Nick Sirianni

Q. Obviously we all know your relationship with Frank Reich, and I guess two-part question. Number one, do you plan to bring him in in any kind of role? When you do add a coach in the middle of the season in general, what goes into that decision to change the staff a little bit on the fly? (Reuben Frank)

NICK SIRIANNI: You know what, Roob, it’s obviously very early with everything that’s going on, so I haven’t thought about that quite yet.

As far as bringing somebody in in the middle of the year, what goes into that, a lot of times is familiarity with the person. So that’s what goes into that quite often, is the familiarity with the coach, the relationship with the coach.

But I’m not there yet. Obviously, we just finished up our evaluation of our game and starting in on San Francisco.

Q. The last couple games you guys have had some issues offensively in the first half. What do you attribute to those issues and where did you think you guys need to fix it? Is it scripting? Is it other stuff causing these issues? (Chris Franklin)

NICK SIRIANNI: Give credit to the defense of what’s happened. We haven’t started the way we wanted to start. Obviously, we look at all that stuff. We always want to start fast. Traditionally the last couple years, we have been a team that has started fast.

So, I’m not hitting a panic button by any means. I think we’ve been pretty good on our first drive, pretty good starting in general, obviously the last two games, but I get it, you’re judged off the last two games, not the whole body of work sometimes.

So, we’ll make sure we’re working hard as coaches to put the guys in positions to succeed. So not just scripting. I think a lot of times what happens, because you asked scripting, so that’s going to mean play calls and all that stuff. It’s design of plays, too, right?

And so, when a play doesn’t work, we put it on ourselves as coaches. It’s not just about the play call, it’s about the design of the play and our detail of which we go about teaching it and instructing it.

So, any time I take something like, ‘hey, that’s us as coaches’, I’m not speaking of play calls. Sometimes it’s the play call, but sometimes it’s the design of the play which goes into that.

So, we look at all that and we’ll be better.

Q. After how much talk there has been about DT Jordan Davis from the time he got drafted about his conditioning level, how impressed were you to see him play not just 62 snaps in that game, but to have the gas left in overtime to chase down Bills QB Josh Allen? (Dave Zangaro)  

NICK SIRIANNI: He’s worked really hard. We’ve been on him about his weight and conditioning, and he’s been on himself about his weight and conditioning.

I think before I say that, Jordan wants to please people, right? He’s a great teammate. He wants to please his teammates and coaches because that’s the type of person he is. That’s a good quality to have.

So, he knows how much we need him in the best shape of his life, so he’s worked really hard at that. He has worked really hard at getting his weight of what it needs to be, his body fat of what it needs to be, his conditioning of what it needs to be, and he’s always a work in progress, but he’s really worked his butt off.

That showed yesterday big time with the amount of reps — obviously 95 plays for an offense to have is an awful lot, and then with some our defensive tackles being banged up, he stepped up and had a nice game and played a lot plays.

That’s a product of how hard he’s worked, and he’s had to work really hard at maintaining his shape and we’ll continue to expect him to do so, and I know he’ll continue to do so because he doesn’t want to let his teammates down.

That’s one of Jordan’s best qualities.

Q. You have a decent sample size now working with Offensive Coordinator Brian Johnson as offensive coordinator. What makes him unique as a coach and a play caller? (Tim McManus)

NICK SIRIANNI: Again, I just think it’s his — he’s just calm in all scenarios. Whether things are going really well or whether things aren’t going so well, he just stays in the moment. I think he’s very steady.

You can tell that he has played quarterback at a very high level. You look over at Brian in certain situations and he’s stoic, just the same guy the entire time.

He’ll have fun and enjoy a touchdown, but he’s also just thinking about the next play, the next series and all those things. I just feel like that is a calming factor to everybody when Brian is calling plays is that demeanor that he has.

Again, obviously I wasn’t good enough to go to Utah; played at Mount Union, but I could see how calming he would be in a huddle when everything is on the line.

It’s a calming confidence. He’s confident. He has a calming presence. I really think that’s a really good quality that Brian has.

