Q. He said there’s one on Saturday. (Jeff McLane)

NICK SIRIANNI: The Friday one’s more about pretty typical between a quarterback, head coach, offensive coordinator, quarterback coach. We talk about just the plan one more time.

Saturday is just a review of some of the different things — the openers, the third down, the red zone. I mean, that’s pretty typical, normal stuff.

But there’s just a ton of meetings throughout the week that myself and [Offensive Coordinator] Brian [Johnson] are always going to be involved in as far as with the quarterback. I think that’s just something that when things run smoothly when the play caller and the head coach are in that quarterback meeting, as that’s going around.

Because it is a really good meeting room with [QB] Marcus [Mariota] and [QB] Tanner [McKee] and Jalen, obviously, myself, Brian, [Senior Offensive Assistant] Marcus Brady’s in that meeting, [Quarterbacks Coach] Alex Tanney. So a lot of people in that meeting thinking through things, discussing through things. It’s kind of just a meeting where we get to talk freely about what we like, what we don’t like, et cetera.

Q. When is the opportunity for you to kind of do your connection thing with Jalen when it’s just you and him? (Jeff McLane)  

NICK SIRIANNI: That’s throughout the entire week. I pick different days with different guys to do that. And that’s not something that’s always a weekly thing because if you’re meeting weekly about — it’s just stuff that you go through, whether I’m in the stretch line talking to the guys or they come up to my office, that’s something I try to be intentional about with all of our guys.

But every setting doesn’t look exactly the same. It could be I walk through the training room and I sit down there for five minutes and talk to a guy. It could be I sit with a guy in the lunchroom, it could be I talk to him in the stretch line, or it could be in my office, a more formal setting.

Q. When you’re connecting, you try to find ways to connect with them, common bonds? You put yourself in their shoes. And players have mentioned various different things you’ve done with them whatever topic it might be. But what’s the one thing you go with with Jalen? (Jeff McLane)

NICK SIRIANNI: I will say this, with Jalen — again, I don’t want to discuss too much of our personal discussions — but we both love football, like, extremely love football.

And sometimes when two people love football that much, there’s not a lot of side conversations to be able to have because it always comes back to football.

Sometimes I value that relationship the most because it is something — you’re trying to find that common bond with guys and I love it when it’s football because I love football too.

Q. Pro Football Focus graded you guys as the best offensive line. Do you feel you guys have taken advantage of that strength enough this season offensively? (Bob Brookover)

NICK SIRIANNI: Obviously, these last couple of weeks have not been up to what we want to be able to do. But you look at — obviously at the end of the year, with that extra day, we kind of treated this week like a mini bye — not this week, but that Monday, like a mini bye.

Obviously, we didn’t get the bye this year, but to have that one extra day to go through different self-scout things was really important for us.

I don’t know if anybody ever wants to play the Monday night game, but we looked at it as a, hey, this is a big-time advantage for us, and it will be an advantage for teams that think it’s an advantage for them. So, we used that opportunity to look at that.

You can get into positions where — obviously again, like I said, we’re not right now playing and coaching where we want to be or where we had throughout the year. But we know that in first and second down, what do you really look at in first and second down? You look at yardage and points. We’re in the top 10 of both of those for the second year in a row.

You look at third down, I think we’re number three in third down. You look at red zone, we’re in the top 10 in red zone. Those are more really important statistical categories that you look at a lot to kind of think about — your numbers sometimes are what they say you are.

So, we know we’re a top 10 offense. We know we have the people in this building to be that. And, again, like I said, we’ve got to get back to playing like we have for the most part of the year.

Again, these last couple of weeks, not the most ideal way to go into the playoffs, but we’re already looking forward to getting back on track. And that O line, like you mentioned, has played their butts off. Very consistent. And we’ll lean on them through this postseason.

Q. Speaking of the last couple of weeks, TE Dallas Goedert said something on the radio yesterday that stood out. He acknowledged the mindset of not wanting to look ahead on the schedule, taking it day-by-day. But he also suggested that the team might have overlooked the Giants and Cardinals over these past three weeks — might have just coasted and expected your talent to win games. When you hear that, what do you think? (Dave Uram)

NICK SIRIANNI: Obviously we know the work we put in. We know the work that we put in to go out and play each week. I know those guys, you see them in the — I know there’s nobody coasting, when I’m in there, in the weight room watching those guys work out or practice or meetings or walk-through.

So, Dallas said what he said. And maybe that’s how he felt. He obviously said how he felt. I just know the guys have been consistent working. Nobody was satisfied with a playoff berth. I know that. It’s what it turned into, just a playoff berth, not an NFC Championship, not a No. 1 seed. It was a playoff berth.

And I know nobody was satisfied with that, just like nobody is satisfied with where we’re sitting right now, like, we’re in the playoffs. We want to go out and win this week and see what happens.

I just see the focus of our guys, and even through the ups of the season and through the downs of the season.

And I know that they’re ready to work today. They’re excited that we’re here in the playoffs. We obviously have waited a long time to be back into this spot. Not everybody gets to go to the playoffs for three years in a row or back-to-back years even.

So, we’re excited to be back in this spot because we know all our goals are ahead of us.

