Q. What strides have you seen DT Jordan Davis make week-to-week specifically in his early downs? (Josh Tolentino)
NICK SIRIANNI: I just think he’s getting a little bit better each week. He’s a big man who has to continue to learn how to play in the NFL against other big men. So, he’s getting better each week. He’s doing a good job. He had his best game to date last game, and again he’s just in that mindset, the growth mindset of how he gets better every day. He’s got the strength, he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the size to be really good. It’s just him learning, just like how we talk about with [QB] Jalen [Hurts] all the time of hey, what do you see in his strides. Well, he’s getting accumulated reps, right and figuring out how to play and that’s what you’re seeing with [DT] Jordan [Davis].
Q. In what ways have QB Jalen Hurts’s responsibilities grown pre-snap? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: I would say, it’s been similar throughout the past year. Obviously, we try to do our best as coaches to make it simple for him to look for things so he can go out there and execute and play. I think it’s pretty similar. You might give him one or two more checks or opportunities. Maybe last year we built things in for him a little bit more and now this year we’re saying, ‘If you see this, get to that.’
There’s definitely growth in it. I think it’s similar if you go back to when we had [former Indianapolis Colts QB] Philip Rivers or [former Indianapolis Colts QB] Andrew Luck, we don’t try to put too much on these guys because we want them to be able to play fast and play free. It’s the same thing there.
So, you might have a little bit more here and there. But again, you have to be careful of that and you have to guard yourself on that of when you let your quarterback try to put you in a perfect play each time. That doesn’t work either. Sometimes when you do that you get down to the one-second on the play clock and you’re clapping for the ball. There’s a balance in it and he’s definitely had some more growth with that but again the more he can handle, the more we have to guard ourselves on how much you still give him.
Q. You said that when there were some blitzes, some of the answers for QB Jalen Hurts were on the outside last week and he took them. It seemed like a few times though, you guys didn’t have numbers there. What kind of answers do you give him when there are free men blitzing from the inside? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: That’s a scheme thing that I think our opponents would want as well so I’m going to keep some of that in-house. But everything we do is trying to have an answer to take a hit off him or everything we do is going to try to have an answer — every time you think about game planning a defense, you have to think about the unique defenses they do and how those can cause issues for and have an answer for that.
The answer could be different every time, and I’m trying to answer your question as best I possibly can without giving too much information. The answer is going to be a little bit — sometimes it’s going to be an inside thing and sometimes it’s going to be an outside thing and sometimes it’s going to be a shot down the field and sometimes it’s going to be a screen like we had some last week. It’s never the same against the blitzes that they bring, right. It’s always going to be a little different because when you’re the same, it’s the same thing we always talk about. You give tells to the defense, right. And so if it was always a short thing, then they are going to play off of that as well. So, there’s got to be variety to it. And we are very conscious of that, and we’re thinking about that a lot.
Q. What kind of growth have you seen overall from QB Jalen Hurts in handling the blitz? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think really well. I think that you’re seeing — I think last year, you saw – he’s doing things like even when he scrambles, right, you’re seeing him chunk it down the field. I read something a player on the Cardinals said last week: every time he goes right he throws it, and every time he goes left, he runs it, but he could throw it. Well, I don’t think that’s true. I’ve actually seen him growing there that he’s breaking out-of-the-pocket and he’s making plays with both his feet and his arm to the right or the left.
They brought one more than we could protect on the third and 12 last week, right, the big play of the game, right, the one we talked so much about. The one to [TE] Dallas [Goedert] on the last drive. They brought one more than we can block. They brought one right off the edge. [RB] Kenny [Gainwell] free release right there, we kind of blocked the free safety because they brought six, we had five, boom, and now, did he run there? No. He stood in there, threw a bullet to Dallas for one of the biggest conversions we’ve had this year and the biggest play of that game.
The answer is, to me, he has more variety to his game in that.
Q. You guys have run the ball well in the red zone, where do you feel like the passing game is in the red zone and is that an area you’d like to see sharper? (Reuben Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: No, I always look at where we are in the red zone, you want to score touchdowns every single time you get down in there. That’s our goal, we have a certain goal and I think we are a little short of what our goal is. You always want to be in the Top-5, Top-10 and we are in the top, I think we are eighth in red zone.
But, we’re a little short of what our goal is. So, you’re looking for ways to improve it. We know that we have the ability to run the ball down there but again, you don’t want to be too predictable, either. So, you’re looking to marry things. You’re looking to mesh things together.
I thought in the Jacksonville game, we had some opportunities to make some plays there in the pass game on that just because that was the way it was going, and we missed a couple of those opportunities, whether it was a coaching thing or whether it was an execution thing, this or that. Obviously, we always want it improve there and that’s always a focus for us of how we are going to improve passing the ball in there and using our play-makers down there.
