Q. Can you tell us who the quarterback for Saturday will be? (Eliot Shorr-Parks)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, it’s looking like it’s going to be [QB] Gardner [Minshew]. [QB] Jalen [Hurts] did everything he possibly could to get his body ready to go, and just at the end of the day he’s not going to be able to do it.
Man, he tried like crazy and I know he still wants to go. That’s just the toughness [he has]. Jalen Hurts is the toughest player I’ve ever been around. My brother and I talked last night. I talk to my brothers at the end the week all the time. He’s in recruiting now. He’s not out here, but he needs to get some of the good Eastern Pennsylvania players over there in Western Pennsylvania.
He’s like, ‘Man, how did he play through that? Like he did that to his shoulder?’ [I said] ‘Yep, yep, that’s what he did.’ [He said] ‘How did he throw any passes after that?’ I go, ‘Because he’s the toughest son of a gun that I’ve ever been around.’
For him to go out there and do what he did after he had that sprained shoulder was really truly remarkable that he was able to go and not just play, but play really well.
He’s so tough. But we just felt like it’s the best thing that he doesn’t play this week. His body is not there yet. Gardner will be our guy and Gardner will be ready. Gardner worked his butt off for this opportunity against a really good football team and had a great practice yesterday.
I think you guys have all heard that, how good a practice he had yesterday. A lot of energy out there. He’s ready to go.
Q. What’s your confidence level that if you need QB Jalen Hurts next week against the Saints you’ll have him? (Reuben Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: You know I’m not going to go there yet. We’ll take it one day at a time, one game at a time obviously.
Again, like I said, he’s worked his butt off to try to get himself back. We’ll see day by day of where he is.
Q. Can you take us through the logistics of Tuesday? QB Gardner Minshew was in Mississippi for Coach Leach’s services. From your guys’ perspective, Offensive Coordinator Shane Steichen said he talked to him a couple times, but what else? Were you sending him clips? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, with Zoom and the way you can video things, I mean, installs were videotaped. Zoom was available to him when he was available. Obviously, we can FaceTime him and talk through with clips and everything.
So there a was ton of communication back and forth while still giving [QB] Gardner [Minshew] time to be able to do what he needed to do to honor his coach that obviously he was very close with. We wanted to respect that obviously as well and he needed to be there.
And so, yeah, there was a lot of communication that went back and forth. We felt like we didn’t miss a beat. It was a walk-through. Obviously, he missed the walk-through plays, but he’s so on it right now and we feel really good at where he is mentally. That’s just never an issue with Gardner. He has to always go through that process of he might not get a lot of reps but be ready to go, because that’s his job as the backup quarterback.
Q. As obviously an emotional guy to begin with, what have your conversations been like given what he has been going through this past week? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: Obviously, I’ll keep all our conversations private, but I just wanted to be there for him if he needed to talk about anything. I thought about the coaches I’m close with — when we kind of talked — I’ll say a little part of it — we talked about every time my teammates and I get together or we text back and forth, there is always a story about one of our favorite coaches in [former Mount Union Head Coach] Larry Kehres. Now, Larry Kehres is alive and I’m not saying that like in that sense, but we do all talk about him.
I don’t even want to go there with Coach Kehres, but he’ll live on forever because of the stories we have for him, and kind of we talked about and Gardner shared a couple stories of [late Mississippi State Head Coach] Coach Leach, just what made him special, what made him special to him, which was cool.
That man will live on forever too, because of how many lives he touched. That was our talks about that like without getting too much into it. I know he means a great deal to a lot of the people in this world, Coach Leach, and Gardner is one of them.
Q. I know you have bigger goals, but you got an opportunity to tell the team, the eight Pro Bowlers, I think you had nine alternates, how exciting was that for you to have that kind of individual success for so many guys? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: Any time guys get recognized I think that’s awesome. It’s just a great feeling as a coach, great feeling as a team that you’re able to tell the guys that they were recognized by their peers, by the fans, for the job that they’ve done.
I feel like that when the guys make Pro Bowl or make All-Pro or player of the week or player of the month or whatever, it’s so much — for play of the game every week, there are pictures on the wall back here for play of the game each week, and then we take them down and put them back up.
One thing that’s so cool for me, is we give them a player of the week photo of themselves that they get to take home and put wherever they want to put them. I know every time my assistant will be like, do you want me to pass them out? I’m like, no, I got it. I want to give it to them so I am able to [say], hey, awesome, look at this picture right here.
It’s always cool just like when they score a touchdown or get a sack or have an interception, it’s cool to be there to celebrate with them. Same thing in this scenario as well.
I always thought one of the coolest things as a coach, too, is like I just have good memories of guys when they get a good contract, when they get a new contract or whatever it is, how exciting that is as a coach for them as well.
Any time you’re going through — you have to go through so many ups and downs in the season, when you have an opportunity like that to celebrate something cool with them, that’s cool.
Q. How did QB Jalen Hurts take the news when you told him he couldn’t go Saturday? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: Obviously, he’s disappointed because he wants to play. Again, like I said, he is the toughest guy I know, and we have to do what’s best as the organization to put him in a safe spot, because he would play through anything. He showed that in that fourth quarter against Chicago, that he did play through it. He played through everything.
Obviously disappointed. Wants to be out there with his teammates, but these are hard conversations you have to have sometimes.