Nick Sirianni

Q. Can you confirm that WR A.J. Brown is out? And how that will affect you, if so? (Jeff McLane)

NICK SIRIANNI: It was going to be a stretch for A.J. to play. He did everything he possibly could to get himself ready. Obviously, you all saw the reports. It’s not looking like he’s going to go, but he fought like crazy to try to do everything he could do to do so, which doesn’t surprise me at all about A.J. He’s tough and he’d do anything for his teammates. Unfortunately, he won’t be able to rip it this week.

Q. Ideally, do you want one guy to kind of fill that spot or will it be a rotation? (Dave Zangaro)

NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, no, y’all know what I’m going to say. It’s going to be similar to when you asked me about [TE] Dallas [Goedert], or, whoever else, it’ll be different guys, and really excited about our guys.

I mean, I think that’s been a big-time strength – or one of our big strengths as a team — is the pass catchers we have. And when you look at it, you think about A.J., you think about Dallas, you think about [WR] DeVonta [Smith]. And then you think about [RB] D’Andre [Swift] and the role that he has, as well. And I’m not even mentioning [WR] Julio [Jones] and those guys, and [WR] Quez [Watkins] and OZ [WR Olamide Zaccheaus], who’ve made plays throughout the year, as well, so excited for those guys to get a little bit more opportunity.

Obviously, you always miss the contributions that A.J. makes. He’s a phenomenal player, but really excited about the opportunity. And I know we’ve got – one reason we’re in this game and in this position is because of the pass catchers we have, in addition to A.J. Brown.

Q. Any second guesses about how you approached last week? (Zach Berman)

NICK SIRIANNI: No, no. We went through it, like you guys asked me before, ‘why did we do it.’ Not knowing what the game was, you know, wanting to put a good output on there. I know that those things didn’t – neither of those things happened. But no. Obviously, you can look back on anything.

At that time, I did what I thought was best for the team, and I’ll stick by that. And so, I don’t regret — am I upset that A.J. is not playing because he got dinged in that game? Of course, I am. But no, I don’t second guess that decision.

Q. At what point did you guys know that WR A.J. Brown would be out? What time did the planning kind of start whenever– (Brooks Kubena)

NICK SIRIANNI: I don’t think that’s fair. I don’t think that’s relevant. We made plans with or without him. I won’t get into, ‘hey, we knew this day or that day.’ So, like I said, he fought all week to try to try to get ready. It was always going to be a stretch. We always knew it was going to be a stretch. And yeah, he won’t be in.

Q. How did you assess QB Jalen Hurts throwing the ball yesterday? And does that give you more confidence that he’ll be more himself and what you’ve come to expect on Monday? (Rob Kuestner)

NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, I thought we had a really good practice as a team. Jalen had a good practice. Obviously, everyone’s going to be fighting through things, he’s fighting through the finger injury, but he had a good practice yesterday so excited for him and this opportunity. Really excited. I mean, the energy and the juice in this building today of being here and in the playoffs again. We’re really excited. We can’t wait. We can’t wait to be in this game against a really good opponent. You play a long season to get to this moment right here. And we’re really excited to go.

Q. When it comes to challenges with an injury like that, from your perspective, is it more from the throwing or being able to handle the ball? (Tim McManus)

NICK SIRIANNI: Good question. I think it’s everything you think about with those. I remember [former NFL QB] Carson Palmer a couple years ago, he would hand the ball off like this, he had some thumb injury on his right hand so he would hand it off back handedly. So I mean, anytime with a finger injury or a hand injury or any sort [of injury] you think about all those different things. Like I said, he had a good practice yesterday, he was able to go back into the game, and I know how tough he is and how much grit he has to fight through different things. So yeah, I believe in Jalen and I believe in the guy.

Q. S Kevin Byard said that CB Avonte Maddox played some safety with S Reed Blankenship being out. Why do you like him there? (Jeff McLane)

NICK SIRIANNI: Avonte plays all over the place and gets reps with guys all over the place. There are times where we go to four-wide personnel just to get some different looks there, but that doesn’t really mean anything. You’re getting guys reps at different spots.

Sometimes you work dime, and so [S] Kevin [Byard] plays dime, which means he’s playing linebacker, so guys mix around there. Avonte has flexibility. So, we rep guys at different spots throughout the week to make sure that, you know — obviously different than college football, we can only have you know, 50 guys up, 48 or whatever it is. So, you have to rep different guys at different spots.

And that’s the same thing on special teams. Today we’ll rep our emergency quarterback out there to take reps, behind [QB] Jalen [Hurts] and [QB] Marcus [Mariota] and [QB] Tanner [McKee], we shouldn’t have an emergency quarterback after that. So, you do that with every position. D’Andre working in the slot. You just have different things like that throughout your game plan of guys getting reps.

And so, yeah, I feel confident with Avonte everywhere because Avonte is a really good player.

Q. You’re doing so because you’re potentially down two safeties? (Jeff McLane)

NICK SIRIANNI: We do so every week.

Q. But two safeties down is going to require moves at the position. (Jeff McLane)

NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, but we do so, like that stuff every week, and so, that’s just standard operating procedure.

Q. How’s S Reed Blankenship coming along and what’s the plan for S Sydney Brown’s roster spot? (Zach Berman)

NICK SIRIANNI: Obviously we still have time to make a decision on Sydney’s roster spot. We’ll go through practice today, we’ll go through the rest of the week and make that decision. Don’t have any information for you on there.

As far as [S] Reed [Blankenship], he’s progressing. He’s got a chance, probably be a little bit more of a game-time decision with him, but he’s going to go out there and work today. We’ll see how he feels. We’ll work him again tomorrow, probably work out on the field on Monday night. And so, you know, we’re hopeful that he can go, but we’ll see.