Q. On the defensive side Senior Defensive Assistant Matt Patricia was talking yesterday about how some parts of the front, how they — sometimes you guys use some edge rusher, heavy formations and later shifted more towards nickel to better handle the run. In your conversations with him, where do you feel is best for your defensive front? (Brooks Kubena)

NICK SIRIANNI: That depends on the team at times. You always want to do things that you do best. But not every team’s the same of how you attack defensively. Not every team’s the same as how you attack offensively.

But you have core values and beliefs as far as what you’re thinking. But, like I said, every game requires a little bit different. Those guys are studying it like crazy, trying to put them in the best spots to make plays against the style of defense you’re going against, also knowing that you’re going to get some copycat things and you’ve got to be ready and prepared to defend the different things that you may not have stopped before.

And so, I don’t know if there’s a clean answer to that as opposed to just, hey, what are they doing. Now what can remain the same is your violence and physicality. And that’s what we’re looking for is, regardless of what front or what people that we put out there, we know we really have a good defensive line, guys that we know we can lean on.

Just like Bob [Brookover] said with the offensive line. And we know we’re going to have to lean on them during this playoff run.

Q. What have you seen from DT Jalen Carter in his first year? What did he reveal? What did you all learn about him? (Brooks Kubena)

NICK SIRIANNI: That we drafted him at that place for a reason. And he’s done some really good things this year. And we’re looking for him to go out there and play physical and violent in this upcoming game.

Q. What was your messaging to your team as the players reconvened this morning? (EJ Smith)

NICK SIRIANNI: We just talked about our identity, who we are, and like I said, physical, violent. We talked about with the offense, don’t forget you’re a top 10 unit these past two years, or top, whatever, 8 unit, whatever we finished this year in scoring and offense, total offense. Don’t forget that.

And special teams has been doing a great job all season long. Just talked about our identity. I don’t think you come up with a new message because you got to the playoffs, you come back to who you are, what got you here. Even if you drifted a little bit from who you are, what got you there, just trying to get yourself back to that moment. And know we can have confidence that we’ve been here before and are ready to go up there and play a really good team that we’re facing this week.

Q. Jalen Hurts talked about not being able to find that identity throughout the season. Do you feel like that physical, violent — is that the identity you guys are trying to — (EJ Smith)

NICK SIRIANNI: That’s just how we’re built as a football team, with our offensive and defensive line. A lot of resources in there and a lot of good players. For the past three years we have been able to lean on those guys.

Again, nothing’s going to seem good during a losing streak that we’re on, but we know that getting back to that is going to be critical. We know how talented those guys are, how good of leaders they are. And we have good skill players, don’t get me wrong.

[Executive Vice President/General Manager] Howie’s [Roseman] done a great job in his philosophy of building the team with the offensive and defensive line. And it’s playoff time, and we know we can lean on them this time.

Q. Since you have been here, you’ve talked about how supportive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Lurie has been of you as an owner. When things are kind of down like this over the last week, do you hear from him more? What’s that interaction been with him? (Eliot Shorr-Parks)

NICK SIRIANNI: The same. The same. I look forward to talking to him when he’s out there at practice. He’s given me nothing but support since the moment I got here through a 2-5 start; through a win streak at the end of ’21; through winning 16 games last year, going to the Super Bowl; or 10-1 to start off or even losing five out of six, it’s been nothing but support. And the willingness to do whatever he needs to do on his end to help us win. You can’t ask for anything better than that.

It’s the only head-coaching job I’ve ever had. So obviously it’s ideal and I know how special it is because I know how other places are, too. I know how special this organization is because of Mr. Lurie.

Q. Brian Johnson is getting a couple of interviews. You went through that last year — obviously can’t start until next week — but has anything changed from helping him to just how you handle it? (John McMullen)

NICK SIRIANNI: You try to help him as much as you can prior to. And, two things, I try to help him as much as I can being the same person every day and teaching him what I know day-to-day, or bringing him in and saying maybe you’ll have to go through this just like people have done for me.

And same thing with Brian. You don’t just prepare for an interview in a week. You’ve been doing that your entire year.

When I interviewed for the Eagles job, we were off. We weren’t playing anymore. So I was able to just sit there and write down a bunch of thoughts. But I wasn’t struggling to write down thoughts; I knew exactly what I wanted to say; I knew exactly what I wanted to do. And that’s how it goes.

It’s not like a pop quiz — not a pop quiz; you don’t know that’s coming. It’s not like a final exam where you’re studying all these different things. It’s just what you know and what you have done.

So the preparation I guess to say has been done for these coaches. Now, that might take an hour or two of their time when they’re with that owner or with the search committee or anything like that. But all these coaches who are going for interviews now, their preparation has been done through the past 15, 20 years of their lives.

I know you guys asked about [Cardinals Head Coach Jonathan] Gannon last year, was he distracted. He’d been ready for that interview for 15 years. And he had been putting those things together for 15 years.

I think that’s a silly narrative that people put out there sometimes because it can be a narrative because if you don’t know what goes into all those things.

I know he didn’t talk to you guys about his interviews or anything like that. I don’t know when they’re happening. But I know he’s ready because he’s been getting ready for his entire life for this.