Nick Sirianni

Q. We talked this week about motion as an offense, I was wondering if you could explain just your philosophy on it and the pros and cons you’re seeing? (Eliot Shorr-Parks)

NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, I think I feel like I’ve answered this question about five times in this setting. That’s fine, I’ll continue to. And I get it, there’s going to be scrutiny when we’re not playing and coaching well enough because that’s the case right now. We’re not coaching well enough. We’re not playing well enough. But motions, there are many different ways you would motion. Sometimes it’s to gather information. Sometimes it’s to set up an advantage, whatever it could be.

There are other ways to gather information besides motion that teams do all the time. That’s something that we do. It could be by formation. Just because a guy moves, doesn’t necessarily give you the answer. It could be if a guy is removed from the core, it can give you the answer. If a guy is tight to the core, it gives you an answer. This formation can give you an answer.

We spend an obscene amount of time trying to find answers for the quarterback and for our offense of what the defense is based off different looks. Now, sometimes the answer is to motion, and so there are some games where we motion more than we don’t. It’s a fair question because we do it less than everybody in the NFL.

So, I would say that these last two games have not been up to our standard, but for the past two years we have been one of the best offenses in the NFL, and we’ve been in the same place with motion the entire time.

I 100% understand the scrutiny of it and you have to ask that question. I appreciate the question. But that’s where our philosophy is on it. I know in three months I might have to answer this question again, and I have no problem with that. Without giving too much information, Eliot, that’s my philosophy on it and why you see us a little bit less down there.

But I guess what I’m saying, at the whole scheme of this, is you can get answers without movement.

Q. You’ve had a successful offense since you have been here. The last few weeks have not been up to that standard. How do you balance making some changes to make the offense more effective but not getting away from what works? (Dave Zangaro)

NICK SIRIANNI: Again, you want to do the things that you’ve been successful with, right? You want to find ways to repeat those things, you want to find ways to complement those things, and so that’s always going to be on our mind, what do we do well. But, then every defense is going to give you a different challenge and different things of how you want to attack, so that’s where it always starts.

When you hear criticism, like — okay, let me take it back to when we’re in a team meeting and I’m correcting something in a team meeting. Well, that’s a correction, criticism, whatever it is, that’s a form of that. You grow from that.

So, I will also listen to criticisms of the outside world. Now, do I sit there and look at all the things? No. [Senior Vice President, Communications] Bob [Lange] has to prepare me for the questions I may get in here. Criticisms never feel good at first, but if you can use them to your advantage, then we should.

That’s how I look at this. There are some criticisms out there. I answered the motion question, but there are some other things I’m like, ‘huh, maybe we can look at that, maybe we can do a little bit more there.’ So, I think that shows that we will find every different way we can to improve what we’re doing on offense or defense.

So that is the same thing. We’re not hitting a panic button as far as, ‘we’ve got to do everything –’ we didn’t play well and we didn’t coach good the last two weeks. We didn’t play good enough and we didn’t coach good enough the last two weeks to win the games.

It wasn’t up to our standard, so we’re pissed and we’re looking for ways to fix that. Like I said, we have our ideas of what we do, but then there are some times you look at different avenues of whether it’s the criticism from the outside or an analytical thing and you’re like, okay — I’m not saying you can do that all the time because there is an art to knowing what criticisms to listen to and what ones are jokes for that matter, right?

But that’s our job as coaches, to go over everything we possibly can to make sure we’re playing our best.

Q. Here’s possibly one: six- or seven-man rushes- you guys face them more than any team in the league and your productivity is down versus last year. Why do you think that is, and what can you do to improve on that? (Jeff McLane)

NICK SIRIANNI: I think the ones that we had the other day, let’s just talk about the Dallas game, they had one free runner on, which is when they bring one more than you can protect. We had the route on that we would really like versus that and got batted down at the line of scrimmage. Good play by their guy.

I think that goes in ebbs and flows, to be quite honest with you. I feel really confident with our guys. [C] Jason Kelce does an unbelievable job getting a hat for a hat. There is nobody in the NFL like him of setting the table of where everyone should go.

He’s seen so much football, and obviously [QB] Jalen [Hurts] is back there, too, helping, but Jason has seen so much football and knows how to get a hat for a hat. We spend a lot of time on our blitz answers, and we feel really, really confident in the ones we have.

Again, there are different things you get ready for. You get ready for secondary pressures. You get ready for different packages of pressures. You get ready for blitz zeros and all those things you have to have an answer for and all those things we go through in depth, in detail.

Obviously, I think we hit a screen for a first down to [WR] A.J. [Brown] on one of them, and then we had one that was a short on a blitz, which I loved the play call, I loved the design of the play, but their guy made a good play on it. So, sometimes that play is going to work and sometimes it’s not as far as the one where [WR] DeVonta [Smith] got tackled short of the line.

