Q. Is T Jordan Mailata out this week and will T Andre Dillard start? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, [T] Jordan [Mailata] is going to be out, [T] Andre [Dillard] will start.
Q. Do you have a sense how long Jordan will be out? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: You know, he went back in after he got rolled up on in practice, and then he came in and having some pain in there. It’s really — we’re going to just play it by ear. We don’t really know exactly yet, but we’re hoping soon, sooner than later, but yeah, he’ll be out this week.
Q. Is Jordan staying on the 53-man roster or is he going on IR? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: He’s staying on 53.
Q. TE Zach Ertz got activated today. Are you comfortable with him obviously not practicing this week, being able to go Monday? How does that affect your game planning when you have that uncertainty with a player like that? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: We didn’t know one way or the other with Zach early on in the week, so we kind of made a couple different plans with personnel groupings, just in the case that we got to today and he was ready to go. So he was, and I feel comfortable because he got to practice today, and he got a good practice in today, looked good out there, so confident that he’ll be able to step in and accomplish what we want him to accomplish.
Q. In these two practices what have you seen from Andre Dillard and how comfortable are you with him in that role? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: I’ve seen him have confidence. I’ve seen him be able to shut the pass rush down in our practice. We gave him a couple different looks of different scout team players to go against, and I feel really confident in Andre, and he should feel confident in himself.
Q. That Jets game, the last preseason game, Andre played a lot of, seemed like he played really well in that game. How much better do you feel about where he is because of that last preseason game? (Reuben Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: Since I’ve gotten here, again, I can’t say what happened in the past here. Since I’ve gotten here, I’ve had complete confidence in him. I know he had that injury that set him back a little bit in training camp, but I’ve had complete confidence in him ever since I’ve got here, and then he gets that Jets game and the Jets practices and the New England practices, and I just think he’s looked really good.
Based off what I’ve seen, I’ve got a ton of confidence in Andre and look forward to — obviously it’s a bummer that Jordan can’t play, but look forward to the challenge that Andre has and looking forward to watching him step up and fill Jordan’s role and have a good game.
Q. As far as the offensive line in general, two newcomers now with OL Landon Dickerson stepping in for G Brandon Brooks and Andre; how challenging is that to get everybody on the same page in their first start together? (Ed Kracz)
NICK SIRIANNI: Stout [Eagles run game coordinator/offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland] does a lot of work in there getting a lot more walk-throughs than we even get. He’s going and doing walk-throughs during meeting times as well. They’ve had a ton of communication back and forth with each other, so as far as the communication and a chemistry standpoint, I’ve got no worries there. This is a really tight unit, not just 1 through 5 but 1 through 10.
Q. Game plan wise, when it happens this late in the week, does it change what you’re thinking in terms of the moving parts on the offensive line? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: No, no. I mean, again, you just want to be able to do the things that you feel like your team does well and your guys do well. And so, I just think there’s a set of plays that we have that we’re ready to roll in and feel comfortable if any of the guys have to step in and make a play.
Q. Is Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn still sort of that cover three guy that we all saw? How much has he changed over the years? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: He’s changed. He’s definitely changed, and we see some of the guys that he’s been around and seen how he’s changed throughout the years. I just think — I’ve got a ton of respect for Coach Quinn. I think he’s a really good — I’ve heard he’s just a top-notch person first of all, from all the guys that have worked with him on our staff and then just got a lot of respect for his defenses in general. They always play hard. They’re always fundamentally sound. And I just think when a team is fundamentally sound, I always think that they’re well-coached. Got a lot of respect for him, and he’s done a good job with his scheme, as well, just — a lot of good things that he does on defense.
Q. Relative to the rest of the league, we haven’t seen a ton of pre-snap motion from the offense so far. What’s the reason behind that? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: Sometimes you don’t always — when you motion, I always want it to be for a reason, that you’re seeing what the defense does from it. You either get an indicator of what the defense does, you put them in a position where they don’t want to be in. I’m just not going to motion just to motion, though, just to make them go through checks because then you’re spending a little more time on motion and a little less time on everything else. So, I just like to get up, get ready, get set and motion when we need it and when we need to motion.
Q. What are the challenges that this Dallas defense gives to you? (Ed Kracz)
NICK SIRIANNI: I just think they have good players at each level. I think [Cowboys CB Trevon] Diggs is a really good player. I think the secondary has playmakers all over it. I think the linebackers — I’ve always thought [Cowboys LB] Jaylon Smith is a really good player, 55 [Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch] is a great — I think he’s very productive. The rookie, he’s playing well. He’s explosive, he’s fast.
So, I just think when you have these playmakers and a tribute to the guys over there in Dallas, they’ve just done a good job of getting players in there. You’ve got playmakers at each level, and then good coaching by Coach Quinn, it just always presents challenges.
