Q. I guess we’ll get started with the injuries. Can you give us an update on DE Brandon Graham, G Brandon Brooks, and also LB Davion Taylor kind of hurt his calf again? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, [DE] Brandon Graham, he did rupture his Achilles. We’ll be without him. He’ll be out for the year.
[G] Brandon Brooks, he strained his pec. We’re thinking he’s probably going to go to IR but it’s not a season-ending injury.
And then day-to-day with [LB] Davion [Taylor]. He had some scar tissue that built up in his calf that he had a little bit of pain in there. So, he’s day-to-day.
Q. If you look at the distribution of QB Jalen Hurts’ passes, where they are on the field, there are not a lot of throws over the middle of the field over the first two games and that was also the case last season. What is that a function of? What’s the reason for that? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: Well, just in our first two games – I can’t answer anything that happened last year, but in our first two games, that’s where we wanted to attack on the defensive side. Outside the numbers there and underneath a little bit. And so, that’s just a product of who we’re playing and what routes we have in for that week.
Q. How did OL Landon Dickerson play in his first action? And assuming he’s the guy at right guard next week, what does he need to do to improve? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: He played a solid game. He’s definitely – we all know that we all have to do things to improve based off last night or yesterday’s game, but I thought he played solid for his first outing. Again, there’s just some things with his pass pro we’ve got to clean up, assignments and stuff like that. But encouraged by his first start, his first time to play significant snaps.
Q. What did the tape study tell you about the biggest difference between Jalen Hurts’ week 1 performance versus Sunday? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: Just with the game, I thought he played a good game. I thought [QB] Jalen [Hurts] played a good game. Was it the same type of game he played the week before? No, but there were just some things that we need to clean up. Maybe a misread here or eye discipline here. But again, I thought he did a lot of things well, got to the right place with the ball. I wanted him to be on time on a couple other things that he wasn’t, but he went to the right place with the ball for a majority of the game and he made a lot of plays with his feet when things weren’t there because a couple times their guys got through, but I do think the protection was really good in our game. The protection was outstanding. Our offensive line did a phenomenal job against a very stout front.
Q. Looking back at that goal to go after the pass interference, two of those passes, the one to TE Zach Ertz and then the one from WR Greg Ward to Jalen Hurts, it looked like there was only one option on there. Is that accurate? Do you normally want to have one option on plays down at the goal line? (Rob Maaddi)
NICK SIRIANNI: Well, as far as the one to [TE] Zach [Ertz], that’s a goal line pass. Usually goal line passes are, “Boom, boom,’ like top-down reads. That top-down read was – without getting too much into it and giving out too much information – that top-down read was Zach to run. [49ers DE Nick] Bosa kind of came out, Landon had to pick up Bosa, so he wasn’t able to lead out on to it. So, that was the second option of Jalen running.
As far as the receiver pass again, I don’t feel great about that call. That’s a gadgety call right there. Again, don’t feel great about that call. But, with my experience with wide receiver passes, it’s one and done. We don’t like to give them too many options. I’m sure [WR] Greg Ward could handle more options since he used to play quarterback, but receiver passes are typically just one and done, so yeah, that’s accurate there.
Q. G Nate Herbig has some experience playing right guard. What went into the decision of placing Landon Dickerson ahead of him in the game? And what did you – basically overall, why did you decide to put Dickerson in at right guard in practice the week beforehand as opposed to say left guard? (Chris Franklin)
NICK SIRIANNI: We just felt like – every decision that we make is what we think is the best – that’s going to give us the best opportunity to win. We liked what Landon did in practice all week and we felt comfortable with him going in the game and playing.
Q. Even with BG’s injury, DE Josh Sweat played only about 40 percent of the snaps. Was that by design or was something else missing there? What does he need to do now that BG is out? Is he a guy that’s going to have to fill that role and step up? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, [DE] Josh [Sweat] – that was kind of with some of the packages that you play against, they were in more 21 personnel, 12 personnel, so that just forced a couple different packages for us to be in. He’ll play more. Looking back on it, he should have played more there, too, but that was just a design of what packages we were playing against, against the 49ers.
