Nick Sirianni

Q. What does it say about T Lane Johnson and just how tough he is that he’s going to put off surgery and rehab and try to be ready and available for you guys in the playoffs? (John Clark)

NICK SIRIANNI: He’s one of the toughest guys we’ve ever been around. Obviously, it says a lot about how he cares about his teammates, who he is as a teammate, and you know he’s in pain, that he’s just going to do whatever he needs to do to get himself ready to play, and that’s for his teammates. Speaks of his toughness and his desire to connect and how much all his teammates mean to him.

Q. What does it say that this team does struggle without him in the lineup, at least the last 14 games you’ve won three of them without him in the lineup. (Ed Kracz)

NICK SIRIANNI: Talk to me about that stat, sorry, because he missed two or three last year?

Q. Three. (Ed Kracz)

NICK SIRIANNI: Three. Then before that I wasn’t even here, so I have no idea about before that.

Obviously, he’s a tremendous player, and every team is different. It’s the same thing, I think, that I always answer, like well, does it mean more coming off of this game or — every team is different, every situation is different. Someone said something to me going to Arizona, [about how] we haven’t won here since 2001. I’m like, what the hell does that mean to me or what does that mean to this team or anything like that.

I guess what I’m saying is this is a completely different team. Obviously, the reason there are some of those things is because of how tremendous of a football player he is.

But every team is different. Every game is different in that manner. We try not to get too wrapped up into that as far as — did you say 14? 14.

But obviously he will be missed because of how good he is. You’ve heard me say it; Lane is the best tackle in the NFL. I didn’t say right tackle; I said best tackle in the NFL. Obviously anytime you’re missing one of your best players on the team, that’s going to affect you, but we do have a lot of confidence in the guys that will be backing him up and we have a lot of good options in that, as well.

Q. Where does QB Jalen Hurts stand right now? (Jeff McLane)

NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, we’ll see. We’ll continue to see how he progresses throughout the week. Does he have a chance? Of course he does, because his body just knows how to heal. He’s a freak. We’ll see what happens as the week progresses.

Q. Where does he stand as opposed to last week when he didn’t practice to where we are now? (Jeff McLane)

NICK SIRIANNI: He’s feeling good. I guess what I’m saying is if his body heals quickly, which I’m seeing that it does, he’s better than he was last week at this time because it’s seven days later, if that helps you.

Q. This body heal stuff, is he like a superhero or something? How does his body heal differently from anybody else’s? (Mike Sielski)

NICK SIRIANNI: [Jokingly] If you and him went up and shot baskets together, he’d whoop you; if you guys went out and you guys raced against each other, he’d whoop you; if you guys went out and tried to throw the football to see who throws it more accurate or further, he’d whoop you. So, his body heals faster than yours. [Laughter]

And he’s younger than you, a lot of different things– he eats probably better than you. I’m just singling you out because you asked the question, but it’s all of us in this room.

Q. Will S C.J. Gardner-Johnson be practicing at all this week? (Zach Berman)

NICK SIRIANNI: [S] C.J. [Gardner-Johnson] is feeling better, and it’s just good to have him be around and everything. We’ll see. We’ll see where we are with that, but I know he’s feeling better. I know he’s on the road to recovery, and it’ll be good to get him back when he’s able to get back.

Q. Will QB Jalen Hurts be at the walk-through today, able to participate? (John Clark)

NICK SIRIANNI: Still sorting through that. We don’t have to make that decision quite yet. It’s whatever is best for him to let his body heal. We’ll do what we need to do to help him to be there as far as what’s best for him. That’s still a decision we’re making. We’ll see.

Q. With T Lane Johnson in the short-term, it’s sort of T/G Jack Driscoll’s natural position, what he’s most comfortable with. Is it just as simple as Jack in the short term? (John McMullen)

NICK SIRIANNI: I’m not going to give you that answer because if I give you that answer then I give the Saints that answer, and I want them to have to prepare for all the different options that could possibly happen. We have a lot of different options that could happen. You have [T] Andre [Dillard], you have Jack, you could move [T] Jordan [Mailata]. So there a lot of different options. That’s a great thing to have options because now that guy playing the right side, our right side defensive end, there left side defensive end, has to prepare for different guys. It’s good to have options. Let’s say that.

