Q. The safety position, you’re obviously thin there. Without knowing S Reed Blankenship’s availability for Sunday, what’s the plan there? Are you comfortable with what you have? And CB Mekhi Garner, at what point did you start giving him reps at safety, or did he not have any? What do you think of the way he played? (Reuben Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, good question. So, obviously we’ll monitor Reed. We’ve been banged up at this position, as you guys know. Kind of when it rains it pours on that position, right, because we’ve been — the injuries have gotten us there.
But our guys, our defensive coaches did a really nice job getting Mekhi reps these last couple weeks. He’s been doing it for the last couple weeks. We’ve just got to be able to do that with guys consistently throughout the year just because you’re limited in the amount of players you have, you’re limited to the amount of guys you can have up on game day.
So good job by Mekhi. I thought he did a nice job. He hasn’t played a lot at safety outside of practice, so I thought he did a nice job under the circumstances, and he’ll continue to improve.
One thing he does have, and I credit [Executive Vice President/General Manager] Howie [Roseman] and his staff of what they look for and us being on the same page of what we’re looking for, they look for guys with traits, and Mekhi is big, strong, can run. He did some nice things in pre-season there at corner, and so you can work with guys like that.
Mekhi came in and did a nice job in his first reps at safety, so, yeah, we’ll hopefully get [S] Sydney [Brown] back. We’ll see. Don’t like to get too much into that because I don’t know yet and there is a lot of week to be played until we have to make that decision or see if he can.
Hopefully we’re getting a couple guys back and feel good about it. I know Howie is always working to put ourselves in great spots as far as personnel goes.
Q. Obviously it’s difficult when you lose a player like T Lane Johnson in-game. Curious why there wasn’t more of a shift away from 11. You guys played over 80% 11, and when you lose a player like that, was there any thought of playing more 12 or even 13 to help in the blocking aspect to try to give T/G Jack Driscoll a little bit more help. (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: Those personnel groupings might not necessarily equal what you’re suggesting.
But, as far as more help, again, we’ve got a lot of faith in Jack and the things he can do, and we’ve won a lot of big games there with him playing. Of course, you’re always going to look at it and say, ‘hey, could we have done more here, done more there?’
There are different types of help you can give to an offensive line. Sometimes that help comes with an immediate thump on the side by the tight end or receiver, which we sprinkled some of those in there yesterday.
And sometimes the thump or chip help or whatever you want to call it comes from the back. When it’s coming from the back — and some of those were the calls too as the game progressed. Sometimes with the back, you can’t guarantee he’s going to get there because he provides help when he doesn’t have protection responsibilities for himself.
And so, there’s a lot of different ways you can do that, but it’s not always guaranteeing the help, even when you might call it.
I thought the one with the interception, I’ll just say that was 100% on me, the interception where Jack’s guy got free late, No. 11 got free late. I’m taking that one. I’m not going to get too much into the why. The players know why, and we discussed this at length of why I thought it was on myself on that interception where [QB] Jalen [Hurts] got hit.
I’ll take that one with the way the design of the play was on that one. But otherwise, we were giving him some help here and there. Again, you can’t always 100% guarantee he’s going to get that help.
Q. Getting a chance to watch back that final drive with 1:46 left, what went wrong there and why weren’t you guys able to move the ball a little bit? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, it’s always going to be — they’re sinking out underneath stuff, forcing you to check it down, forcing you to go the long way down the field.
The one we had, the first one to [WR] A.J. [Brown], I’m actually probably more glad that that wasn’t complete so it takes a hit off A.J., stops the clock. The second one got a little bit of pressure off that right edge on that particular play. The third one we completed underneath to [WR] DeVonta [Smith] similar to the A.J. one.
Then the fourth one on fourth down, you know, hey, they’re sinking out underneath everything and had everything kind of in front of them where we had to go past the sticks in that one. We didn’t want to check it down in that situation, being fourth and 7 or 8.
So again, it was a little bit of a situation of the game. Like always, we’re going to say, we want maybe a call back here and there and there is an execution thing you want back here and there.
