Q. I wanted to ask you about the impact WR Julio Jones and S Kevin Byard have had so far. Obviously, we saw on the field, but even though they have been here for such a short time are you able to see what they’ve meant to the other guys in their various position rooms? (Martin Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, I think both of those guys have just been mainstays in the NFL for so long that when you add a veteran like that that people notice, our players notice and know they can learn things from them and they can gain valuable growth from these guys, and they’re the right types of guys, too.
I think one thing that can help answer your question is the reaction our team had, this is more about Julio than Kevin, but the reaction our team had when Julio scored that touchdown. I mean, you would have thought the way [T] Lane Johnson and [WR] A.J. [Brown] and [C Jason] Kelce and all the guys, [T] Jordan [Mailata], ran to the end zone, you would’ve thought there was a fight that had broken out in there.
They were just going into the end zone to celebrate with Julio because of how much respect they have for him, how much he’s done in the two weeks he’s been here, just his work ethic. Everybody notices that. Everybody notices the way Julio works.
There is a reason he’s been such a good player for so long in this league. I think that’s a positive obviously. Someone sent me something, [Senior Vice President, Communications] Bob [Lange] sent me something, that [WIP Reporter] Eliot [Shorr-Parks] said, ‘Nick Sirianni is going to love this celebration,’ and I did. So good call on that one, Eliot. Yeah, our guys are enjoying being around these guys.
Q. Quick passing game. We were talking about it yesterday. You said you need to take a look at what went on there. Kind of want to get your thoughts the day after. (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think, again, they did a good job getting the ball out, obviously by design. Sometimes that was on screens, sometimes that was on an actual quick game. There were different variations of what was happening there.
And we’ve got to always put the guys in positions to succeed where it’s not always middle of the field close coverage. I think just mixing it a little bit more for our guys, and we did. We try to do a good job mixing it, but mixing it a little bit more to put a seed of doubt in the quarterback’s mind.
Then we lost some matchups here and there, so it was execution, and it was us having to put them in a little bit of better spots. That’s always going to be the case when you struggle in an area. This is a team game. This is the ultimate team game. There is no team game better than this one, in my opinion.
So that’s what I thought. Again, just as I talked through this with the defensive staff, sure, there are some matchups they won here and there and then we also got to make sure we’re mixing it up enough with some middle of the field open, with some different things we can do that way.
You know, because we were in a — I wouldn’t say a ton — we were in a lot of middle field close when they were hitting some of those short quick passing games on that.
Q. I will take this week’s swing at the injury info. Three guys, first, is G/C Cam Jurgens close to returning to practice? I know he’s eligible this week. Second, is DT Jalen Carter’s injury something to be concerned about? And third, given TE Grant Calcaterra’s history in college, what level of I guess concern or care are you taking above normal with the concussion? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: That’s a good question on Grant. Obviously, every person that has a head injury we want to give the ultimate care to. That’s something we’ll never mess around with.
Their long-term health is more important to me than winning a football game, to be quite honest with you. With him and his history we’re going to do our due diligence like we do with every player, and to be honest with you, and then some just because of his history and because we care about our guys. We’ll see where that is.
Cam is eligible this week. He’s done a good job of rehabbing. Can’t say enough about our trainers and our strength staff and doctors that we have. So, he’s done a good job getting himself in position to put himself in position to see if he can play this week. Obviously, there is a lot that has to go on this week for us to feel comfortable with that. We’re hopeful. That doesn’t mean I’m saying one way or the other. I don’t know. But we’re hopeful that he can start practicing this week, but we’ll see.
Jalen feels better today. I’ll say that. And, again, want to get him on the field to see where he is. He feels better today. Again, that’s a tribute to him getting in here and getting treatment and also our trainers.
Obviously all very important parts of our football team, their health is first and foremost, and I won’t put a timeline on them, but if they’re ready to go, they’ll go.
Q. First off, how would you assess the way the running backs have done so far, especially primarily RB D’Andre Swift and RB Kenneth Gainwell, have done in the interior part of the red zone, inside the ten? Secondly when it comes to RB Kenneth Gainwell, there was a report that came out yesterday that he messaged somebody during halftime, another fan, about that. Have you talked to him about that? (Chris Franklin)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, of course. I feel like, again, our red zone has been down. I think we’ve been on a climb. I think two weeks, three weeks ago we were 27th in the red zone; we moved down to 19th, or up to 19th. Yesterday we were 3 for 5 with two turnovers in there. Obviously, any time you turn the ball over down there you’re going to be kicking yourself.
I would say the second turnover led to points. Let me rephrase that. The second turnover on the quarterback sneak we got a stop on defense, and then we got a good punt return and then scored the next possession.
But, again, it’s not one man’s job to score touchdowns in the red zone. So, you asked me about D’Andre and you asked me about Kenny down there. It’s us putting the players in positions to succeed. It’s the O-line leading the way and the tight ends leading the way on the blocks, it’s Jalen making the right read if we’re running the football down there.
Again, I’ve got a lot of faith in these guys. Alright, Kenny had a fumble this week, but he had an unbelievable run the week before against Miami. One reaction to a mistake, if we reacted sometimes maybe I feel like how people want us to react at times, then all of our guys make mistakes. We wouldn’t have anybody to put in. We would be putting in [Offensive Coordinator] Brian Johnson to hand the ball off [Assistant Head Coach/Running Backs Coach] Jemal Singleton, and we know nobody wants that.
