Q. What capacity do you expect DT Jordan Davis to practice, and could you see him playing on Sunday? (Josh Tolentino)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, he’s doing a good job. He’s rehabbing. You know I’m not ever going to give anybody a timetable. We don’t have to make a decision quite yet about that, and so we will see.
Q. Will he practice today? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: We’re in walk-through, so he’ll be out there and, yeah, he’ll be out there today.
Q. Do you have any further update on S C.J. Gardner-Johnson? (Breland Moore)
NICK SIRIANNI: No, just what you guys know as far as the lacerated kidney. I know he was in some pain on the field and he’s doing well right now. As far as how long he’ll be out, you never really know with that and you know I’m not going to put a timetable on anybody.
We just hope he gets better, and we’ll play it safe with that. That’s obviously a dangerous injury and we’ll think about his health just like we do all our players first, and then he’ll get on the field when he’s ready.
Q. How do you rehab a lacerated kidney? (Reuben Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, that I can’t answer. I don’t know. I think it’s probably a lot of rest. I don’t have a great answer for you on that one. I would imagine a lot of it is going to be rest and make sure it heals up.
Q. What grade is it? (Jimmy Kempski)
NICK SIRIANNI: I don’t know.
Q. Is he avoiding IR at this point? (John Clark)
NICK SIRIANNI: I’m not going to give you all that because I’m not going to put a timetable on any of that because we don’t know quite yet. So, grade, IR, all that. You guys know how I’m going to answer that normally.
Q. So life without him, what are your thoughts on the state of the safety position? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: I really like our room. I think [Defensive Passing Game Coordinator/Defensive Backs coach] Dennard [Wilson] is a great coach and has those guys ready to go, a lot like what [Defensive Coordinator] Coach [Jonathan] Gannon talked about in his interview, how good of a job that Dennard and [Assistant Defensive Backs coach] D.K. [McDonald] did getting them ready and having them be able to step in there.
Obviously, [S] Reed [Blankenship] had to go out there and do it, so Reed was ready to go because of his mental preparation and his ability to get ready through the week.
So, we like the room. We like the guys on the practice squad. We like the guys that we have in the room. We’re always doing anything we can do to help make the team to be successful, but I really love that room. I have a lot of confidence in that room.
Q. With WR A.J. Brown facing his former team this week — he’s not the first player to face his former team — but do you treat some of those situations differently depending on the player and what the emotions are? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think the constant reminder is, hey, this game is big to us because it’s our next one. This game is big to us because we don’t want to let each other down. You can’t ride the waves of the season. To answer your question, no. I don’t think you treat it any different with how you tell one player toward another player.
What I said to [WR] Zach Pascal before we played Indianapolis is going to be similar things in my message to [WR] A.J. [Brown] this week. He doesn’t have to do any more than just go out there and be himself. He doesn’t have to press. He just has to go out there and do his job to the best of his ability with the attention to detail, and to go out there — because if you allow yourself — every week you can do that to yourself.
I know there is no team for A.J. to go home to in Mississippi, but I’m going to New Orleans, and I am going to treat that bigger because I’m playing in front of them. Or now I’m going to play my former team here. Oh, now I’m going to play — I’m thinking of Ole Miss guys — now I’m going to play this team and that was my college roommate, and so now I have to get up for this one.
If you just treat everyone the same, right, that’s the way to go. And then you don’t allow yourself to ride these waves of the season, because there is always going to be different schedules, there is going to be Thanksgiving one week and then there is going to be Christmas one week.
You got to stay true to your process, and that’s the key. Because every game, the next game is always biggest game. We don’t want to let each other down, and so you got to prep for every game the same. But naturally human nature will take over, and that’s my job as a coach to make sure that he knows he doesn’t have to do anything more than just be A.J. Brown. That’s why he’s here. That’s why we traded for him, that’s why we paid him, because he’s a phenomenal player. Just go be yourself. You don’t have to do anything special because you’re special enough to go out there and play.
Q. Speaking of WR A.J. Brown, he was kind of describing what he went through to play on Sunday with his illness. That probably doesn’t surprise you just with his toughness. (Martin Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: He’s tough as hell. He’s just got so much toughness and he just fits great into this team with a bunch of guys, we have got tough guys, and he was able to fight through a tough week and get himself ready to play.