But we’re thinking about it constantly. That’s always something that’s at the beginning — like you do your blitz answers for first and second down pressures Monday; you do your pressure answers against different packages Tuesday; and we do our blitz zero stuff today. I like our process, I like the things that we do with it, and I like how our players set it up.

I know that will turn because I believe in the players we have and I believe in the coaches that we have and I believe in the process we have.

Q. You’re incorporating LB Shaq Leonard now. You’ve added WR Julio Jones, CB Bradley Roby, and S Kevin Byard. How tough is that in-season to keep incorporating new guys coming in? (Martin Frank)

NICK SIRIANNI: Again, I think our guys have done a nice job of stepping in and being able to play. Credit to those guys that [Executive Vice President/General Manager] Howie [Roseman] has brought in and a credit to the football IQ they have, and then credit to our coaches of getting them ready.

I feel like we brought the right guys in that have fit in well. So that, again, goes to Howie and his study of not just the player, but the person as well. We feel really confident in the guys we brought in. The people I really didn’t give the most credit to are the players. We have the right players here to bring the guys in with all those different things.

So, again, that goes back to our leaders, our captains, our leaders of our football team. So, I don’t feel like it’s a challenge because of all the things that we have in place here. It’s really about our players, Howie doing all the work to make sure we’ve got the right guy and the right player, and then our coaches getting the guys ready to play.

Q. When it comes to target distribution, similar to motion, you probably told us 20 times, it runs through WR A.J. Brown, WR DeVonta Smith, TE Dallas Goedert. That said, in a typical game you’re going to have seven, eight guys — you go back to San Francisco — getting targets. When you see it in one game where it’s only those three guys, is that a problem for you or is that.. (John McMullen)

NICK SIRIANNI: It’s not, because we always want to get guys involved. Listen, [RB] D’Andre [Swift] needs to touch the ball more out of the backfield as far as a receiver. He’s a dynamic player.

Now, to say though that you have 20 drop backs in a game and you’re trying to plan for everybody, that’s just not the reality. You’re planning for the guys to get the football. You’re planning for A.J. to get the football. You’re planning for DeVonta and Dallas to get the football.

That doesn’t mean we don’t have other plays on our plan that aren’t going Julio or [WR] Quez [Watkins] or anything like that. Sometimes those don’t get called in the game just the way the flow of the game goes. So, Jalen did a good job of reading out the defense and the ball went where we thought it should go on those — I thought Jalen played a good game. The ball went where it should go versus the defenses we were getting, and that was to those guys.

Again, when you try to plan for every different guy, I’m not saying there’s not options for other guys on the game plan, but there is a reason we have DeVonta Smith, A.J. Brown, Dallas Goedert. I wasn’t lying to you guys when I said the plan is going go through them.

In a game like you saw on Sunday night, it exclusively went through them and that’s rare. That doesn’t happen often, but it did in this in particular game. Again, like I said, it’s rare, but we are always planning for those guys in these scenarios to get the football.

Q. You said moments ago that you guys are pissed off. What’s been the vibe of the team from what you sense so far this week after the past two games? (Dave Uram)

NICK SIRIANNI: We’re pissed off that we haven’t played and coached to our standard. That is what you get when you have a bunch of competitive, highly, highly competitive people at the top of their field of their profession.

So, we’re pissed, and we know that being pissed only lasts for so long. You have to do something about it. We’re going through some adversity right now, and we welcome adversity, right? You don’t like it. It’s like the criticism a little bit. You don’t like it when you first hear it, but then can you use it to help you grow? There is no doubt adversity helps you grow as a team.

So, we’re pissed that we haven’t played or coached to our standard and we’re ready to go do something about it. We can’t do anything about it for the game — only thing we can do about it right now, is go out there and have a good practice and good meetings, which we are just wrapping up meetings right now.

That’s our focus. Be where we are right now and do something about it by having the best day we can have today so we put ourselves in position to go 1-0 this week.

Q. Defensive Coordinator Sean Desai mentioned yesterday there were some methods he had to test out his game plans during the week. What are some of those methods that you guys have as coaches to kind of assess what you’re doing in the game plans? And do you get to a point at some point where you tried so many different things you feel tangled with some of the solutions you come up with? (Brooks Kubena)

NICK SIRIANNI: You can mess with practice schedules, stuff like that. As far as what you’re doing to get the guys ready to go in the game, you’re trying to challenge them with all the looks they could see in the game, if this makes sense to you.

You’re trying to put them in every scenario. As a defense you’re trying to put them in every scenario they could be in. Let’s say you’re playing cover three. You’re trying to match every route versus cover three that they could run.

And then you try to throw some unknowns. You’re guessing. I won’t say guessing, making educated guesses. This could come at us too, because maybe we saw this in week four and it beat us on this.