Q. With WR DeVonta Smith, his production has been very high the last five games. I don’t want this to be a, ‘why isn’t DeVonta getting more targets’ question because I know there are a lot of variables, but why isn’t DeVonta getting more targets when you look at his numbers the last five games versus the first six? (Jeff McLane)

NICK SIRIANNI: Obviously, DeVonta has to share target counts with [WR] A.J. [Brown], with [TE] Dallas [Goedert]. Still always going to run it through those guys, and now there are some things that are planned with [RB] D’Andre [Swift] as well.

And so, he always is going to have to — with this team he’s always going to have to share that target share. So that doesn’t mean we don’t design things for him. I think you’ve seen the last couple games he has had more opportunities with Dallas out.

But he’s always going to be a focal point on our offense because we know how good of a football player he is and his playmaking ability.

I think right now we have the target share the way we envision it. Is that going to be a perfect science every time? No. There will be times he has more targets than A.J. and sometimes A.J. has more targets than him.

There is no doubt about it that he’s a big-time playmaker in our offense, and we have a lot of good play makers in our offense. It’s a challenge to get them all the football, but it’s a good challenge to have, because the options are obviously you feel good about your play calls any time it’s going to No. 6, No. 11, No. 88, No. 0.

And I’m not even mentioning the other guys like [WR] Julio [Jones] and [WR] Quez [Watkins] and OZ [WR Olamide Zaccheaus] made a huge play yesterday, and Kenny, right? [TE] Jack Stoll made a huge play. We had a lot of contributions from a bunch of different guys yesterday.

You feel good about the play call when it’s going to No. 6.

Q. You were kind of talking about play design a little bit earlier. The walk-off play that looked pretty good to the naked eye, to us. I know you don’t like to give away a lot, when you look at that play, is that RB D’Andre Swift selling the motion? Is it C Jason Kelce recognizing what the defense is doing? What makes that play work so well? (John McMullen)

NICK SIRIANNI: I think yes to both of those responses. That’s the beauty of football, right? It takes everybody. It takes all 11 guys working in unison, and it takes [WR] DeVonta [Smith] running off on the opposite side and getting No. 31’s back turned to the play where he can’t react back out to make a play.

It takes the down block by [T] Jordan Mailata to take his guy and physically put him on the other side of the hole. It takes the down block by [G] Landon [Dickerson].

Takes the cut off block — you know, [G/C] Cam [Jurgens], if you noticed in the play, Cam does a good job getting himself in front of the guy. Now, he falls to the ground, but he stops the lane of that guy coming and crashing.

It takes not only the motion timing by [QB] Jalen [Hurts] to snap it at the right time, but also the threat that D’Andre is on that motion. It’s like who is that guy? There better be attention going over to 0 because he just made a huge play the play before.

So, it’s all those. It takes the guys who are in on that play. [TE] Jack Stoll was the No. 3 receiver; [WR] Julio [Jones], was the No. 2 receiver; [WR] A.J. [Brown] was the No. 1 receiver. It takes them having a good block on the perimeter the other times we’ve run that bubble play on the swing screen.

So that’s what’s awesome about football. It takes everybody.

I didn’t even mention, [C] Jason [Kelce] and [QB] Jalen [Hurts] obviously had two of the most important parts. Jalen had to get skinny through the hole and Jason had to wrap around and kick out block, which he does so unbelievably well. It was just great execution. With the combination of Jordan and Jason creating that hole and that lane there, that was a big time play. That will be a play that I sure will remember for a long time.

I’m not sure I’ve ever been on a team that has won in truly walk-off fashion in the NFL. I know there were plays like last year at Indy we scored with Jalen on a play, but then we had to go out and play defense. I know there’s been times where our defense has picked the ball off on one of the last plays, but then we had to go out and take a knee.

So, there’s a lot of those. I’m not sure I’ve ever been a part of one where it’s truly a walk-off. Shoot, that was awesome. I mean, I got to feel like what Bryce Harper feels like when he gets a walk-off homerun, or Mike Trout was in the stands yesterday, what he gets to feel.

That was really, really cool, really, really special. A memory that I feel like will be with me for a very long time to be able to celebrate with our guys off of a walk-off.