You win as a team and lose as a team. We’re all in it together. There wasn’t one thing I could say. I just tried to explain to you every single play, but there wasn’t anything I can say this was the case. Again, when it’s not going right, it’s going to be hard to say it’s all on one thing. In that case, it wasn’t. It was on a bunch of different things.
Q. Jets S Tony Adams was talking about that third interception. He said his coaches told him to fake like he was blitzing through the B-gap and then drop back. They predicted that QB Jalen Hurts would throw the ball right to him. I would like to know if, number one, that’s in fact what muddied that read for QB Jalen Hurts? And number two, in any way does that speak towards tendencies either by QB Jalen Hurts or play calling that needs to be looked at? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think that’s the second time we’ve run that play on third down. Hey, they made a really good play. If they’re predicting that on that one, that’s a pretty good prediction because we haven’t run that a bunch in that scenario.
He made a good play and hats off to them, but I don’t think it speaks to that predictability — like, shoot, that ball can go a lot of different places on that one. Whether it’s a predictability of us as coaches, whether it’s a predictability of Jalen, I think that’s a thing that they say sometimes, but they fall into the right area, and they did. Great play by that guy.
He made a play and took advantage of the opportunity that he got. But we’re always looking at self-scout and we’re always thinking about tendencies. We’re always thinking about Jalen and where he’s going with the football. All those different things are taken into account.
Trust me, there are times where I’m like, man, we showed this one and showed it too many times. This one, I don’t necessarily feel that way on this one. Good play by them and helped them win the game.
Q. Following up on T Lane Johnson, what’s his status? If he does miss time, is T/G Jack Driscoll the guy there like you had with G Sua Opeta a few weeks ago, or will you open that up to the other linemen as well? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: Obviously we’re really early. Real early. Got to see Lane today. Got to talk to Lane today. Status is to be announced. We’ll see how it goes.
I know Lane is going to want to do everything he can do to play. We’re going to want to do everything we can to get him to play. He’s one of the best players in the NFL. It’s going to be important that he’s on the field.
Again, like I said, Jack Driscoll, we have won a lot of football games with Jack Driscoll there playing a little bit last year when Lane had to miss, too. But make no mistake about it, when you lose a guy like Lane, he’s just one of the better players in the NFL. It’s going to affect things.
I’ve got a ton of confidence in Jack. We’ll continue to work with Jack. Jack is versatile and can do a lot of different things. We’ll try to put Jack in the best positions we can to help him succeed as well.
Q. In the Super Bowl you tried to let the Chiefs score at the end of the game; they didn’t cooperate, of course. That was an obvious easy call for you guys to try to let them score. And then in this game, of course, you tried to let them score and they did cooperate. Maybe not as obvious in this game as in the Super Bowl. Probably could have gone either way. Just curious what your analytics or what the decision process was behind letting them score on their final drive. (Jimmy Kempski)
NICK SIRIANNI: That’s if we let them score.
Q. Did you not let them score? (Jimmy Kempski)
NICK SIRIANNI: Maybe we did, maybe we didn’t. I don’t think that’s something I want to get into because, again, that’s discussing a strategy thing that I don’t think — I respect your question and I know you guys got a job to do, but there are some things I’m always going to keep close to the vest.
Yeah, so I’m going to keep that one close to the vest.
Q. If I could ask you another injury-related question. Guys like DT Jalen Carter, CB Darius Slay, S Reed Blankenship, are these considered long-term injuries? Do they have a chance to play this coming week? Any update you can give on that? (Martin Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: It’s still early. Really early. We saw them. Obviously, we miss players like that, and we want to get them back as soon as they can. We also want to keep their health as the first and foremost thing and make sure they’re in for the long haul and they’re ready to go when they play.
So, we have a lot of time. We have a lot of things to do before we play this game. A lot of time to go before we play this game. Again, it’s early on. You’ll have more feel of where they are on Wednesday. So, we’ll see.
We’ll see on all those guys. They’re all going to be in a little bit different categories as far as potential time out, but, again, I don’t want to put unnecessary timetables on anything really because there are just so many different things that can happen within the next couple days.
