Q. We talked yesterday about you guys have won a bunch of different ways, and it’s a different guy each week and all that. I was wondering about TE Dallas Goedert and why do you think his production hasn’t been there? Is it something the defenses are doing or are you becoming concerned with that? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: I still think it’s a small sample size. There’s always a combination of different things. Something may break down in a play when Dallas is supposed to get the ball. There are just so many different variations of what can happen.
Trust me, I promise you, he’s still part of the plan of wanting us to get him the football. We need to get him the football. Sometimes there’s a dry spell in there, too, of what’s kind of going on right now.
Again, there are some different things that defenses are concerned of with Dallas that has affected some of his touches that he’s gotten, and I’m not going to get into that. I don’t think that I need to get into that.
It’s definitely a little bit of both, right? He is a great player. They do rely on him. But I will say this about Dallas, is that even though he’s not contributing the way we all envisioned him to contribute at this particular time in the pass game, he’s been a force in the run game — a force.
Dallas still changes the game because of what he does in the run game, and he still changes the game of being somebody in the pass game that they’re concerned of where it opens up the field for other people.
So, he’ll get going. I’m certain of that. But we have to do our job as coaches to get him going. But he is still a very big factor in the way our offense is playing right now because of who he is as a blocker and also who he is as a receiver and drawing that attention.
Q. Wanted to ask about right guard. We saw G/C Cam Jurgens was in a boot post-game. I know you don’t do timetables, but do you anticipate not having him for a period of time here? I guess the second part of the question is obviously G/T Tyler Steen worked at right guard in camp. You have G Sua Opeta. How did G Sua Opeta play, and how would you decide whether to go with G/T Tyler Steen or G Sua Opeta moving forward if you need another? (Reuben Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: I would say Cam’s going to be week-to-week. We’ll see. I’ll get you more information as we know more. [Senior Vice President, Communications] Bob [Lange] gives you the information. I don’t usually talk too much on here with it, but we’ll get you more information as we know more. It’s still early in the week. So, we’ll see there.
I don’t think there’s any secret, I think you see where we lie right now between Sua and Tyler. Sua has been up, and Tyler has been inactive. So, Sua would be that next man up, and I thought he played outstanding yesterday. I mean, outstanding.
I think we all felt that in the game, and you watch it on tape, and you verify that and confirm that. Even [T] Lane [Johnson] came up to me in the locker room after the game — and Lane played outstanding, also — Lane came up to me after the game and was singing the praises of Sua.
So, we recognize it as coaches when we got to watch it. I know his teammates recognized it in-game. So excellent job by him to come in and play a great game. It’s a very necessary thing to be able to do because injuries are part of this game, and to be able to step in and not miss a beat. But I think these guys don’t get enough credit for when they do that.
He was outstanding, and that’s not easy to do against a very good front. That’s a very good front we played yesterday. And Sua was outstanding. I think he had 40-plus snaps. I thought he was outstanding in that. Great job by him.
Q. If I can follow up on a game situation and then also sneak in a light-hearted question. The first one, 9:41 to go in the fourth quarter, Washington had the illegal formation on a third down. You accepted the penalty to push them back. What factored into that decision? Just a quick lighthearted question, why don’t you watch field goals? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: Good question on the stop on third down. What happened was on that, it’s third-and-1. We stuff them on a quarterback sneak. And the information I got from the officials is that it would be a fourth and half a yard or it would be a third-and-6.
Listen, I know what we’re doing in fourth and half a yard and I know that we’re really good at that play. But the percentages of guys converting on a fourth-and-1 is high, over 70 percent. So that’s definitely in my mindset. It’s tough.
Do we expect to be good at short yardage offense? Yes. Do we expect to be good at short yardage defense? Yes. But I’m also playing a little bit of the odds there as far as — again, I told you, I’m always going to ask the question, ‘what’s the down and distance here?’ So, it’s going to be fourth down. How many yards to go? They said half a yard. I said, ‘okay, I’ll take them back then.’
They converted on the third down, so I understand that that’s my job that I’m going to have to face some criticism there that I didn’t take it into fourth down. I understand that.
