Q. QB Jalen Hurts has shown an ability to overcome adversity throughout his football career, most notably when he lost his job at Alabama to Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa. What is it about his mental makeup that allows for that, and what kind of examples have you seen of that during your time here? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: He is just very steady in his mental makeup, right. Focusing on the next play, the next play, the next game, right and getting better and constantly trying to get better.
I think when you go through adversity, it’s common to think about what’s going to happen in the future. That’s in football. That’s in life. You’re focused on, ‘we’re going through a really hard time what if, what if, what if, what if, what if,’ right, and I think the mindset that Jalen has is to be locked in right where he is in the moment and handling the things that he can control. I think that’s why you see a steadiness in him of who he is as a person and who he is as a player.
I’ve noticed that about him from the moment I’ve been around him and I think that that’s what — why has he thrived after going through a difficult time is because of who he is as a player, who he is as a person, what his work ethic is, his mindset of being locked in, his mindset of not being denied.
And so, there’s just so many different things that speak to that. I appreciate the question because I’m able to brag on him a little bit right there of who he is as a person and a player. We see the plays he makes but he is so locked in to getting better, to getting better each day, and just putting his head down and working. Like he works. That’s what I noticed about that.
Q. How did the idea about WR Julio Jones come about and what was your reaction when Executive Vice President/General Manager Howie Roseman first came to you and mentioned his name? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: Obviously we talk through things. We’re a little banged up at wide receiver and just wanted to add some extra depth and another proven guy in there.
So, Howie and I like we always do, watched different guys together and his name came up. We watched him together and it was pretty obvious we thought when he was at Tampa last year that the film was good. We were excited about the possibility to add him.
[WR] Quez [Watkins] is out for a little bit, as everybody knows. But I do want to take a second to say, a guy like O.Z. [WR Olamide Zaccheaus] — the toughness that he has and how reliable he is as a player, a guy like that always has a spot on offenses that I’m going to be a part of, always.
I’ve been able to have great success with guys that have those two common denominators of toughness and reliability. And so he’s going to continue to give us that as we continue on right here.
So, in no indication is that a knock on O.Z. It’s just where we are, a little bit banged up, and just to get a little bit more depth in there of some guys that have played good football. Obviously, Julio, he’s a Hall of Fame player, and so he’s played good football, and we still thought the tape was good. So, excited to add him to the roster.
Q. What did you like from WR Julio Jones’ tape last year? (Jimmy Kempski)
NICK SIRIANNI: You’re always looking at the explosion. Does he still have the juice in his legs and the ability to run, ability to get out of cuts, the ability to make plays, and all those things we thought were still good.
And like I said, you know, that’s what you do. You can look at the stats. You can do all those different things but it’s about putting the tape on and seeing what you see and what you think, and you know, then seeing him work out the other day, we were like, yeah, he’s still got a lot of pop in his legs, and we’re excited about that.
Q. With your history coaching the position, what has always impressed you most about WR Julio Jones’ game? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, first of all, the way he — I thought always was like when you just see him, you’re like, ‘holy crap, this guy plays wide out,’ right. What he looks like, right, the size and everything like that, and knowing that’s going to be a long day.
I don’t even remember the last time I was on a team that went against him. Might have been when he was in Atlanta in 2016. But I remember, I vividly remember seeing him on the sideline, or not on the sideline, in pregame, like ‘holy crap, I’m so glad I’m an offensive coach today’ and not the head coach and not having to worry about the other side of the ball. Let me focus on what I’ve got to focus on because he looks every bit the part.
Obviously, all the plays he makes. It was interesting when he was running routes the other day, there was a route that he always– and I won’t get into too much of it in case we get it into our plan, there was a route we always used to run and then he kind of was talking about that when he was running routes the other day with us. It was interesting just to sit there and listen to him explain why he would do certain things on this route. I’m like, ‘golly, I’ve been trying to coach this route for years. I wish I would have been able to reach out and ask you this question earlier.’
It seems like he’s a student of the game. And then like I said, like with the way he comes out on to the field and the way he looks, that would be what stood out and then also, the speed that he shows on this certain route that he used to run a lot of. But at the end of the day, he’s a great player, and you know, you admire that the most, the amount of plays that he made consistently year after year.