Yeah, obviously we’re going to miss the heck out of BG; He is the heart and soul of this team. Look forward for guys stepping up, different guys leading, just a continued role for [DT] Fletcher Cox to lead. I think he’s a great leader. He’s been sharing that with BG, now he gets to take over that on the field to run that defense and help run that defense.
So, look forward to everybody that gets an opportunity to step up in the absence of Brandon Graham. But, we’ll definitely miss Brandon and he’ll be missed throughout the entire building.
Q. Staying on the defensive ends, DE Derek Barnett had a personal foul that cost you what would have been a 3rd and long. I know you weren’t here in past years, but this has been an issue for him before. I guess, what’s your level of tolerance for those types of penalties and how do you go about fixing them? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: Today it’s a little different schedule today than it is a normal Monday after a game. Today has been more about the coaches holding the coaches accountable, myself holding the coaches accountable, the coordinators holding their coaches accountable. That’s what today has been about. It’s just one of our core values is we hold each other accountable. These are not fun days. You come in after a loss and it’s not a fun day. You’ve got to have tough conversations; You’ve got to hold each other accountable and get better from it. But that’s the only point of this whole thing, is how do we get better from the letdown that we had?
So, it will be no different with [DE] Derek [Barnett]. Again, I can’t speak to anything that is in the past, obviously any personal foul is an unacceptable foul that happens after the ball is out of bounds, so that will be addressed just like it is throughout the entire organization after a win or a loss.
Q. A couple of your players talked about the 24-hour rule you guys have, both after a win and a loss. What is your message to them about moving on, and how big of a challenge is it with your first division game coming up here at the Cowboys? (Jamie Apody)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, today is a little different just because we got that extra day, so we haven’t even watched the tape with these guys yet. This one will be a little bit longer. It’s a tough loss, but it’s going to sting for a little bit longer just because tomorrow is when we’re going to watch this tape with the guys.
But most definitely, you got — dog mentality is not just, ‘Hey, we win a game, move on.’ It’s not just, ‘Hey, we lose a game, move on.’ It’s you win or you lose a game and then you correct what went wrong, because if you just move on without fixing the mistakes or fixing the issues or continuing to work on the things that went well, then you’re not getting better from it.
Yeah, it will be — the 24-hour rule will just be extended a little bit until we’re out of films today. But we know that the whole thing about this is how do we get better from this tape and how do we move on, and how do we not make the same mistakes over again that we made in this last game.
Q. The wide receivers caught five passes in the first quarter and then just one the rest of the game, that was WR Quez Watkins’ long one in the middle of the second quarter. Do you guys need to do anything to make sure the ball gets in the hands of the playmakers or is that just a case of QB Jalen Hurts taking what was given to him? (Reuben Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, we always want to get the ball into our playmakers’ hands, but a little bit — obviously a lot of that is what they give to you and what they don’t give to you. Again, some of those are designed to get the ball to the wide outs, but something breaks down and then he’s got to scramble, right. It’s not always as it seems based off of where the ball went. Sometimes it’s what the defense gives you. So there are other factors that go into it.
But no doubt we’ve got to get our guys the ball and give them an opportunity to make plays. At the end of the day when you’re struggling — we were moving the football. I really felt like we were moving the football. I think we had one three-and-out to start the second half, but in my opinion, we were moving the football, moving the football and then it would stall out.
When it’s stalling out, you’ve got to think players, players, players over plays. I’ve got to do a better job at that, and that’s my responsibility. That’s me holding myself accountable, because when we all need to do that, we all need to look in the mirror and hold ourselves accountable before we can hold others accountable.
Q. After DE Derek Barnett’s play, S K’Von Wallace had a head shot, knocked a guy out with a head shot. Whether or not that was intentional, that’s kind of the rule. Then today on Instagram he went and said that’s the worst call he’s ever seen. You have a guy with a history of cheap shots in Derek Barnett, which you’re not responsible for, but then you also have a guy who’s criticizing the officials. Do you think there’s maybe a discipline issue with maybe your defense or your team, and if so, how do you propose to address it? (Marcus Hayes)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, same thing with Derek. We talked about the Derek thing. I’ve got to hold them accountable for what they did. There’s a standard of what it is, and when the standard is met, we praise that, and when the standard is not met, we correct that.