And so, I’m just going to always keep that close to the vest, as you know. Not because I don’t want to help you guys do your job, but more so because there is so much time to play out and our guys in the training room do an unbelievable job of helping guys get better, and also the guys do a great job of getting in there and helping themselves out and giving themselves every opportunity to play as soon as they can play.
Q. Not to make too much of one play, but the first play of the interception drive, RB D’Andre Swift goes out of bounds and stops the clock. In the past we’ve seen you pull a guy for making that mistake. Just curious what determines in your mind whether that’s a mistake that a guy needs to come off the field for? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: You’re not necessarily in four-minute there. When you’re up two points, a field goal beats you. There are things that happen in four-minute that when the score is different that are played a little bit differently.
What I mean by that is for instance, you got to get a first down. If we don’t get a first down then we give the ball back to them and they’re driving with just having to get in field goal range, and they got a really good kicker the game.
So, you don’t tell a guy in that moment — like we didn’t tell him that yet. To us, to me, it wasn’t to that point yet. So, you don’t want to tell a guy, ‘hey, slide before you go out of bounds in this particular case and then be yourself in second and ten.’ You want him to try to get as many yards as he possibly can because you want to keep the drives going more so than you want the time to wear off.
Now, it’s the same thing like when you break the huddle and you let the clock run down to one. It gives you less time to operate up at the line of scrimmage, which are all things that, yes, you do in four-minute, but all four-minute plays are not created equal, if that makes sense.
There are sometimes where you’re playing it that way and sometimes you’re not. And so, again, it’s little minute things like that. We think a lot about these things, again, like after this we got the first down.
I get your question. It’s a fair question. But my point to you is not all these four-minute plays are played exactly the same, and that’s why. Again, you’re up two, right, and a field goal beats you, so there are things that change.
Now, as the clock goes — again, trying to educate you as much as I possibly can without giving away too much. As that clock goes, if that thing is a little bit lower or under two minutes, whatever it is, right, then you play in that a little bit differently.
But we’re north of the four-minute there and up two points, and so that’s played just a little bit different.
Q. After a loss like the one you had Sunday, is this the type of week where you lean on the guys a little bit more and try to put more pressure on them, or just say let’s focus on the Dolphins and move on? (Chris Franklin)
NICK SIRIANNI: All the weeks we want to go about our preparation the exact same way. It’s always about that. I think that what happens — you set a standard of what you want the week to look like. We don’t try to make them guess, like this week is more important than this week. Not saying you’re saying that. I am trying to answer your question as best I can.
But it’s business as usual. We had some hard conversations today as coaches. We had some hard conversations together as a team to make sure we got better from this game.
And then when Wednesday comes in, we’ll all be focused 100% on Miami and we know they’re a good football team and we have got to be ready to go.
Q. What was the evaluation of the offensive play calling after watching the film versus when you were in it? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: I thought [Offensive Coordinator] Brian [Johnson] did a nice job. I think when you really look at it, there are some detail things, right? Again, there are always going to be detail things as coaches you want back. Always going to be detail things as players you want back.
So, there are some detail things there. When we talk about a design of a play, I’m always going to take the brunt of that, of, hey, this design wasn’t good enough. There definitely were a couple of those that the design, I’m like, I didn’t really like the design of this play right here.
To me, when that is the case that’s 100% on me.
And then as you look at it, it’s going to be hard to sustain drives, score points, when you turn the ball over. The turnovers, it was all something different, each one of them. It wasn’t all on one guy. Jalen gets three interceptions to his name, but they’re not all on him.
In fact, I only saw one of them that was on Jalen that he’ll want back.
The other ones were on other things. I’m not going to sit here and say this was on this. One of them was on me. Ya’ll can look to see who you think the other one was on.
So I didn’t think — again, there are some designs you want back, but the main issue is — I thought Brian did a fine job, but I thought the main issue is any time you’re minus four in the turnover category it’s going to be tough to win that game and tough to score points, and going to be tough to sustain drives.