Q. How much of a conversation is there — I assume this isn’t just Lane’s decision. How much do the medical people come into play saying look, he can’t make it worse, he can’t do permanent damage or further damage? (Reuben Frank)

NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, good question. We have guys that are so tough, and it is, it’s a combination of being tough and then there’s also not wanting to let anybody down knowing how much you — same with Jalen [Hurts], same with all these guys. They’re going to want to play through things that they might not be able to play. We’re not doctors, they’re not doctors. We have doctors, we have trainers, we have strength and conditioning staff.

It’s all those come into play. It’s what Lane is telling us how he feels, what the doctors are telling us, could it be worse, can he make it worse, all those different things are taken into play. Then my decision really [Executive Vice President/General Manager] Howie [Roseman], myself and the doctors have to decide what’s best for the player in all.

Listen, of course we want Lane to play, of course we want Jalen to play. I’ll never do that and sacrifice the player’s health. Yes, it’s good for the team, but again, never for the player’s health.

That’s why I thought it was kind of cool what happened with the Dolphins. I don’t know if I’m allowed to comment on it, but they care about — like it’s very clear that [Dolphins Head Coach] Mike McDaniel cares very deeply about [Dolphins QB] Tua’s [Tagovailoa] health, and that’s cool. That’s how we are. It’s first about making sure that our players are healthy, and that doesn’t happen unless you’re connected with your guys because if they were just guys to you, then you’d be like, can he play — when you’re connected to them, you deeply care about their health and their well-being.

Q. Is it safe to say that that decision for Lane to play whenever you guys do open in the playoffs hasn’t been made yet? (Reuben Frank)

NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, because you just never know what’s going to happen. Again, we don’t ever put a timetable on anybody. We’ll see where we’re at when we’re there.

Q. What are the doctors and trainers saying about the risk of furthering the abdominal tear and how effective he can be when he’s in the lineup? (Tim McManus)

NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, I won’t get into all that with you as far as what conversations they’re having. What I will tell you is like I kind of always say with injuries, I’ll always keep private conversations private, things like that, in-house, and when he’s ready to play, his body is ready to play, he’ll be out there playing.

Q. Some of the crazy catches WR DeVonta Smith has been making along the sidelines going up and getting them, in your mental memory of all the receivers you have been around, is there anybody he reminds you of or anything like that? (Bo Wulf)

NICK SIRIANNI: No, he’s very unique. Man, that catch he made on the sideline, he can just turn his body better than you and I can turn our bodies. Sorry to keep going back to that. It’s pretty remarkable what he was doing with that catch he made. First of all, it was a great throw by [QB] Gardner [Minshew] to put it on that sideline and he got his feet inbounds. It’s remarkable what he can do with that catch he made over the middle, and they’re all different styles of catches.

So he jumps out of the gym to say, turns his body to catch that one in the two-minute drill. Then on the sideline on the other one, he torques his body a different way and gets his feet inbounds, so he has a sideline catch, he has one that’s unbelievable where he jumps up and makes this unbelievable catch, and then he has one where he catches it knowing that the corner and the safety are going to crush him, and he makes that catch, too.

What’s so amazing about it is he’s doing it in all these different ways. He made some unbelievable catches, and he continues to do so throughout the year and throughout the last two years we’ve been there, and it’s not anything new because he was doing that at Alabama, as well.

Q. Those catches along the sidelines, is that teachable? (Bo Wulf)

NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, you rep it and you try to put him in a position where you’re dragging your feet or being very aware of your feet on the sideline. You do it as much as you possibly can, but then there’s definitely a big part of it is instinct, and he knows where he is. He knows how to feel that.

The other thing people don’t even talk about is he catches it, boom, and then how many times have we seen a receiver fall to the ground like this and the ball pops out. That one on the sideline not only does he know where his feet are, not only does he turn his body in a freaky way, but he also gets to his back where the ball won’t pop out, which again, they’re all things that you teach, but you have to go out and do it. So, there’s a ton of instincts, and that’s what I’ve always admired about [WR] DeVonta [Smith] is how instinctive of a football player he is, how high his football IQ is, all those things.