That to me is — accountability is a form of discipline and discipline is accountability, same thing. So we correct it when it’s not right. The correction comes different ways. Sometimes it’s a hand over the shoulder and you correct it that way. Sometimes it’s a yell and scream. Sometimes it’s just very matter of fact. That discipline comes many different ways, and that’s just an art to coaching of when you do that.
But I don’t believe that. We’ll make the corrections that we need to make, and we’ll go on from there.
But as far as the referees, I don’t ever want any player criticizing the referees. They’ve got a hard job just like we’ve got a hard job. They’ve got to make these decisions in a split second, and we all make mistakes, and again, I’m not saying it was the right call or the wrong call, but we’ve just got to hold ourselves accountable and not look at anybody else.
Q. As far as who gets the first-team reps at that right guard spot, will it be OL Landon Dickerson or will you work G Nate Herbig in there, too, and as far as DE Ryan Kerrigan goes, how much will you count on a veteran like him to fill that void that DE Brandon Graham leaves behind? (Ed Kracz)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, obviously everything is a discussion. We’re just in the early game — we watch the tape this morning, and now we’re in the early game plan part before the players come in tomorrow on Dallas. Nothing is final there. I don’t want to say, ‘Hey, it’s going to be Landon, it’s going to be Nate,’ one way or the other right now because we’re not there yet, to be perfectly honest with you.
And then yeah, just everybody has got to make — when you lose a good player like Brandon Graham, there’s many different roles that — and many different hats that Brandon wears that a lot of us have to be ready to step in and fill the void. That goes from Ryan Kerrigan as far as playing the edge, setting the edge like BG does, rushing the passer like he does. Then that’s also like I said with Fletch [DT Fletcher Cox] taking even a bigger leadership role with the absence of Brandon. It’s not just a one-man show, it’s going to take all of us to replace a good player like him and a good leader.
Q. I know you guys have only given up a total of 23 points defensively, but San Francisco had two of those drives that were each over 90 yards, and the week before Atlanta had the 14 and 15-play drives. Does anything concern you about that, and what kind of things can you do to fix that? (Martin Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: Well, I think when those happen, it’s that either you made a mistake on a penalty or you’ve given up a number of 1st downs. The positive part of that is against Atlanta, the positive part is you bent, but you didn’t break and you didn’t let them in the end zone. But the positive part of that, you’ve got to think about this, is that the explosive play wasn’t there. When those drives have to go that long, there’s an element of a lack of explosive play that the offense didn’t have. Now, I know that wasn’t exactly the case with the 97-yard drive. I know they hit that big in to [49ers WR] Deebo Samuel. But it’s hard for an offense to go that long and to be that efficient for that many plays in a row.
I’m looking at the positive of that. Of course, yeah, you want to stop them on those and get off the field on some of those 3rd downs, but big plays are a big part of this thing. Again, two big stats we look at are the turnover battle and the explosive play battle. So, you know you’re not giving up explosive plays when there’s a long drive like that.
Q. You’ve pointed the finger at yourself a lot over the last 24 hours. I was curious how do you go about self-reflection and self-coaching after a loss to kind of improve yourself before you can improve your coaches and players? (Mike Kaye)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, just by watching the tape and putting yourself in all the scenarios again and saying, ‘Did I really like what I did here? Did I really like what I did here?’
Again, this accountability thing only works if you’re holding yourself accountable first. Again, I’ve said this before, everything is going to start with me, how I lead — if I’m down, I feel like the staff is going to be down, then the team is going to be down. If I’m up, same thing, and if I’m not holding myself accountable, everybody is not going to hold themselves accountable. That’s how I view my role.
If I want the players to do it, I need to do it first. I’ve got to lead by example.
So, it kind of just goes through just watching the tape, checking the call sheet again, looking back at the studies that we did, and just evaluating every call like I evaluate every play of the players. ‘Okay, well did he take the right steps here on this inside zone play, yes or no; did he get his job done?’ And I do the same thing with myself. It’s not a fun process, but it’s a necessary process, and the only — it’s just like I say to the players, the only thing — I’m not looking to drag myself through the mud, but if I need to, I will, for one reason and one reason alone, is to get better so I do my part next week to give this team every chance it needs to win, and then I think we all need to be in that mode and we’ll have a better chance to win next week.