I did the same thing in New England. We had a stop on third down. It was fourth down and I had an opportunity to either take them back and knock them out of field goal range or take the penalty and risk the third-down conversion, or decline it and they would have been in field goal range. That one we took them back. We had a great stop.
So again, sometimes that’s going to work and sometimes it’s not. In those situations, I have just to be convicted in what I’m doing. And my conviction there was, ‘hey, let’s see if we can stop them on third-and-6 and then see what happens on fourth down.’ I just thought they were going to go for it on fourth and half a yard there.
Why don’t I watch on field goals — I’m not like a superstitious guy. I’m actually anti-superstitious because at one point in my life I was so superstitious it was consuming so much of my time. I was, like, I don’t remember what I did last time there.
I’m almost opposite that, it has nothing to do with superstition. It’s a play that takes a little bit of time to set up with the field goal. My nerves and my emotions just want to look away in that particular case. I guess it’s turned into a little bit of a superstition because I like seeing [Special Teams Coordinator] Coach [Michael] Clay — it’s very obvious what he does, he goes like this to me [pointing towards the camera] Boom. It’s the same motion every time.
I don’t have a good answer there except that I get a little bit anxious and nervous in that situation and, I don’t know, it’s probably a little bit of superstition, but it’s just me not wanting to watch the play.
But I have a ton of faith in [K] Jake [Elliott]. I said to Jake, I go ‘I know I don’t watch the field goals and I know it doesn’t feel like I have a ton of confidence in you if I’m not watching, but I’ve got so much confidence in you’ in those particular cases.
Q. Right before the half after WR DeVonta Smith’s catch, why didn’t you call time out there? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: So, you’re looking at if you call a timeout, then you’ve got the ball with 38 seconds, no timeouts — 37 seconds with no timeouts at, I believe, the 26. Or you don’t take the timeout and you get a play run. And we ended up snapping the ball at 20 seconds. They obviously reviewed it and everything like that and you go from there.
It’s just a matter of if you want a timeout or not in those particular cases. When you have the timeout, we try to hold that timeout as long as we possibly can. Everything’s a factor. Everything’s in play.
We have a very specific chart of when we’re calling timeouts on certain amount of gains, on short yardage, and also when we’re clocking it in those scenarios. I followed our chart and what it said there in that particular case.
If I had to do it over again, I’d do the same thing because that’s not a time to have knee-jerk reactions. You have to make these decisions very quickly. That’s why we study everything that we do in every scenario, even to a point of every detail of how you call a timeout or clock a ball is thought of in very detail.
That doesn’t mean it doesn’t change ever. You’re going to see some plays throughout the year. Every week on Thursday, I watch every clock play. Every clock play. And not only for the NFL but also the Power 5 conferences, which happen a little bit different, but at least you can put yourself in that scenario over and over and over and over again.
And that’s how you perfect your process and that’s how you grow. But you can’t perfect your process unless you know what your process is.
That’s just one example of what we do with situational football. And so there were a lot of trials of getting to where we were in that one and our chart on that one and the chart that nobody else made but me. I made that chart. It said to get on the ball and go for it and save the timeout. And that’s why I did what I did.
But that’s always being worked on. That’s always being critiqued. Always trying to make it as good as we possibly can.
I looked at it today in depth. Right now, I say I would do the same thing, but we’re going to continue to work through it and we’ll see how that continues to go.
Q. Want to ask you about the Rams array of wide receivers which is likely to improve with Rams WR Cooper Kupp returning, at least it looks that way. What have you seen in terms of the slot, CB James Bradberry in the last two games, and what you’re seeing right now from your secondary with young CB Josh Jobe and the spot he’s been in? (Rob Kuestner)
NICK SIRIANNI: First of all, this Rams team with their receivers, I can’t say enough about [Rams Head Coach] Sean McVay and how he’s always been able to have production out of his receiver group. I know he played some receiver in college and that’s an addicting position. When you love that position, you just want to coach it and you can really see his influence there.
Obviously, they’ve got really good players there, but you can really see his influence there. I think he’s an outstanding offensive mind. I think he’s an outstanding receiver coach, and it shows.
