Q. What’s QB Jalen Hurts’ injury and how long will he be out? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: I’m never going to put a timetable on anybody. I know you will always try. I’ll never put a timetable on him.
He has a sprained shoulder, and I don’t put anything past [QB] Jalen Hurts as far as his mental and physical toughness. There’s a chance he could play this week.
He is one of the toughest guys I know, and he heals fast. He’s a freak. His body is not like – pardon me – yours or mine. I’m shaming myself there a little bit, too. His body is not like ours. He heals fast. He came back fast from his injury last year, and I will not rule him out, will not put a timetable on him, and we’ll see. We’ll see what happens this week.
He’ll be ready to go if he can play this week, and so will [QB] Gardner [Minshew].
Q. If it needs to be QB Gardner Minshew, how much of the offense changes, and what is your confidence level with him? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: We are going to have to plan for both guys to play. We’re going to have to have a plan for [QB] Jalen [Hurts] to play. We’re going to have to have a plan for [QB] Gardner [Minshew] to play. There will naturally be some differences because why, because there’s going to be things different that Gardner likes that Jalen might not like as much and vice versa.
There’s always going to be slight differences because you go through the process with your quarterback who’s playing in the game.
That will mean a lot of extra work for us this week just to make sure they’re both ready and that we understand what they both like, but there will be some differences but not huge differences.
Q. What would have to happen for Jalen to be able to play Saturday as far as is it pain tolerance? Does something have to heal? (Reuben Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: It’s about the healing process. With [QB] Jalen [Hurts], he hurt that, as you guys know, in the third quarter, and that hurt him. You guys will talk to him; it hurt. He was hurting. He had a freaking great fourth quarter.
Pain tolerance with this guy, I never worry about. He’s an unbelievable competitor, unbelievable toughness. This is why every time there’s a question asked about Jalen, the first thing that you get regardless of how he’s playing or whatnot is about his leadership ability and his toughness, both mentally and physically. It will be more about the healing with Jalen than it will be about the pain because he can play through anything.
Q. What have you seen from QB Gardner Minshew’s ability to kind of stay ready this season? He’s only gotten in a couple of games. (Martin Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: He’s what you want out of your backup quarterback, to be ready with limited reps. Now, we’re able to do things differently here than I think most places I’ve been. We take a lot of time, and we have a lot of developmental reps.
Like I told you guys, some of the developmental periods that we stuck with from last year that we continue to have is like, hey, do we want to cut this, no, [QB] Gardner Minshew rule. Gardner wasn’t here in the last training camp, right, two years ago training camp, and we gave him those developmental periods and he developed in the offense. We already knew he was a great player, but he developed in the offense so if his number got called, he would be ready to play, and he went out there and played.
But it’s Gardner first and foremost, his ability to be able to do a lot without reps because of just how high his football IQ is.
Q. Is QB Jalen Hurts going to be taking part in the walk-through this afternoon? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: We’ll see. I’m not quite sure where we’ll be yet with that. He might be doing some rehab with it. I have to talk to these guys still, so we’ll see.
Q. This is the second December that he’s gotten injured. I recognize they were two different types of plays, but do you have to reevaluate the way you’re deploying him? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: The last injury was in the pocket on a sack. This injury was on a zone read. For us to be the explosive offense that we want to be, [QB] Jalen [Hurts] is a very good passer, and he’s shown that he’s become a better passer by each game that he plays.
But he’s also in the MVP race, which in my opinion he’s played better than anybody in this league so far this year, and he’s in that MVP race because of his dual-threat ability, with his ability to not only do what he’s been doing passing the ball but also what he’s been doing running the football. That comes different ways.
I think he’s got — what does he have, 13 touchdowns, different ways to do that. Like I said, we’re always going to think about his safety first, and I know you guys are probably like, well, he got hurt. Well, he also ran for 180 yards against Green Bay, and I get it, sometimes it’s a result-based thing. Well, he didn’t get hurt that one, he’s our MVP, oh, he did get hurt, what are you guys doing. I get that. I get that that’s going to be part of the scrutiny, and I understand that. But we are who we are as an offense, explosively, scoring-wise, all those different things, because Jalen can do so many things, both running the football and passing the football.