Q. How is he different from WR Julio Jones of 2015, 2016? (Martin Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, you’re still coming out here and going to see more and more each time you see him out on the field. Obviously, he’s older from that time. But still has the ability to make plays.
Make no mistake about it, though. This pass game still is going to go through [WR] DeVonta [Smith], [WR] A.J. [Brown], and [TE] Dallas [Goedert]. So, I think that’s a little bit of a difference, right, the role he’s playing, right. More of a supporting role than a highlighted role and we’ll see how it continues to shape up. But we still know he has the ability to make plays and we’re going to need him to make plays.
So, we’ll see how that goes as we continue on.
Q. We know you guys are a little bit banged up in the secondary, but why decide to go back with CB Josiah Scott instead of somebody else? (Chris Franklin)
NICK SIRIANNI: The experience that he had. With some of the other changes that are happening in the secondary, we know that we’ve played in big games with Josiah and he’s done well in those games. He had an interception last year against New Orleans. Obviously, we lost that game, but we played well on defense and Josiah was a big part of that.
So, we’ve got confidence in him. We’ve got confidence in the person. We’ve got confidence in the player. So, I think a little bit of that was just his experience in this city, his experience with this team, his experience with these guys on this team.
He was here during training camp as well, so I think that’s really what played into bringing Josiah back.
Q. How is T Lane Johnson coming along, and how does that factor into the game planning this week? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: Obviously won’t get too much into, respectfully — I respect your question. I won’t get into game planning or anything like that.
But Lane is doing everything he can do to get ready to play. Obviously, we haven’t been out on the field and running and cutting or doing anything like that. We’ll see how it progresses.
I’ll let you ask him how he feels and everything like that. I would never count Lane Johnson out, that’s for sure. He’s tough. He’s one of the best players in the NFL and he’s tough as heck. So, we’ll see how it goes. I don’t have great — I know on Monday I was like, ‘I may have more for you on Wednesday,’ but I’m pushing that back a little bit because we have to get on the field and see.
Q. Dolphins Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio obviously helped you guys en route to the Super Bowl. You kind of let him in on the offensive side to help. How much did that effect– (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: We didn’t give him all the secrets. I asked him for his help. He was giving us information, and not us giving him information.
Obviously when he was around last year during the end of the season, that was a unique opportunity to have a guy help us look at some different things the way a defensive coach’s perspective on it. Then [Former Eagles Defensive Coordinator] Jonathan [Gannon] being able to bounce some things off of him and me being able to bounce some things off him as the head coach.
So, I really value the relationship that I was able to develop with Coach Fangio. Great person. Great football mind. We know we’re going to have our hands full with any Vic Fangio-coached defense, which we have obviously this week.
Huge Phillies fan. I’m hoping he’s a little distracted. But a really good person. Really good coach. Value the friendship that we have and the time that we spent together last year.
Q. I know that you guys probably don’t care as much what you wear to a game, but there’s so much hype around Kelly Green and it’s so cherished by fans and there’s so much history there. Do you feel a little bit of that excitement seeping into this game? (Breland Moore)
NICK SIRIANNI: Look good, feel good, play good, right?
So yeah, I think the guys, just like they get excited — you think back on it. I think back when I was at Mount Union. We had white jerseys, we had purple jerseys, and we had black jerseys. Those black jerseys were focused for big-time moments, and you felt good when you put that on. Like, ‘oh okay, this number 25 in black, I like the way that looks.’
I think that that’s natural, right. Like Oregon always has the great uniforms. They have all those different type of uniforms. I’ll have to ask [QB] Marcus [Mariota], if every time they changed uniforms, did he get really excited.
Obviously, we focus on the task at hand, but that’s a cool thing. I know that when those jerseys came out, right, I went immediately to the store and got my kids those jerseys, and my son doesn’t take that A.J. Brown Kelly Green jersey off very often.
I think it’s an exciting thing for the fans and I think it’s an exciting thing for us. We know we can’t get too wrapped up in that and we’ll be focused on that. But it’s cool. It’s cool. Thanks for the question.