Q. Along those lines, what kind of makes WR DeVonta Smith and WR A.J. Brown such a good tandem, beyond their individual talent, obviously? (Martin Frank)

NICK SIRIANNI: When you have two guys, I think what’s really unique, I don’t think I’ve ever been part of a team where two guys have a thousand yards. But what makes them unique is it’s just hard to take one away. So not everybody has two corners or not everybody will say I’m going to match this guy here or not everybody has in their scheme to roll. They’re just hard to take away because sometimes you can attempt to take a guy away, but when you have two of them, like okay, you’re taking that guy away, you can work here. Then really we have three in the sense of we have [TE] Dallas [Goedert], as well, that are very unique guys.

Q. As far as the turnovers, it’s something you highlight and drill each week, so how do you respond to so seven turnovers in two games? (Zach Berman)

NICK SIRIANNI: First of all, you’re pissed. You’re pissed because it always starts with us as coaches, we’re always going to look at ourselves first, 100 percent of the time. So, we’re going to make some adjustments of how we drill it. We did this same thing after the Washington game. We were drilling it a certain way and we added a little more reps to how we drilled it, and we’re going to do the same thing this time.

You always look at what the issue was and then how can you fix it as a coach, and it’s always twofold, what can you do to help put them in better positions and what fundamentals can you teach them to help them be better at that.

We’ll go out there today and have a little different tweak to what we’re doing, a little extra and a little different tweak to put the guys in a better spot, but I think what it shows you is there’s a lot of parity in this game. It’s a hard game. [When] you’re playing a good offense like we were playing on Saturday, you can’t give them the ball in a short field because they can make you pay.

Again, I give the Cowboys credit. I give the teams that are able to force us into turnovers credit because they’re forcing them, too, but we’ve just got to be better at coaching and we’ve got to go out and execute the little bit of different fundamentals and the additional work that we’re doing.

Q. On sort of a micro level to that turnovers, RB Miles Sanders was pretty upset when he put that one on the ground. He had such success, 13 games, and then two in a row. Do you have to handle that differently? How do you approach that? (John McMullen)

NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, every player you talk to, you handle them differently because they’re all different. They’re all unique in their own way.

So that’s of real big importance. That’s what I was always taught as a coach. The other reason why you connect besides why you got into the business is so you know how to treat each player because if I treat you different than I treat everyone, it’s different. You guys are different. I know you guys always sit next to each other right there, but you guys are different, and all the players are different.

Every player in that scenario, in a scenario like that, first of all, we’re all going to want things back. We all understand that, too. I want plays back. I know the players are going to want plays back, and so you understand that, and then the only thing that matters at the end of the day is that you get better from it. Two things, that you get better from it and the player knows that you believe in him still.

Obviously [RB] Miles [Sanders] has had a tremendous year. He’s done unbelievable things this year, career year for him. We sure as hell still believe in him, and I know he believes in himself still, and like I said to [The Athletic reporter] Zach [Berman], we’ll get better at how we coach things, and we’ll get better at it.

Q. What do you think of this Saints team coming up? (Chris Murray)

NICK SIRIANNI: I’ll speak on the defense. There’s no doubt they have playmakers on offense, very unique playmakers with [Saints RB Alvin] Kamara and with [Saints TE Taysom] Hill and with [Saints WR Chris] Olave. I have a lot of respect for those guys. I think [Saints QB] Andy Dalton has always been a good quarterback in this league who just knows how to win.

As far as the defense goes, a [New Orleans Saints Head Coach] Dennis Allen-coached defense has always been a good defense. A lot of respect for Coach Allen, and then the players that they have over there, they have good playmakers. They have good guys along the front. No. 56, [Saints LB DeMario] Davis, has been good for a really long time. He’s an outstanding player. He knows how to get his guys lined up. He runs the show over there like so many good mike linebackers that the NFL has seen. You can just see him doing those same types of things.

[Saints LB Pete] Werner, I’ve got a lot of respect for him, No. 20, the linebacker that plays with him. [LB] Christian Elliss’ brother plays on that team, and he makes a lot of plays, No. 55. [Saints S] Tyrann Mathieu, you’ve always got to be alert for where he is on the field. I think 29 is playing really good football at corner, from Stanford. He’s long, he’s got the ability to get in and out of the breaks. He’s physical. We know that about him. Again, and then you have [Saints DE Cameron] Jordan, No. 94; you’ve got No. 92.

They have players. They have good players, and I always think highly of the scheme, and I always think highly of the way the players play, too, because I know that’s a sign of a well-coached team.

It’ll be a challenge. We’ll have to be on it to make sure that we can counter all the things that they do well.