Q. As a playoff team with big aspirations, why not be patient, and how do you factor that into the approach? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: Because we don’t take anything for granted. We want to make sure that we go out there and take care of our business. We all know, we need to win one more game to make sure that we win the division. That’s your first goal that you want to do.
We want to go out there and win this game, and if a guy is ready to play, then he’s ready to play. We’re never going to put the guy in a scenario where we’re going to be detrimental to him, or set him back. So, it is all about if he’s ready to play.
We think that that’s a possibility.
Q. So you’re saying it’s black and white; he’s ready or he’s not, or is there a gray area where – (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: You want everything to be black and white in this game, but in all — I’ve learned this a long time ago, a lot like we want it to be black and white with his reads, we want him to be black and white with his checks, but there are elements of gray that you have to live in.
We’d love for it to be completely black and white, but there might be some elements of gray in there.
Q. This is a team that you might see in the playoffs, this game coming up in the playoffs here relatively soon, how do you balance that, in terms of preparing for this game – (Eliot Shorr-Parks)
NICK SIRIANNI: You have to do what you have to do to win this game, and that’s always our sole focus. Then there’s a time for after this game [to ask yourself] what did we do this game, how can we mesh this or how can we do that to make it look like this. You do what you need to do every single game. You always are in the moment. You’ll never get that out of me where I’m saying, ‘Hey, let’s think about in three weeks here.’ It’s always how do we do what we need to do to win this game, and then we’ll worry about how we mesh things together later if we do play them again.
Q. Getting back to that gray area you were talking about, as a coach, we all know QB Jalen Hurts’ toughness. Is there a time where you’ve had to pull a player back, because you know he wants to play? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, of course, you always have to protect the player. These guys, they all want to play through everything. That’s why we know we’re a tough football team. Why are we tough? Because of the men that sit in these seats out here. They’re tough. They’re physical. They’re tough. That’s why we’re tough.
So, you always have to do what you think is best for them. Like hey, can this injury get any worse, all these different things. Can he play through this, can he not do it through this. So, we have to do the things we need to do to protect them because I know our guys. I know they’re going to want to play through everything.
Hey, I’m not a doctor, either, so I’m not making the decision on if the shoulder is stable this week or whatever. I’m taking the information that we’re getting there and then we’ll make a decision that’s best for Jalen.
Q. If QB Gardner Minshew does play — it seems like him and TE Dallas Goedert had a connection last year in the game that he played. How big would it be to have Dallas back this week? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: Obviously no matter who plays quarterback for us, [TE] Dallas Goedert is a weapon for this football team. The more good players you can have on the field, the better.
I’ve said this before or right after Dallas got hurt, I said, when Dallas gets back, you guys asked me where is it going to go from here, who are the plays running through, and I said [WR] A.J. [Brown] and [WR] DeVonta [Smith] will get more, and then we’ll get it mixed up. Well, Dallas is back now we’ll run it through those three guys again.
Q. Even before the play where QB Jalen Hurts got hurt, there were quite a few where he took big hits on those read plays. In game do you have conversations to figure out if the risk is worth the reward? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, sure, always. What happened on the play where he got hurt — we had run that play earlier in the game, and I think we got five on it. We were able to pin the edge with No. 9, with [Chicago Bears DB Jaquan] Brisker and [WR Zach] Pascal pinned the edge. We got around the outside. It was just what the design of the play was. Well, at the snap of this one the second time, we had to block out because Brisker jumped outside. Good recognition by him. And what happened was the guy that gave us the pull read retraced and was able to get back in on the play. That’s just what — you guys watched the tape. That’s what happened.
Again, you’re always thinking that you’re safe because you don’t want to put them in harm’s way in the first place. Really at the end of the day we had two plays that were called runs for Jalen, and he actually, you asked me about it, he checked to those two, and then there was one other one, he checked the two and then there was one called run and the rest were zone reads.
