Q. Do you have a decision today on if QB Jalen Hurts is starting? (Chris Franklin)
NICK SIRIANNI: It’s trending in the right direction. Again, we’re going to see how today goes. He’s trending in the right direction. We feel good about it. We have to see how today goes. [Jokingly] That’s why I meet with you guys beforehand, so I don’t have to tell you that answer.
Q. If you can’t make a decision now, what would change the decision or what would alter it? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, you’re just seeing how he feels after the fact. The major thing is I don’t have to tell you guys yet. I’m not quite there yet and we still are thinking through everything.
So again, it’s just like anything, you aren’t quick to just say exactly what you think might happen because there are obviously circumstances that could happen and there are things [that could affect] the way he could feel today and all those different things.
Q. Has he been cleared for contact? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: Has he been cleared for contact? We say he’s clear to play or he’s not clear to play. We don’t say contact.
Again, that’s the thing we’ll talk with the doctors about after today’s practice, but to say contact, it’s really going to be if he’s ready to play or not.
Q. What is your comfortability level like with him being able to take hits to his shoulder? (EJ Smith)
NICK SIRIANNI: If he’s ready to play, we’ll play him. It’s really as simple as that. If we feel like he’s trending in the right direction and after today’s practice and after he goes through his rehab today and all those different things that he’s ready to go, the contact, the hits, the throwing, everything is obviously taken into account.
That’s why I’m trying to clarify. We don’t segment anything, it’s just like he’s ready to play or not ready to play.
Q. What are some differences you see in this week versus what he was able to do last week? (Ed Kracz)
NICK SIRIANNI: Obviously he’s done more this week. He’s done a little bit more this week. I thought he threw the ball well last week, but you’re talking about the healing that’s going on, things that you can’t see. It’s things going on in there. It’s healed one week further out from when it happened.
Q. I know it’s a physical game, so there is always some risk, but what is your understanding of the level of risk of reinjury for QB Jalen Hurts at this stage with the shoulder? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, everything is taken into account. We’re not going to want to put anybody out there if they’re going to hurt themselves worse than what it is. In certain scenarios, there will be some things — everything obviously is taken into account. I’m trying to explain this the right way.
If a guy is not completely healed and he can hurt himself more, we always think about that. We’re not going to want to put them in a position to do that.
Q. With him specifically do you worry about his competitive nature taking over and him taking those unnecessary hits if he plays? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, I think he’s savvy about how he goes down. It’s going to be more so some different things of how we talk to him about that and tell him, ‘Hey, we don’t want to you take this hit here or there.’
Sure, he’s competitive and he’s going to want to go out and do everything he can do, but he also has to understand regardless of with the shoulder or without the shoulder, that he has to be smart of when takes hits and when he doesn’t take hits, and we have to be smart ourselves as to how we call that as well.
Q. Is S C.J. Gardner-Johnson trending in the direction to be activated? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: He’s doing a good job. Again, we’ll see how today’s practice goes and how everything goes throughout today’s practice, but he’s done a nice job and we’re hopeful.
Again, I won’t say that he is yet. I want to see what goes down at practice today. But we’re hopeful there. We’ll see what happens. He’s had a good week of practice as well.
Q. Given RB Miles Sanders is still on the injury report with his knee, and also earlier in the week his emotions involved with being close with Buffalo Bills S Damar Hamlin, how has Miles looked in practice? (Josh Tolentino)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think [RB] Miles [Sanders] has had a good week of mental preparation, and also a good week of practice. Obviously, you guys can talk to Miles about it. I don’t want to ever speak for him, especially in something like this, but I can’t imagine what he had to go through mentally this week because I know they’re really close.
So, we just tried to be there for Miles. I could see the guys put their arm around Miles and, we’re just thrilled obviously and thankful that [Buffalo Bills S] Damar [Hamlin] is getting better first and foremost. But you tend to think about your guys also in that scenario.
So, I think Miles had a great week of preparation, and sometimes when you come in this building or you go out to the field, there is an escape from some of the things that you might be having to go through. I think the thing that you find out in these moments is just how precious everything is, how precious life is.
But then also, when you start to talk to different guys and you’re sharing stories, like whoa, there are other people going through stuff as well. That just creates a bond to be close and you have empathy for people going through hard things because you know that you have been through hard things, your teammate has been through hard things, whatever it is.
So, yeah, I saw guys putting their arm around Miles and checking in on him, coaches, players. I think that in a tough time like that that’s obviously a big thing for a team to be able to have, and have 70 people here, just your teammates and then all the rest of the building that care about you and care about you as a person and just want what’s best for you.
Q. If someone told you before the first game that you would be in this spot going into the week 18 playing for the top seed, what would have said? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: What do you think I would’ve said?
Q. One game at a time. (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: [Laughter] I would’ve definitely said, ‘Hey, I’m thinking about one game at a time.’ But I’ll make sure I humor your question here. Yeah, of course you would say, ‘Heck yeah, where do I sign up?’
That’s where we are, and so our job is to go out there and execute. Our job is to go out there and coach our butts off to give ourselves a chance to win this week. Then we’ll take that one play at a time. But we would say, where do we sign up and we would have gotten into like, okay, but let’s go play the Lions here and worry about today’s practice first.
Q. This is the first time you’ve had a losing streak this year. How do you think the guys have responded to the challenge, the adversity? (Reuben Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: I’ve noticed at practice this week that’s it’s business as usual. It’s the dawg mentality. I’ve drug myself through the mud for each and every one of us of what happened and held ourselves accountable to what happened in that football game, and then I move on and I fix those things in attempts to get better, and now I’m just worried about one day at a time.
To me, I felt like we had a really crisp practice yesterday. We had a great walk-through the day before. What I felt like it’s just been, ‘Hey, here we are. We’re here. We’re here. We’re here. We’re here. We’re not worried about there. We fixed what happened here.’ Because dawg mentality is not like, ‘Hey, here. You forget about this,’ — and this is the past, this is the future [smiling].
You don’t forget about this, you make yourself better from this, right? But once you get here, you build that confidence back up of where you are right now and what you’ve done so far and be better from that but be totally focused on this day.
That’s what I felt like. Listen, what I keep telling you and the guys keep saying it, like ‘That’s green, that’s green, that’s green, that’s green’ or ‘Hey, that’s blue, that’s blue, that’s blue, that’s blue, that’s blue, that’s blue’ so eventually you’re like, ‘Yeah, that is blue.’
That’s what we talk about at all times. Doesn’t matter if you’re coming off a two-game win streak, a two-game losing streak, 8-0, 2-5, whatever. That’s the mindset of the team. That’s the mindset of the culture. That’s the mindset that we want everybody to have.
I think we have great leaders here on our football team and that’s to me the best teams think that way.