And, again, and I’m rambling here, it just speaks to the game of football and how awesome and how beautiful this game is, that it takes everybody, and how cool it is to be a part of a team. It’s special. It’s really, really special. It was electric in that stadium last night and no bigger moment than that play right there.

Q. There were times in the game where CB Darius Slay was shadowing Bills WR Stefon Diggs; there were times he wasn’t; the interception came when he wasn’t. What did yesterday reveal to you and Defensive Coordinator Sean Desai about the adaptability of your secondary? (Brooks Kubena)

NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, I thought our corners played an outstanding game. So much high praise for Stefon Diggs. He’s a phenomenal football player. It was fun to watch him in person.

I don’t know if fun is the right word. Shoot, he’s a really good player though. But Slay did a nice job. Again, I think that’s exactly what you said, Brooks, is like sometimes it is to shadow him; sometimes it’s not. You don’t want to give a beat to the defense, same way you don’t want to put A.J. in the exact same spot every single time so a defense can take him away, or DeVonta.

So, they all have to play different roles and different coverages and different spots. We have a good veteran secondary that’s continuing to come together. We’re going to want plays back from yesterday, but they are still learning to play together with [Passing Game Coordinator/Associate Head Coach] Kevin [Patullo] getting everybody lined up back there.

So, I think that we showed that Slay and [CB] James [Bradberry] in particular can go to different spots and play different roles, and that’s what makes them good players and that’s what has made them good players in the NFL for a long time now.

Q. In knowing how obsessive you are about game situations, what were your takeaways from the last 40 seconds of regulation? (Zach Berman)

NICK SIRIANNI: There’s a lot of situations to think through there. Really when we got it down there and still had two timeouts, I’m thinking, ‘hey, there’s a pretty good chance we can score a touchdown here and end this right here.’

Obviously, we had a couple things go against us that are a little bit — that were obviously unfortunate. Again, there is constant communication of, ‘okay, if this ball is completed here, this is what we’re doing; if it’s not completed here, this is what we’re doing,’ et cetera, et cetera.

So, there was a lot of good back and forth on our coaching staff talking through all those things. That’s what you prepare for. That’s the obsession and the attention to detail that you prepare for throughout each and every week.

A scenario that almost came up yesterday that didn’t is a scenario that you prepare ad nauseam about, and I’ve probably only had two of them in my entire career as a coach with them. So, one almost came up yesterday; it didn’t, but we are ready to go in that circumstance.

What was really special is just with the — you know, we had the false starts and [K] Jake [Elliott] still was able to tie the football game because of how clutch he is. We lost some yards there and Jake was still able to put it on his leg to send the game into overtime.

Again, another special team moment where the camera zoomed in on Jake fist pumping, but it took the entire 11. It took the snap by [LS] Rick [Lovato] and the hold by [P] Braden [Mann], and those guys work so hard together to make sure that the fundamentals of the snap, hold, and kick is seamless to them.

When you work as hard as they work on this particular skill and that particular fundamental, then it doesn’t matter how big the moment is. That’s partly Jake, too. He’s clutch. But they’ve done it so much that they know how to react in any type of moment and any type of condition. What a big time kick in the elements we had yesterday.

It was a steady rain, as you guys know, throughout that entire game. Sometimes that rain was heavier than others. Felt like the wind shifted a little bit when [Bills Head] Coach [Sean] McDermott called a timeout. Jake just figured it out and made a big-time play.

Q. Is the situation that you talked about rushing the field goal unit onto the field with no timeouts? (Zach Berman)

NICK SIRIANNI: That we would rush our field goal unit? Yes, that is, Zach. And obviously that came up Denver versus Buffalo, and comes up a lot during an NFL season, and came up twice in the Denver versus Buffalo game, as we know.

The only time I was ever a part of that type of scenario was in 2016, San Diego Chargers at the Cleveland Browns, and then I don’t want to relive the rest of that moment. You guys can look up what happened there.

