Q. Outside your locker room there is the greatest rivalries in the NFL, and the Eagles helmet and the Cowboys helmet, and just yesterday Dallas Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence had some things to say about your offense and QB Jalen Hurts and how they haven’t played you yet. Do you do any bulletin board material? Do you use any of that leading into a game like this? (Rob Kuestner)
NICK SIRIANNI: I’m not really into bulletin board material, to be quite honest with you, because our greatest motivation is to play for each other. This team loves each other. This is what is making this team a special team, is that they’re in it for each other and they’re in it to not let each other down, to play for each other.
That’s why we’re in it as coaches, to put our guys in positions to help them play great. That’s the motivation we need, is just, hey, for each other. I don’t want to let [QB] Jalen [Hurts] down. I don’t want to let [DT Fletcher] Fletch [Cox] down. That’s a contagious thing.
When all the guys want to play for each other, that’s when it’s a special thing. And, hey, [Dallas Cowboys DE] DeMarcus Lawrence is a great football player and we’re going to have to be ready for where he is no matter where he is on the field, so we know how good of a football player he is, and how good of a defense this is for that matter.
But we’re playing for each other, and that’s our greatest motivation.
Q. Tony Dungy said that you guys have spoken a few times and he said you spoke about fourth downs, game management, protecting leads. I guess what was the impetus of those conversations and why those topics in particular? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: Coach Dungy, first of all, any chance I can talk to Coach [Tony] Dungy, Coach [Jay] Wright, Coach [Larry] Kehres again, anybody I can talk to – Bill Parcells had an article that came out the other day — and I want to call Todd Haley, he was Todd’s mentor, and I want to get Bill’s number to talk to him, right, because I’m obsessed with how I get better.
If I want the team to be obsessed with how they get better, I need to be obsessed with how I get better. I’m going to continue to live that. I’ve lived that way for 41 years of my life, and I am going to continue to live that way.
But I’ll keep Coach Dungy and I’s conversation private just because I was asking him about a couple different things. One thing I can tell you is that his record when he went up 14 points in a game, I don’t know if you guys saw this, when Coach Dungy was up 14 points in a game, at any point in the game, his career record at Indy and at Tampa Bay was 80-1.
Can I find out what’s going on here? So, I’ll talk to anybody. That’s a huge thing that Coach Dungy would take my call. There is a media guy in Indianapolis that helped me out in getting in touch with him, so I’m thankful to him.
Any advice I can take from somebody like that is really good advice. There was a swimming team where I was in Carmel, Indiana, and it was Carmel High School, they had won like 35 state championships in a row. 35, or something insane like that. You guys can check my math on that. I was really set on talking to him and finding out what his secret was too, but then COVID hit and we weren’t able to get together on that. I’m looking for any way I can get better at all times.
Q. You had a few 14-0 leads this season that maybe you haven’t executed after that. What have you found to be the biggest reason why, or at least this past Sunday? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: 14-point leads that we blew?
Q. Well, I mean, this is the only one that — you got caught, but the other ones I guess you felt like in the second half… (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, those are things that I think that competitive advantage to give any of that out, but we’re constantly working on — that’s why I’m calling Coach Dungy and what’s his secret, right, and studying different things like that.
So, I definitely feel like we’ve made strides. Now, did that reflect that? We were up 14-nothing in the last game and we won by three. Did it reflect in the last game? No. But not every game is going to play out the same.
So just, again, working to make sure that we protect or 14-point leads when we get them.
Q. What was the messaging to the team this week? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: I’m going to keep that one in-house this week just of what we talked about. Sometimes it’s appropriate to share my opinion. Sometimes it’s appropriate to share with you guys and share with the fans and sometimes it’s appropriate to keep in-house, and I just think this one is appropriate to keep in-house.
Q. How do you think they are handling being 5-0, the only undefeated team as far as the bull’s eye, the pressure, all that? (Reuben Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think they’re handling it great, because when you — what do I think of when you handle it great is that you’re preparing and practicing the same way when you’re 5-0 as when you’re 0-0 or 2-5 or whatever it is. That’s what I see.
The preparation — I’m not with them at all times, but I know that when they come into these meetings, right, when they go home and come into these meetings, they have the same detail and same preparation and same knowledge of the game plan as they had going into Detroit, going into last year’s Detroit, going into last year’s Tampa Bay, whatever.
To me, that’s a sign that they’re handling it well because we have great captains and we have great leaders and we have great guys on this team.
Q. When we were at practice yesterday, C Jason Kelce went into medical tent. Did he ever return to practice? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: As you know, he was limited yesterday. We are hopeful that he’s ready to go. We will get you that injury report later.
Yeah, like I said, we’re hopeful with him. I think he’s on the rise of being ready to go, but we’ll take the rest of the day today and figure it out.
Q. Where is T Andre Dillard as far as his progression, and is he close to being — I know you don’t like to put a timetable on it, but obviously with Cowboys LB Micah Parsons, DE Demarcus Lawrence, is it important with the banged up offensive line to have everybody? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: Sure. Yeah, he’s close. I think he has a good chance to play this week.
Again, we have some time to think about it and to keep assessing it, but he’s had a good week of practice so far and we’re hopeful.
Q. Are you confident T Jordan Mailata is going to play? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, everybody, we still have some time and we still have to see today’s practice, but we’re hopeful all the guys that you guys have on the injury report from yesterday are going to be able to play.