We have options. I thought James did a nice job yesterday playing — this is a place he hasn’t played very often in the NFL. He’s been an outside corner for his entire career. I thought he did a nice job. I think we have some options if we want to be able to move him around and move him outside and move him back inside. So, I did like the way he played.
I think Josh Jobe is continuing to grow. He’s going to want some plays back that he had yesterday. But we know we’re obviously looking hard at the game but we know how much confidence we have in him based off of the reps he’s gotten against [WR] A.J. [Brown] and DeVonta and [WR] Quez [Watkins] out there on a daily basis in practice.
We’ve got some things to clean up from our game yesterday, but I know Josh is continuing to grow and I know with James in there in the slot, he’s getting more and more reps and getting more and more comfortable.
We’ll have to see how that plays out with where [S] Sydney [Brown] is, if he’s back this week. Again, a lot of things to play out before we make any decisions on what’s going on this week.
Q. It feels like one thing we’ve seen more this year than past years is QB Jalen Hurts giving himself up in the open field as a runner. What’s the explanation for that? Why is that? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: He needs to protect himself. He took the big hit against New England, and it’s always been our intention to make sure he’s protecting himself as a runner. We encourage him to slide, and we encourage him to get down, and we encourage him not to take a big hit — step out of bounds when you can.
Do we want all our guys stepping out of bounds? No. We want our other guys most of the time — if it’s not a two-minute drill, to keep the ball in their outside arm and use their stiff arm, play a little bit of pound on the sideline. I don’t want Jalen doing that.
Do I want Jalen taking — he’s got a great ability to make you miss, but he knows when he’s going to make the guy miss and not. And I think he’s got a great feel of, ‘oh okay, I’m not making him miss. Okay, I’ll go down in this particular case.’ That’s exactly what we want him to do to protect himself as a scrambler, as a runner, while also trying to get the most yards that are coming from that play.
Every run play that we have in for him or any read play is done with the utmost thinking about him all the time to make sure we keep him safe. If we’re thinking about that constantly, we want him thinking about that as well because we know how important it is to have him out on the field every game.
Q. On the offensive offsides on G Landon Dickerson there, is that your understanding that that’s a point of emphasis from the league on those plays? And in general, what’s the process like in the days after a game getting clarity on some calls like that? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: Good question. We’re always thinking — anything that we need clarification on we’ll turn into the NFL and ask for that clarification.
And, man, they do a really good job of getting back to us and letting us know what their thought process is on why something was called or why something wasn’t called. Why that’s so important is because now we can coach off of what the expectations are of the NFL and the officiating crew. We can coach off those things.
We’ll turn that in and see what they have to say, and we’ll get better on our end from it. That’s what our job is to make sure we are — we were penalized a little more than normal yesterday.
Anything we have a question about we’re going to ask in the attempts of — it’s not to [complain] about the call; it’s to get knowledge for us so we can coach it the best way we can coach it and play within the rules of the play and of the league.
Like I said, the NFL does a great job of getting back to us and letting us know the thoughts so we can have coaching points to go for it.
Q. What’s the process like trying to balance the stuff that you guys have been successful with along the offensive line and comparing that compared to the potential disruption that Rams DT Aaron Donald can use? (Chris Franklin)
NICK SIRIANNI: Always have to be alert for the best player on the field. You just always have to be alert for them. Sometimes that’s a D tackle. Sometimes that’s a D end. Sometimes that’s a linebacker. Sometimes it’s a corner or safety.
Aaron Donald’s multiple. Obviously, I’m early in my studies here, but, shoot, you don’t have to have the tape on very long to know where 99 is and how disruptive he is. Really didn’t even need to put the tape on, I’ve seen enough plays of how many plays this guy has made.
So, yes, he’s got to be accounted for at all times. That doesn’t mean you do something crazy and completely do a bunch of different things that you haven’t done before, but it is knowing where he is on every snap, is going to be critical, because we know how much of a force he is. He’s one of the best players in the NFL and we know that, and we understand that.
We have good guys on our side, too, but we’re always going to know where he is, and our job is to just have him accounted for at all times.