Nick Sirianni

Q. WR AJ Brown on Wednesday was giving an example of your loyalty and pointed to the last Seattle play in which he said that him and QB Jalen Hurts were kind of improvising there. Checked to a play, probably wasn’t the time and place to do it, yet in the following press conference you kind of like took the bullets there and maybe not explaining it in the way that you probably could have because you were protecting your players. Why do that? (Jeff McLane)

NICK SIRIANNI: I think that’s just what a lot of coaches do, and that’s something I’ve always done and always thought when a coach did that for me was appreciative of it. Also knew that coach was going to correct it after the fact.

But knowing that when I played — and that was a long time ago — knowing a coach had my back was really important to me. You’re a product of the things you went through. I felt like that would be important to them as well, and then we move on and correct the mistakes we make from that, myself and the players.

Q. How did you handle that, and is that difficult to like in a prideful way when you really know exactly what happened and you can’t explain it? (Jeff McLane)  

NICK SIRIANNI: No, I mean, pride is always — pride is a thing that’s always dangerous. I’ve seen too many times where pride is something that deteriorates teams. You have to put pride aside and just say how you believe to do it.

So no, I don’t find that hard because we’re a team. Like I say to you guys all the time, the best thing I can be here right now at 42 years old is be part of a football team. That’s special. That’s what teams do, and that’s what good teams do.

Q. The other part is why they’re improvising in that moment. Is that something that you are okay with? What type of freedom does Jalen have in that respect? (Tim McManus)

NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, he has total freedom to do what he needs to do to make a play. Sometimes that’s going to work and sometimes that’s not going to work.

Freedom is being able to go up to the — like it’s very rare — not very rare, but when you have success on offense, you’re going to see different things that you didn’t anticipate getting on tape.

That’s happened to us multiple times this year, where there are things that are happening that you don’t anticipate on tape, and sometimes you make those adjustments on the sideline, sometimes the player makes the adjustments.

That’s what you work so hard through the training camps and OTAs, here is what we like versus this, versus this. Yes, this has answers versus this or this has answers versus everything, but this is an ideal thing to get to in these scenarios.

So, you constantly talk about those things. Like I said, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it’s the right time to do it and sometimes it’s not the right time.

I always say this, and Frank Reich used to talk to me about this, one of the greatest backup quarterbacks of all-time, right, he’s like a quarterback is going to make four to five plays in a game with his mind that are going to change the game.

Sometimes that’s something that he sees and it’s part of a check, and sometimes it’s something that he sees that he gets to. I just think that’s standard practice from high school football to — probably more so in college football, to NFL football.

[Jokingly] Does La Salle change plays at the line of scrimmage? I don’t know. But I think St. Joe’s Prep probably does. [Laughter]

I think that’s standard practice from within, and that’s what you’re trying to do. That’s why you’re trying to always be on the same page with the players.

So, gosh, I think Jalen does a really good job of that. Has done a lot of good things with that.

When it doesn’t go right, like in particular in that game, you have to be able to say, ‘okay, we’ll fix it. This might not have been the time to do it, or this was the right time to do it.’

No one is going to bat a thousand within those decisions. I know this: He’s doing this a lot more and it’s working than it’s not working in that particular case.

Q. In Kansas City whenever you made the check to a play that worked, in those instances where it did work and this one where it didn’t, what was the fix? (Brooks Kubena)

NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, I mean, again, every situation is a little bit different. He made a great check in Kansas City, and I think sometimes it’s very easy to say, ‘well, this check worked. The check was successful. This check wasn’t successful.’

So there is no way you can look at it that way, because then you’ll stymie the quarterback and stymie the players to be able to do these things in the time. You correct it if it wasn’t the right time or not, but sometimes it’s — and I think that’s — we look at the result, right?

You can do that in football all the time. Like you see it all the time. Well, they should have done this here. Why? Because this one didn’t work. Yeah, you’re always going in with a why, why you would do something, but we obviously and ultimately are judged on the result, which is fair. That’s fine. We know that.

But that’s not the same in coaching. You have to look at it and say, okay, this one worked, this one didn’t, and when is the right time to do it. We understand we’re going to get judged based off the result of it.

Q. What’s your view of the public accountability versus in-house accountability, because the other side of falling on the sword for a player is holding them publicly accountable? (Zach Berman)

NICK SIRIANNI: I just think there are things that don’t need to be addressed to the outside world, and we keep things in-house. Just like a conversation with a player, I’m never going to talk to you guys about private conversations I had with a player because that’s between us.

Same thing with a play. Like nobody really needs to know in those scenarios. All that matters is that we know, and all that matters is that we get better from whatever we did from it. If the play worked, we get better from that. If the play didn’t work, we get better from that.

This whole team, our third core value is accountability, and that’s a portion of it. So, the portion of accountability I care about is what happens in this building. That was nice of AJ to say that. He didn’t have to say that.

All I really care about is the accountability takes place here and that’s all that matters. That’s all that matters is if we’re getting better as a unit and that we’re getting better as a team based off the mistakes we made and the good things we have done.

Q. You mentioned the labelling. AJ Brown used the term improv, free-lancing other people say, versus an audible, checking in the normal course of the offense. So that’s what it was? (John McMullen)

NICK SIRIANNI: Same. Yeah, they checked to a play in that situation. That’s what it was. Just like he checked to a play in the Kansas City game and it worked. This one didn’t work.

Q. With respect to Jalen Hurts, there is some tangible evidence that, I don’t know if you want to say took a step backwards, more turnovers, not running the ball as effectively. Do you look at that and take any onus on that? Do you look at the season as a whole and say, all right, he wasn’t quite as productive as he was the year before? Is that something on us? (Mike Sielski)

NICK SIRIANNI: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Now, do I think Jalen has played really good football? Hell yeah he’s played really good football.

As a team, like I said before we got into the skid we’re in, he’s the No. 1 player in the — as people would talk through as far as MVP. Now we’re on a skid. We lost four out of the last five, and that goes away. If any player of ours plays bad, we take onus on that.

Hell yeah. That’s our job to make them play well and help them play well. We are there to serve the players. That’s why I say — I know you think maybe at times when I say blame me for that, I truly believe that if a player is not playing to the best of his ability, that’s on me.

Now that doesn’t mean we don’t correct the mistakes they made and hold them accountable and say, ‘hey, blindly that’s on me.’ That’s not what you do. You go in and correct the stuff.

If the detail is off, it’s a combination, right? Okay, the execution and the detail wasn’t there, but did I coach it as well as I needed to?

So, yeah, any time you feel — if AJ had a bad game, I would say that’s on me. I didn’t prepare you or put you in the right position to make a play.

We serve the players. Obviously, all of us that are coaches now, sure we wish we could still play. I wish I would have been able to play at this level. They just told me I wasn’t good enough to.

Of course we want to play.

Then when we get into this role, something that’s special about it is that you’re helping others do what they want to accomplish. When AJ [Brown] or [WR] DeVonta [Smith] scores a touchdown that’s a special thing for us as coaches. That’s why we’re going so crazy because we helped them get there.

If we’re going to be so excited when they do something right, and know that we served them to help them get there, then it has to be the other way around, too, when it’s not the right way and what could we have done better in that scenario.