Q. I wanted to ask you about this group, you had ten guys play in their first NFL game on Sunday, eight of them were rookies. Just the way this class seems to have a lot of maturity, this rookie class, doesn’t seem like the moment is ever too big for them. What have you seen from them as a group as far as being ready, being prepared, doing the work and acting like veterans? (Reuben Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, again, when we drafted these guys, the first thing we looked at, obviously, was talent.
The second thing we wanted to know was if they love football – I know I’ve said this before – that they love football, if they have high character, right, and they were tough. And these guys – we felt like that was a common denominator of all these guys and my experience with players is if they have these things, they reach their ceiling. Obviously, the first thing is talent and those other three things, they reach their ceiling.
I feel good about those guys because they have those things and all of them are good people and all are them are tough, all of them love ball and that’s important in just the evaluation process. It’s a tribute to [Eagles Executive Vice President/General Manager] Howie [Roseman] and his staff of finding those things out and getting that information. And that’s why – when you have guys like that, sometimes it feels like the moment isn’t too big for those guys because they are mature enough to handle it.
Q. Sort of along those lines, there’s a video of the locker room of WR DeVonta Smith dancing and enjoying himself. What’s it been like kind of seeing his personality come out? Has that been a slow process? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, because you always think he’s quiet. You think he’s more of a quiet guy initially. He’s nice, got a great personality but he’s very serious about football and that’s great. But that’s what you want to see after a game. You work hard to get to that moment, and I want him to feel great after a game like that and celebrate after that and crave to get that again. So, it was good to see [WR] DeVonta [Smith] do that. Maybe I have to learn that dance and I’ll do that next time.
Q. What is 49ers Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryan’s scheme? Is it the Seahawks 4-3 under, more of that or is it a hybrid? And what have you learned from people here who knew him and what they expect from him? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, scheme is very similar to what those defenses are, the Seattle’s, the old Atlanta’s, the old Jacksonville’s, the last year’s San Francisco’s. There’s a lot of guys that run this scheme and they run it really well. Good, sound defense.
As far as coach [49ers Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryan] there, everybody in this building talks super highly of him and how good of a person he was and how smart he was and how hard of a worker he was. So, no surprise to me that he’s a good coach as well. I have a lot of respect for him. I got a lot of respect for that defense they have over there in San Francisco.
Q. 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan, has he had influence on you directly or indirectly and, in your opinion, what makes him a good offensive designer? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think where [49ers Head Coach] Kyle Shanahan – I don’t know him personally, I know him to say, ‘Hello,’ but where he has influence on me, as any good coach has influence on me with how they coach their team, you can see he’s a good coach. His team plays with good fundamentals and good scheme. It’s, ‘Hey does your team play with good fundamentals and good scheme?’ To me, that’s a big part of how you’re a good coach. That’s where he’s had influence on me is just his scheme and the way his players play.
No secret how good of a football coach he is. What’s the second part of that question?
Q. What stands out about him as an offensive designer? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think he knows how to attack a defense. He knows the system really well. He knows what compliments his system really well, that’s what stands out to me. Again, don’t know him to ask these questions. But you see teams run good plays and the good defenses and a good schemer, so that’s what sticks out to me for Kyle.
Q. About the running game, a lot of people talk really going back to Kyle’s dad, about their running scheme. What makes it stand out, even though they lose players, and they seem to always have effectiveness running the football? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: Obviously, it always goes to the players. They have a good offensive line, they have some good players over there on that offensive line, but then just how you coach it, right? It’s like anything. If I see a play on tape as a coach, and I just throw that play in there, right, there’s times that you do that. There are times that you do that.
But sometimes it feels like if you just do that, you don’t know all the intricacies of that play and know how to adjust versus all the different things the defense can do to you. It is very clear to me that they know exactly how to run outside zone and their mid zone and how they want to run it and what they need to do versus different things and that’s why they have success at it. So, that’s just him knowing the type of scheme he runs and knowing it well and doing a really good job of coaching the fundamentals of it.
So, a tribute to – we know how good at running the football team they are and that’s a tribute to him as a head coach and all his offensive coaches.
Q. As far as QB Jalen Hurts goes, how much flexibility do you give him at the line of scrimmage as far as checking in and out of different plays or maybe changing a play? (Ed Kracz)
NICK SIRIANNI: Sure. You know, it’s a – nothing is extreme, so it’s not like, ‘Just go do everything you need to do.’
There’s plays where we put, ‘Hey, we want off these couple looks, this is what we want to get to. Off this look, we want you to get to this.’ Or, ‘Hey, if you see this look, we want to check to it.’ So, there’s flexibility but the flexibility changes based off the play, based off the look. Sorry, I know that might not answer your question.
Q. You’ve talked about wanting to have every single wide receiver be able to play all three positions, just like you have two tight ends who can pretty much line up anywhere. When you have seven guys who can play in the slot, how much does that help you with individual matchups every single week? (Mike Kaye)
NICK SIRIANNI: If you are able to move guys around like that, it is hard to key in on a guy and know exactly where he is. It definitely helps. I think if you’re stationary as a wide out and you just stay in one spot – some teams go, ‘You’re only to the right, outside’ or some teams say, ‘You’re only the X or the Z or the F,’ or whatever they want to call that.
I think talking to the defensive coordinators in my past, it’s a little easier for them to take that guy away. The other thing we like to do is move them around based off what they do well. It’s a dual purpose.