You know, went out there and executed.
Q. On draft night you spoke about not having to see much film to have to be sold on him. What have you learned about him; how does it compare to having him in person relative to what you had before? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, first of all, as the person goes, we just got a top-notch person. I can’t say enough about [WR] A.J. [Brown] the person. Obviously, his play speaks for itself. He’s a great teammate, he is a great person. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know A.J.
So that was obviously a good thing.
Then as far as the play, yeah, as advertised, right? Didn’t have to watch a lot of film. Obviously knew a lot about him and he was as advertised.
Then you get him out here and there are obviously things that you think to yourself, man, well, he can do that, too, and that’s going to be a nice addition to this offense.
So, yeah, everything we imagined, as advertised, and then some.
Q. In the same regard as the players facing a former team, you guys play Titans Senior Defensive Assistant Jim Schwartz is with the Titans now. What is that like for a coach facing a former team and what kind of intel do you give your new team? Does that actually help at all? (Jamie Apody)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, no, it does, because, man, we spend so much time with each other as coaches picking each other’s brains. We always want to know why you did this or why you did that. It would be similar, let’s say [Defensive Coordinator] Coach [Jonathan] Gannon gets a head coach job next year and we play them, it’s going to similar things there because you have intel.
Obviously, I wasn’t here with [Titans Senior Defensive Assistant] Coach [Jim] Schwartz, and I have so much respect for Coach Schwartz. He’s a phenomenal defensive coach, defensive coordinator. But I wasn’t here with him. There are some people that were here with him, so you go back to these conversations.
But you also understand that they know that on that side, right? That Coach Schwartz knows the information that we know. So, there will be some game within the game of trying to change it, trying to make you feel like — put a seed of doubt in your mind of what you know. So, we know it. This isn’t the first time we’ve went through that.
Obviously, we went through that a couple weeks ago in Indy. We worked with [Colts Defensive Coordinator] Gus Bradley before, and he definitely did things to put seeds of doubt in our mind. That’s what good coaches do, like Gus Bradley and Coach Schwartz.
Q. What are the teaching points for QB Jalen Hurts when he’s running in terms of protecting himself? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: That’s something to me that’s very instinctual. Don’t take hits, obviously, and don’t go to the sideline and play what we say, play pound on the sideline. Keep the ball on your outside arm so you can lower your shoulder and play pound. I’m not looking for him to do that.
Slide when you need to. Understand that the slide has to start before the guys get up on you, so you don’t — like we saw in Green Bay. There was one that the fans wanted a call on, but he started to slide late and 20, Ford, got a hit on him because he was already in motion.
So, start the slide early.
But things you can’t teach is how he moves his body so the guy doesn’t get a clean shot on him. Or the stick the foot in the ground and make the guy miss, but also having this feel for where guys are around you. Okay, if this guy squared me up, am I going to stick and miss? How do I teach him where all these guys are around him? That’s instinctual. He’s got great instincts there.
But there are things like I just mentioned that we will tell him how we don’t want him to take a hit on those. I think that starts — obviously we have those coaching points, but there is so much instinct on [QB] Jalen [Hurts]’s part that he’s making our job easy as coaches, because we don’t have to tell him too much on that.
Q. Does his ability to avoid those big hits kind of make you more apt to have a game where he has 15, 16, 17 carries? (Reuben Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, of course. If the guy was constantly putting himself in danger, then it’s our job to help him. Just like with our kids. It’s our job to help them and make sure they’re not putting themselves in danger.
Even though you say sometimes, well, they should know that better. Well, maybe they don’t, and we’ve got help them. So, it’s the same thing there.
Again, the plays you call, the things you call are built off of confidence built in the week, they’re built on confidence built throughout time, and you call those plays knowing that they can be successful, but also in this situation, Jalen is going to keep himself safe.
That doesn’t always have to be just with a run play with Jalen. That could be with other plays. I won’t get into different schemes, but it’s with other plays as well that you try to protect him with.