I still have a lot of faith in these guys, and I still have a lot of faith in Kenny.
As far as the report, y’all saw it. Of course, we talked to Kenny about that. These guys have some time away from us when we get into the locker room where they sit down at their locker. They do whatever is going to take their mind and just calm it.
This is part of these guys’ lives, is some of that stuff. He’s sitting at the locker. Should he respond to somebody that’s DM’ing him? No, he shouldn’t respond to that guy or that girl at all.
And so, yes of course we talked to him about that, to be locked in and focused and not worried about outside noise. He knows he made a mistake responding back to that person, who I’m assuming is an Eagles’ fan and then took a snapshot and posted it. That’s a whole different set of issues if he’s an Eagles fan. I won’t even get into that. Yeah. I’m done. I’m not even going to say any more. Yeah. Go ahead, next question.
Q. I know you’ve been pretty proud of the wrinkles on the sneak look before. Just curious how collaborative that process is when you’re designing that, and if there are any coaches that are super fired up and get excited about adding those wrinkles to it? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: Everything we do is collaborative and trying to think of different ways to marry things together. We spend a lot of time on that in the offseason to know what we can mesh to our quarterback sneak, knowing that our quarterback sneak is a good play for us. What can we mesh to it to make sure that we slow people down from stopping it, right?
When you run a play like that, like we did yesterday, then everything has a reaction, right? So, the reaction to that is going to be the next teams we play are going to see that on tape and they may have to devote a little less attention to the quarterback sneak to stop the other things, right?
That’s why you do those things. That’s the thought process. You’re trying to play the chess match in everything that you do. We spent a lot of time on that in the offseason as a coaching staff. All of us as a coaching staff, even to the point where you’re asking the defensive coaches, what would you do to stop it? Oh, but what if we did this to do that?
The person that’s responsible for studying all the different college tape and things like that to give us some ideas of — whether it’s college tape, whether it’s around the NFL, whether it’s high school, whatever it is, we see a good play, we’re willing to look into it and put it in if it benefits us and helps marry things to us is [Senior Offensive Assistant] Marcus Brady. That’s one of his responsibilities, is to study around the NFL, study around college football to see if there are any interesting things to mesh with the things we’re doing.
Any time you’ve talked a lot about something like that and it works, you’re excited, the guys are excited, and the guys have to go out and execute it. Anything can look pretty on paper, but it’s about the guys that we have and them going out and executing it in a situation like that. They did, and I got a lot of faith in those guys.
Q. Just looking at some stats, and I was kind of surprised to see when QB Jalen Hurts got hurt in 2021, when he hurt his ankle, his passer rating popped like 20 points the next three games, and the last couple games he’s been fighting a knee or whatever, and again, he’s up 40 points in his passer rating. Do you think that his lack of mobility somehow positively affects his efficiency as a passer? (Marcus Hayes)
NICK SIRIANNI: Interesting. Man, there are so many variables to that. That’s an interesting outlook. I’ll look into that, that’s for sure.
But I think there are just so many different variables, who you’re playing, the style of game you’re in, all those different things. I think Jalen has continued to develop as a passer, and I felt like he was making huge strides around that time in 2021 that led to the strides he made in 2022. We were playing pretty good football there.
Obviously not that Giants game in 2021. I don’t like thinking about that game too much, but thanks for bringing it up. But he’s been making strides.
So, again, I think that’s an interesting stat. You guys always bring up some interesting stats that spur my interest sometimes, so I’ll definitely look into that.
But I just think there are a lot of different variables with that. If there is something, we’ll try to unplug it. He just played an outstanding game and he’s been on a little bit of a roll here lately.
Man, he played really well. He played really good yesterday. Really good, and we all saw that. Tough, leader, can beat you a lot of different ways, and he beat the team with his arm yesterday.
Q. Just curious if you have anything written in your notebook about the last week before the bye, if there is anything you do differently? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: The week leading into the bye?
Q. Correct. (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: You make it sound like I have that notebook like in the Water Boy. The guy that carries that thing around. You know what I’m talking about?
Q. Yeah, I like that. I think that would be great. (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: Leading into the bye, treat it the same way you treat every game. During the bye and the week after the bye, of course, definitely things that are in my notebook.
But leading into it, no. No, this week it will be treated like last week, right? The preparation will be the same. And in fact, the preparation is the same following the bye as well. There are just some things you want to do differently, without getting too much into it, and things you want to do during the bye week to make sure that you’re making yourself as hard to defend as possible.
But this week, no.
Q. You wouldn’t push a guy a few more snaps to play in terms of the rotation and everything… (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: Fair question. We like our rotation. There are some things that we’re constantly thinking and talking about our rotation. There were discussions we had today about our rotation. Maybe we got to pull a couple plays off this guy, maybe we got to put a couple more plays on this guy.
So, understanding that they’re going to have a week to rest after this, but always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, we’re trying to do what we needed to win that football game. If that means — whatever. I’m trying to think of an example.
If that means 90% of the snaps for [LB] Haason Reddick, we got to do what we got to do to win that game. Whatever it is. Throw it 50 times, run it 50 times, whatever we think is best to do to win that game, we’re going to do.
With always thinking of the players’ health also in the mix of that. With Julio, he’s still easing into it. Julio to play 50 plays yesterday wouldn’t have been a realistic thing.