Q. You guys have been banged up, as you said, at various positions on the field. You guys live on the next-man-up philosophy, that’s being tested now obviously. What are the keys to making that work from the guys that are coming in, to the guys that are out there trying to help the other ones be ready? (Scott Grayson)
NICK SIRIANNI: Preparation. It doesn’t start this week. It’s been going on. So, it’s not like, ‘okay, Lane is out, and [T/G] Jack [Driscoll], you don’t have any moment to prepare, go in.’ Well, he’s been preparing his butt off, right.
We do a lot, a lot, where our 2s get a lot of work, and I do believe that, without getting too much into that, I do believe that that’s something unique that we do that was always pressed upon me as a coach; that you’ve got to give guys opportunities. And in the NFL sometimes, of some different places that I’ve been, the opportunities aren’t always there because of the limited amount of reps in practice and so we forced that.
We make sure we are getting those walk-through reps. Those team reps, those seven-on-seven reps, we think that’s a unique thing that we do.
Now, make no mistake about it, we give them opportunity, but they have to go out and do it. That’s about where it comes into Howie and his staff and getting the right guys in here. Because when you’re a backup, you’re one snap away from being a starter, and it’s about how you prepare.
And if you don’t love the game of football, you’re probably not going to prepare as much — if you’re in love with football, you’re going to prepare a little bit more than if you’re in like with football.
So, it’s about getting those guys in here that love the game that have the competitiveness of like, ‘yeah, I’m a starter in this league,’ you know what I’m saying.
So, it’s the opportunity. Our job as coaches is to provide opportunity and get them ready for when their number is called, and then it’s about having the right guys and the trust of these guys in this locker room. We talked about Josiah, we talked about Jack Driscoll.
We have the right type of guys, and credit to Howie and his staff for bringing in the right type of guys.
Q. What part of that Dolphins offense and offensive personnel most appeal to you as an offensive mind? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: Shoot, they do a great job. I’ve got a lot of respect for [Dolphins Head] Coach [Mike] McDaniel and the things that he’s doing. I think you’re seeing a trend in the NFL of the motions that he’s running that everyone is getting, like, ‘oh I like that.’ We’ve done it. There are plays we’ve done, and there are plays we did late last year that we took from the Dolphins.
So, I think any time you are influencing the rest of the NFL to copy some of the things you’re doing, that’s pretty cool, right. They have really outstanding players. They have got great team speed.
Tua is doing a really nice job of delivering the football and going to the right spot with the ball, making accurate throws, and those are all things that he showed coming out of college and he’s continued to show and get better as a pro.
When you see the players develop the way they are and the schemes that they run that you respect, you’ve got a lot of respect for that other coach and that’s– again, ton of respect for Mike and his staff. They are doing a phenomenal job, and also, they’ve got really good players, which is obviously the most important thing.
And so yeah, we’re going to have a challenge because good players, good coaching, and we’re going to have to be on our stuff.
Q. As far as Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa and QB Jalen Hurts’ history goes, do you think this game might mean a little more for QB Jalen Hurts? I know he’s mentally tough and all that. (Ed Kracz)
NICK SIRIANNI: That’s going to be something you’re going to have to ask him. I do know that he’s locked into each game. He’s locked into each moment. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t get more up for — not that you get more up, but you get that extra — there’s always those things, though.
‘Hey, I’m going against a guy that played the same position as me in college at the college,’ or ‘hey, I’m going back to my hometown’ or ‘I’m going here.’ You can let those things motivate and everything like that, but there still has to be this laser focus on the task at hand and not let outside things get in the way of your preparation. And if that helps you prepare a little bit more, then use it. If it distracts you, then you’ve got to eliminate it.
So that’s something you’re going to have to ask him, but I do know that there’s so many of those scenarios in the NFL that happen. ‘Hey, I’m going back to Buffalo, New York.’ Great. Well, is it motivating? Is it distracting you? Eliminate it. Eliminate that thought process. Is it motivating you? Shoot, let’s use anything we can to motivate us even more so than what we already are.
But again, I’d ask him that question.