And what the benefit of zone read is we have this great offensive line, but I was always taught you win games on the front side and you win big ones on the backside. The backside wins, it was really as easy as this: Front side wins games, backside wins championships. We’ve got to be great, and the whole point of it was you have to be great on the backside. Well, sometimes on the backside what happens is your angles aren’t good. You might have good angles this side, but the backside has to reach and get through.
So, what’s a way to counter that? Well, you counter that with zone read plays, right? So now you’re reading the backside with better angles as opposed to trying to cut off the backside.
That is a huge part of our success in the run game. A huge part. Sometimes we’re not even running zone reads, sometimes it’s just the threat of Jalen to potentially pull.
That’s a strength of our offense, that we have to continue to have if we want to be successful, and like I said, we’re always going to be thinking about how to protect Jalen. That one he got hurt on that one, so ultimately it still comes back to me, but we’re trying like crazy to every single time we run one of those plays to protect him, and what happened on that play was it got spit back inside.
Q. A year ago Jalen Hurts stood up there and said he was going to play against the Jets, and you guys listed him as a limited participant. How much does he have to practice to be able to play, and what happened last year that went from him saying he’s going to play to him not playing? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: Every player is a little different. I wouldn’t say, ‘Hey, this is the rule. Like if you don’t practice, you don’t play.’ I think that’s living in an extreme world. A wise man avoids all extremes. You don’t just say, ‘Hey, this is it,’ when it comes to that. There are some things you do that with but not this.
I don’t have a clear-cut [answer]. There’s some gray here. I don’t have a clear-cut answer for you to say, ‘He’s got to do this.’ He just has to show us he is healthy, and if he shows us he’s healthy enough to play on Friday, then he shows us that.
What changed a year ago at the Jets was your second part [of your question] that we listed him out. Simply that we didn’t feel like he was ready, and we wanted to protect him, and we knew we were very capable and in great hands with [QB] Gardner Minshew.
Q. So much attention is going to the availability, but the throwing shoulder is important for a QB. When he’s back, what sense do you have of how his performance could be affected by this? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, not there yet. Not there yet. Like I said, we will play him when he’s ready to play. If that’s this week, that’s this week. If it’s next week, it’s next week.
When Jalen is ready to play, he’s ready to play all aspects of it. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.
Q. I noticed RB Miles Sanders didn’t touch the ball until midway through the second quarter. I know what you said about RPOs, but should he have gotten some more touches? (Martin Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, I have to give him just some called runs, and [Offensive Coordinator] Shane [Steichen] and I, that’s our job is just to make sure we get him some called runs that he can get touches early. Now, we were throwing it a little bit more based off — why were we throwing it little bit more? Well, the defense that Coach Flus [Bears Head Coach Matt Eberflus] and Alan Williams, their defensive coordinator, were running left us one-on-one in places we felt like we had match-ups. We ran run plays, too, it’s just we ran some zone read stuff, and then sometimes on a run play you have an advantage look that you throw out there and you try to get what you get there.
But we felt like we had match-ups that we liked on the perimeter, and I think those guys showed that they won those match-ups. Those two guys had really good games. They were players of the game this week.
With all that being said, myself and Shane have to give Miles some called runs because Miles is a great player, and we have to get him some touches early.
The time of possession was a little off, too. I think the time of possession was — I don’t know, you guys would know better, maybe 22-8 in the first half, so we didn’t have a ton of plays, either, that ideally until we had a two-minute drive late in the half.
There are a lot of factors that go into that, but with all that being said, we have to get him some touches early, and that’s my job to do that, so I take full responsibility for that.
Q. How has Miles Sanders been running? Seems like he’s been a more physical, decisive runner than his first three years. (Marcus Hayes)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think he just keeps getting better. I think he’s running the crap out of the ball. I think he’s doing a really nice job of being decisive. I think he’s doing a really nice job of being physical. I think he’s doing a really nice job — I say this after his only fumble, but he’s gotten a lot of touches; he’s done a nice job of protecting the football and then protecting the quarterback. I just think his whole game continues to evolve.
I’m really pleased with how Miles Sanders is playing. To your point, yeah, because I’m pleased with him, he should get the ball more. Make no mistake about that.