Everything you’re trying to do as a coach is give them the answers to the test as much as you can so when they go out there it’s just identifying what the question is.

And then giving them some unknowns. That is what you do at practice. Offensively, all right, how do we run this play versus this front or that front or this front or that blitz or this coverage?

Now, the combinations of that are endless. You’re still making educated guesses based off what the team does and what the team could do. Then you’re trying to test your players. Maybe throwing some stuff in every once in a while, like I said, that are completely unknowns to test their rules within the play.

And so that’s kind of how we go about the process of getting guys ready for plays in practice. Then it goes to, well, you also have individual. You’re out during the individual part. I’m sure you guys would like to stay for the entire practice. We don’t let you.

[To Bob Lange] Right, Bob?

So, there is this portion of individual that now we’re getting them ready for the fundamentals of what they have to go out and do, the tackling, the catching, the blocking, the throwing, against the different looks they could get there.

So, it’s one thing to mentally know what they have to do, but then they have to go physically do it with their fundamentals. Those are the different ways we get the guys ready to go practice wise.

Q. Seems like the practice schedule is different today than normal, why the change? (Zach Berman)

NICK SIRIANNI: Again, you can easily change schedules to get what you need. We’re not locked into any schedule. Everything is fluid in attempts of getting better. I feel like here this is a chance for us to get better in the sense of we need to go out there and work on our fundamentals.

We’re late in the year. Sometimes late in the year you don’t have this opportunity because you’ve got to balance them being rested, got to balance them playing fresh, while also being ready physically and mentally.

So, this one we have an extra day. We have a little extra time and a little extra rest from the last game. That’s why we’re going out there today and having a practice, whereas in later parts of December we haven’t typically had that here in my past two years.

We felt like we wanted to get out there today to work some fundamental things. Does that mean that’s going to happen next week? No. Every week is a little bit different. Every week allows you to do different things. We feel as a football team we needed to do that this week.

Q. One of the things I’m sure that drives most coaches crazy is when you see false starts or encroachments. How tough is that to clean up in a stadium with the noise level of what you’ll find in Seattle? (Merrill Reese)

NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, it’s going to be loud. It’s going to be noisy. The reality of our game is there will be pre-snap penalties. We looked up — [To Bob Lange] Bob, we’re, what, eighth in penalties right now? So, our guys are doing a good job playing by the rules. That’s a credit to the players that you have and them understanding the rules and being able to physically do that.

So, we know pre-snap penalties will happen on both sides of the football. You’re trying to limit them, but there is no doubt it’s going to be loud, noisy, rowdy in Seattle.

We have to prep that in practice. Just the same question that I answered earlier. You try to prep them for everything that can happen in a game. Could rain this game. Going to probably see us having [Wide Receivers Coach] Aaron Moorehead throwing the water at the punt returners to simulate the water hitting them in the eyes and the ball being wet. We are going to have wet ball drills.

You do the same thing with the noise, so you have to be able to execute while it’s there. We try to simulate that as much as we can in practice, understanding that I don’t know if we can get it as loud as Seattle will be, but we’re going to have it loud. Not sure we can get it that loud.

Q. You’ve played a lot of snaps, especially on defense the last three to four weeks. Are you guys almost happy about the change from Sunday to Monday night? (Jimmy Kempski)

NICK SIRIANNI: I don’t know. They tell us when to play, we go play. Didn’t really think of it in that aspect. Yeah, we’ll be ready to play on Monday.

Q. A criticism of the pass game I wanted to run by you and see if you think it has validity, is that you’re over-reliant on your receivers winning one-on-one matchups and aren’t emphasizing scheming guys open enough. Does that have validity? What would be the counter argument? (Tim McManus)

NICK SIRIANNI: We think that we are things that are necessary for us to do that we can go out and execute at a high level.

I don’t know exactly where we rank. I think it’s 12th in the pass game or something like that. But we know what we’re fortunate on is that we have receivers that can get open one-on-one.

There have been places where it’s really tough in man coverage situations to scheme a guy open at all times. We have the luxury of our guys winning on different types of routes. So, when you have that luxury, you use that luxury. We’ve been pretty successful with some of those plays we’ve had to go about doing that.

But, again, that doesn’t mean you don’t work to scheme a guy open. I think there was a play in the Buffalo game where it may have looked like A.J. ran a normal slant route, but we picked for him and it was a big, explosive play. O.Z. [WR Olamide Zaccheaus] went and picked for him.

Again, never want to be extreme in anything that you do, but there is always a balance there. One benefit we have, which is why we have a good football team, is that we have guys that can win one-on-one in critical situations.

Q. Are you aware of player tracking numbers that QB Jalen Hurts’ expected completion percentage is pretty much at the bottom, but in terms of completion percentage over expectation he’s first. (Jeff McLane)

NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, I don’t know what that means.