Q. That K Jake Elliott kick aside, it was a big day for the special teams and it’s been like that all year. What do you attribute what I think is the significant improvement from last year to this year? (Jimmy Kempski)

NICK SIRIANNI: Our guys are playing lights out. First of all, I think [Special Teams Coordinator] Coach [Michael] Clay has done a phenomenal job. That guy loves football. Coach Clay loves football. He loves the process of football, and he is just obsessed with getting better.

I really think that he’s grown so much in two years, and that was very obvious that he would based off just everything we had heard about him, the interview process with him. He just continues to get better.

His staff, [Special Teams Assistant] Tyler Brown and [Assistant Special Teams Coordinator] Joe Pannunzio do a great job with him. I give them a lot of credit of how hard they work at getting the guys better fundamentally, scheme-wise, all these different things.

And then the players are just playing outstanding football. We have a lot of different guys making plays. [LB] Patrick Johnson had a huge tackle yesterday that was a violent hit at the level of the ball that could have had an opportunity to jar the ball loose on that.

If you look at [WR] Britain Covey, his big punt return, you’re going to see [CB] Kelee Ringo have his gunner almost out of bounds way far away from Britain [Covey].

And going back to Britain [Covey], I think to myself, I can’t believe we cut this guy at one point. This might be the best returner in the NFL. And he doesn’t get the credit he deserves. Like he’s special. We know we have a weapon with Britain Covey.

And, shoot, as crazy as we were to cut him [WR Britain Covey], there were 31 other teams crazy not to pick him up. We all make mistakes, right? But he is a stud. I constantly ask our coaches, I’m like, is Britain [Covey] going to be first team all pro? Is Britain going to be in the Pro Bowl? I’m on a mission to make sure that happens.

He’s special. It goes back to this unbelievable team game we play and [CB] Josh Jobe getting his block and Kelee [Ringo] getting his block, and, I mean, it’s just an awesome team game. Like I said, there have been so many different guys that have stepped up. [S] Sydney Brown running down — he’s flying down there to make plays on coverage units.

Our captain on special teams is Jake [Elliott] and we already talked about his contributions. How about we go to the physicality on the field goal block unit where [DE Brandon Graham] BG and [DT] Jordan [Davis] create a little lane right there and push back a little lane and [DT] Jalen Carter gets the block.

It’s just been a great team football. Led by Coach [Michael] Clay, led by the guys having unbelievably highlighted year. I don’t mind singling them out: Jake Elliott and Britain Covey and Josh Jobe and Kelee [Ringo] is really starting to come on.

So, it’s just been great individual efforts and team efforts by our guys and really good coaching by Coach Clay and the group.

Q. LB Zach Cunningham has assumed a really important starting role in the defense, especially with LB Nakobe Dean going down. What’s your level of concern with Zach Cunningham’s injury and status for this week, and if there is some concern, what options are on the table going forward? (Olivia Reiner)

NICK SIRIANNI: Sure. First let me say [LB] Zach [Cunningham] is one of the most physical football players I’ve been around. You really notice his physicality when he’s out there. He’s tough. Again, haven’t seen him today. Haven’t talked to our trainers quite yet, trainers and our doctors — but I know that [LB] Zach [Cunningham] will do everything he can in his power to play.

That’s just the way he’s been since he’s been here as far as his physicality and toughness. So obviously he’s important to our defense, important to our team, and I’m hoping that he’s ready to go.

Options, I think we have good options. I think you saw that yesterday with [LB] Christian Elliss came in and had a couple really nice plays. [LB] Ben [VanSumeren] has been coming on. So, we feel good. Feel about our guys on practice squad and feel like we have some good options available to us.

We’ll take it day by day this week and see what happens this weekend.

Q. Maybe related to that, but you may not be able to comment on potential interest in free agent LB Shaq Leonard, but what are your most vivid memories of being in the building with him when you guys were together? (Bo Wulf)

NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, he [LB Shaq Leonard] made a lot of plays, that’s for sure. He had a knack for the football and how to get the football. What I remember is just how, as an offensive coordinator, how hard he was to throw around. His length was comparable to Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 zone at Syracuse. He’s going to make a play in the passing lane.

He was a great teammate and I really enjoyed being around him. I still have a relationship with him. I think he is a great person, great teammate, and like I said, the main thing was the ball and the length that come to mind with that.