Q. What stands out to you about the Titans’ defense? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: They have good players at each level. I think they’re really well coached. I think I said that to you guys already. Got a lot of respect for [Titans’ Head Coach] Coach [Mike] Vrabel. Obviously, a lot of respect for [Titans’ Defensive Assistant] Coach [Jim] Schwartz and their defensive coordinator also. They’re really good coaches and you always knew — when we play them twice a year, we always knew that team was going to be really well coached, really disciplined, really physical, right?
Those were three knowns that you knew going into every one. So you needed to be physical and you needed to be disciplined and you needed to be — your job detail had to be very crisp and we had to do a good job putting the guys in position and making sure the detail was right.
That’s the same thing we see. Then you get into their players, right, and you know that I was with [Titans DL] Denico Autry. I think a lot of him. I think he’s a really good player. [Titans OLB] Bud Dupree, [Titans DT Jeffery] Simmons. Those three guys are really good on the defensive line.
Then you go into their secondary, you know, [Titans S Kevin] Byard has been good for a really long time. [Titans DB] Andrew Adams has made some plays. I enjoyed my time with him. I was bummed when we didn’t get to keep him through last year.
You combine good coaching with good play makers, that’s why they’ve been who they’ve been under Coach Vrabel. So just a lot of play making ability and then also just tremendous coaching.
Q. The Titans are successful at running the ball; you do run the ball. Right now, the league is on trend to have the highest yards per carry in NFL history; receiving yards are down for the first time since 2010; on pace for the most rushing yards. Why do you think that is? Is this a real trend of running the football? (John Clark)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think that’s more of — we know what we need to do to stop the run, we know what we need to do to be able to run ourselves. That’s different each week based off of who you’re playing obviously and the players they have and the schemes that they do.
As far as why it’s a leaguewide thing, I think that’s more of an off-season study I’ll figure out. Maybe there is more middle field open coverages or the threat of quarterbacks running. I don’t know. I can’t answer that question just because I’m not looking at the league as a whole.
We’ve just got to do what we need to do each and every week to stop the run and to be able to run the ball ourselves, and that changes each week obviously based off of who you’re playing.
Q. Along those same lines, what impressed you most about Titans RB Derrick Henry? (Pat Gallen)
NICK SIRIANNI: Shoot, he’s done this for a very long time. He’s big. Obviously really big, really fast, is able to get going downhill really quick and I always think they get good O-line play there as well.
But he just has things you can’t coach. He’s got great vision. Not only can he lower his shoulder and break tackles, with being able to break arm tackles, stuff like that. Got a really good stiff arm, but also has speed to finish long runs.
When you’re looking at backs and you’re looking at them in the draft process and they’ve got all those things, you’re like, man, this guy is a complete back, and he is, he’s a complete back that does a lot of things really well.
Q. It’s the “My Cause, My Cleats” game this week. How special is it for you as head coach to watch your players really just embrace all of these nonprofits? (Breland Moore)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think it’s really cool. What we know is that we have a platform to be able to inspire change in a good way, so it’s interesting to see. It’s just another form of connecting for me to see everybody, what’s important to them. I might not always know this is important to this guy or this is important to that guy, so obviously it’s cool — in general it’s cool that these guys are using their platform to inspire change for something that they really care about.
Then like I said, the second portion of that is I just get to know a little bit more about these guys, which as you guys know, is really special to me. That just spurs conversation and then how can I help with that.
So, I think this is a really cool thing that the NFL does. I’ve always thought that about this. I’m glad our guys get to put on display what kind of men they are. Not just what type of football players they are, what type of men they are. I really think highly of this football team and I’m obviously biased because I spend so much time with them and I love these guys, but I know we’ve got really good guys. And not just good football players but good men on this team. It’s cool that they get to display that.
Q. If you showed teach tape of WR A.J. Brown, is there something in particular that you highlight? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: With A.J., yeah, just the ability off the line of scrimmage and at the top of the route for a big man. So, the explosion off that, just how he plays with physical presence. And that happens right at the line of scrimmage and at the top of the route, whether it’s a little flipper at the top or how he gets the guy’s hand off him at the beginning and is able to lean on him and break both ways off that.
Yeah, a lot of good fundamentals out of him.