You always want to think – like before you even think of scheme – I was taught this by my head college coach a long time ago, [former University of Mount Union Head Coach and Athletic Director] Larry Kehres – before you think about scheme – and I’ve said that here plenty of times – it’s all about the players. It’s first about the player. Players, players, players, players, players, players. So, what do they do well? Put them in positions of what they do well and then try to match that up to the scheme. I think that’s what it’s about more so than anything, and because we do it that way, I do think it poses more issues to the defense.
Q. When you look at QB Jalen Hurts’ completion percentage from last year, it was 52 percent. What was the one thing you felt like you had to help him improve going into this year? Obviously, it was 77 percent against the Falcons. (Martin Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: That’s just getting the reps of the plays that we know we’re going to run. We just needed to get him the reps of things. We feel confident that he’s read a lot of these things multiple times throughout camp. We held back a lot of these things, obviously, in preseason to not give a good look — for the opposing defenses to get a good look of it. It’s just getting the reps — very similar to the question I answered here with Kyle. You want to make sure that they know what to do, with your base plays they know what to do versus every different look. That’s why San Francisco 49ers are good at the outside zone play or mid zone play. We want to do that same thing. So that’s what’s important to me is, ‘Hey, where are you going versus this look, where are you going versus this look, where are you going when you think it’s this look but then it turns to this look,’ right?
It’s just the added reps of getting him to know where to go with the football, because he’s a good enough passer, he’s a really good passer, right, and he does a lot of other things really well. It’s the accumulated reps of decisions of where you are gong with the football in time, does that mean you throw in rhythm every single time? No, but you will more if you know where to go with the football. Then if you don’t, then he has that great weapon of being able to run the football.
Q. How much of a challenge is this game against the San Francisco 49ers as opposed to last week? And how much does getting that first win take the pressure off and just focus on your development? (Mike Luongo)
NICK SIRIANNI: You know, again, I didn’t — I don’t think of it that way. I just think of what we need to do to win this football game and that’s what the last two days have been of our game plan and that’s what we’ll continue to do the next two days. What do we need to do to win this football game, offensively, defensively, special teams-wise and now that we are here with the players in the building, I sound like a broken record, I get it, but what are we going to do to make sure we leave this building better than when we stepped in here today? The pressure of any win or loss or home game, it’s just solely focused on what do we need to do to win this football game scheme wise and how are we going to execute that plan, and are we going to put ourselves in position as a team like we did last week to get better every day, so when you step up on the field on Sunday, you’re ready. Practices were crisp last week, and we stepped on the field and were ready to play that game. If we don’t have good practices this week, we’re not going to be ready. It’s being in that mindset, that dog mentality to put yourself in position to go out and win the game on Sunday.
Q. It’s been 20 months since you have had a sold-out Lincoln Financial Field for this city. What are you anticipating as far as the environment and atmosphere and what is it going to be like the first time for you there with everybody there? (John Clark)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, I’m excited. I’m excited, definitely, to get this home crowd behind us. What a great football city this is. Fans are the best in the NFL. So of course like you see the challenges that are posed to you when you go to another home field, right. You go on the road, there’s challenges. There’s things you have to work on throughout practice throughout the week to help prepare yourself. So, knowing that — and every detail counts. With the margin of error so small in the NFL, everything matters. Everything matters. Not just, ‘Hey, these things matters.’ Everything matters. And so this home crowd matters. Can’t wait, knowing that the margin of error is that small and now we have the home crowd out here cheering us on, that’s a huge advantage, super excited to feel that energy, to feel that energy when we come out. I’m going to be looking at that screen when Rocky comes on. I’ve talked about Rocky before. But I’m going to be looking at that screen when rocky comes on, and Adrian says, ‘Win,’ and everybody gets juiced up. I’m going to have some energy when I see that.
Q. The terminology from the players has not been week one, week two, it’s been round one, round two. I guess from the outside it’s self-explanatory, but from your perspective, is there something significant to that message? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: It’s just that you can win round one and if you’re sitting in the corner thinking about how good you fought round one, you’re going to get your butt kicked in round two. It just ties into — and it is, it’s like — I mean, the NFL, it’s awesome. It’s like — think about all the fans we have in the NFL. It’s unbelievable this game. I love this game. And so, it’s like a heavyweight prize fight, all those people pay all that money to go see it and the Pay-Per-View to see it. It’s the comparison that every game is a heavyweight championship bout. It’s a couple different modes, like it’s playing the next play mode and next game mode but every round freaking matters, and let’s go.
Q. How did you like the defensive line rotation? How did that work out last week? Does DT Fletcher Cox need to get more involved? Or can you do things to get him more involved?(Bob Grotz)
NICK SIRIANNI: I like the defensive line rotation. We definitely need that and we need to be able to keep those guys fresh to keep that pressure on the quarterback and on the run game. Fletch [DT Fletcher Cox] affected the game a lot of different ways that sometimes it doesn’t show up on the stat sheet. They will come, though. When you affect the game the way he was affecting the game, those stats will come.
Q. The 49ers signed Former Eagle Kerryon Johnson to their practice squad. When you have a guy that has been here that recently, how aware do you have to be with that? Do you have to change anything? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: My experience with that is he doesn’t know what the game plan is this week, right. He can go in there with a lot of different information but that’s a lot of information to dissect. I know any time we’ve been in that scenario, and you start to talk to the guy about, ‘What do you do here, what do you do here,’ it becomes too much. It can become too much information. So we’ll have a couple things that we need to do most definitely, but we can’t overreact to that either.