Q. In the 2021 draft what was your view of Cowboys LB Micah Parsons coming out and how did you expect him to be used in the NFL? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: I thought obviously he was a really outstanding player. I remember that bowl game he had against Memphis because I think we were watching, actually, was [RB] Kenny [Gainwell] in that game, too? I think he was. I remember that bowl game that he had, I think it was the year before it and just thinking how much of a dynamic playmaker he is. To say that I remember the plan that we had if we were going to draft him, I don’t remember. I think I was lobbying pretty hard for [WR] DeVonta [Smith]. So, I was thinking more about that.
But yeah, I just remember how much of a playmaker he is and he was, and being at Penn State, so a lot of respect for him. He’s doing the same things he was doing at Penn State and he’s doing it at a high level in the NFL.
Q. Speaking of playmakers, Cowboys CB Trevon Diggs, a corner who maybe gambles a little more. Not everybody does that. As an offensive guy, how do you approach that when you’re talking to the quarterback because it can work both ways? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: Sure, we were upstairs talking about it just now, you have got to be alert for where [Cowboys LB Micah] Parsons is, you have got to be alert for where [Cowboys DE Demarcus] Lawrence is and you have to be alert for where he is. I was with [Cowboys S] Malik Hooker in Indy and he has got great ball skills. You have got to be alert where he is because he can turn the ball over.
As far as [Cowboys CB Trevon] Diggs goes, you’ve just got to be alert, he housed once against us last year in the first game, so you’ve got to be alert for where he is and understand the routes that you have on against him. He’s a really good playmaker. The guy that he reminds me of just because being in the division, you think about all the guys you play, he reminds me of a [Ravens CB] Marcus Peters type, that you make a mistake with him, so if you make a mistake, he’ll make you pay, and that’s the sign of a good corner. He’ll make you pay if you make a mistake. So, we’ve got to be on our fundamentals. We have to be on our details, and we have got to be on our reads because we know they have the playmakers over there on defense to make you pay if you’re not.
Q. Cowboys Head Coach Mike McCarthy just said that QB Cooper Rush is starting. What do you know about him and are you surprised? I think a lot of us are, at the level of success they have enjoyed with him at quarterback. (Breland Moore)
NICK SIRIANNI: Hats off to Dallas that they have done such a great job. They lost one of their best players and one of the better players in the league and they keep rolling. They have won four in a row without [Cowboys QB] Dak [Prescott], and to me, that’s the playmakers that they have around [Cowboys QB] Cooper [Rush], and it’s also coaching. They have done a really good job. We definitely know more about Cooper Rush than we did last year at this time because there’s more games on him. We’ll study the crap out of those games and have a plan for it, and I know we already do have a plan for it. But he’s doing a nice job.
Yeah, I have to give credit to Cooper Rush, too, right. He’s going out there and he’s executing and he’s putting them in a position to help them win. So a lot of respect there, but you know, like I said, we do have more tape on him than the Rams did or than the Giants did or than the — I don’t remember that order that they played. But good job to these guys of putting them in position to succeed.
Q. Going walk through today, are you leaning on player data like sports science stuff or is that purely feel? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: A little bit of both. It’s how our guys are feeling, where we are at right now coming off the rest, what the data was on some of their workouts, so it’s a little bit of everything.
Again, I have to get all the information that I can from every different department, and then I have to do what’s best for the football team, right. So I have to take the data. I have to take the trainers, all the different elements and what great resources we have here at the Philadelphia Eagles, unlike any organization I’ve ever been at, the resources that we have. But at the end of the day, I have to make a decision on what’s best for the football team and this is what I thought it was today.
Q. Is there a conversation with the captains, too? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think they are going to always want to practice. They are always going to want to go. But I discuss with them, I always have a leadership council meeting every Saturday. I’m going to discuss everything with them.
So, they are definitely kept in the loop.
Q. Last year the Cowboys put up 96 on you, I know 51 came against your backups. Do you use stuff like that as a motivational tool going into this game? (Ed Kracz)
NICK SIRIANNI: Last year was last year and we are in a new year. Somebody asked me something about that. Like you know, because we got new players, right. Like [S] Chauncey [C.J. Gardner-Johnson] doesn’t care that they scored 96 last games. [WR] A.J. [Brown] doesn’t care they scored 96 last two games that we played them. We are here. We can’t control that, right. We can only control where we are at today. We are not looking behind us. We are not looking ahead of us. We are looking at what we have to do to go 1-0 today so we can go 1-0 this weekend.