Q. Is S Rodney McLeod going to play? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: Rodney will be out.
Q. Rodney talked all throughout the off-season about wanting to be back for week one, now we’re looking at week four at the earliest. Did he have a setback or is it just moving slowly? How is he? (Reuben Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think he’s been doing good, is looking good. Again, he’s day-to-day here, so he didn’t have a setback, nothing like that. Just he’ll play when he’s ready.
Q. When it comes to Cowboys LB Micah Parsons, they’ve kind of shifted him from linebacker to edge rusher after they lost Cowboy DE DeMarcus Lawrence. Is that what you expect, or do you have a feel for how they’re going to use him? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: We have to be ready for him to be at any spot really, to be honest with you. We have to be ready for him to be a D-end where he’s effective or at linebacker where he’s also effective. There’s a reason why he’s a top-15 pick. He’s a good football player. We’ve got to be ready for wherever he lines up. That’s not uncommon. There have been many defenses that move their good players around, whether it’s by scheme or by necessity.
We’ve just got to be ready to know where he is and handle him.
Q. We’ve talked about WR Quez Watkins’ speed obviously a lot, but what else does he bring to your offense outside of that element? (Mike Kaye)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think he’s solid catching the football. He’s got good, strong hands. He can go up and get the deep ball. I think we’ve seen that in practice quite a bit where he just goes up and makes a play. He ran right by the guy the other day and [QB] Jalen [Hurts] put a perfect ball in there, so it wasn’t necessary for him to go up and get it, but we know that he can. I think he’s tough, I think he’s scrappy, and just my experience is that you’ve got tough, scrappy guys, they’re going to get better, and they’re going to — and they’re reliable. I love that about him. It’s not just a fast guy. Sometimes my experience with really fast guys is — I don’t want to say always, but sometimes the stereotype of them is they’re not tough or they don’t catch the ball well. Well, that doesn’t apply to Quez Watkins.
Q. I know your focus is all on Monday, but this is our first time kind of learning your schedule. How do you handle the short week that comes after in terms of advance work from the coaching staff, getting the players ready, things like that? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, that’s got to be done by the guys — the guys that are calling the game, I just think they’ve got to be completely focused in on this game and this game only. But not everybody is calling the game, as we know. I know everybody has — we talk through things on the sideline, this and that, but for the rest of the staff, you’ve just got to get yourself in a position where you feel good that you’ve got your Monday work done because you lose Monday, and a little bit of your Tuesday work done because to say that you’re going to come in and work an entire Tuesday when you get home at 5:00, I think that’s tough.
Obviously, we have a plan for it. It’s not our first time going through it, and so that’s the plan, just the guys that aren’t calling the game get ahead, get plans going so that when we walk in on Tuesday, we’re in a good spot ready to roll.
Q. How can Jim Bob Cooter help in that element, given that he has that experience and play calling experience on top of that? (Mike Kaye)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, no question, the more good coaches you have the better, just because he’s got experience with playing on short weeks, and obviously with these Thursday night games, I know obviously we’re not playing a Thursday night game, but we have one less day. But with the Thursday night games it’s trained all of us to be able to have these schedules and get ready to go. But Jim Bob is definitely an asset in many different ways, and this is another time where he is.
Q. QB Jalen Hurts leads the team in rushing. Is that sustainable, or would you prefer to see a running back take the lead in that? (Ed Kracz)
NICK SIRIANNI: Some of the things that happen are sometimes it’s on a pass play, so he’s getting on pass plays, getting more opportunities at times than the backs in kind of spread-out situations. I think when you have that element of the quarterback being able to rush the ball, it opens up the rushing game for everybody, so I’m not concerned about that. I think over time that will balance itself out.
Q. You’ve got Zach Ertz coming off the reserve/COVID-19 list and activated. You’ve had other guys miss practice with illness this week, some veteran rest days. What’s your level of comfort with guys who haven’t practiced knowing that they’re going to be in the right spot? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: Well, obviously you always — we talk about practice all the time, how important practice is to get yourself ready to play in the game, but this is a long NFL season, so at times it’s case by case where it’s like, ‘Hey, it’s counterproductive for him to practice.’ Well, we have so many walk-throughs and so many meetings, and really this is the most walk-through reps I’ve ever had as far as on a coaching staff. I’m comfortable mentally in just you get them out there and get some reps physically, I’m comfortable with how they’re prepared to get ready to play.
Q. I see you’re decked out in 55 gear. What’s the significance of that for you? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: Same thing, just want him to — obviously we’re losing a big part of our team and just want him to know that he’s still a big part of this and we still need his leadership, we still need his energy, we still need his personality. We miss him, and he wasn’t out there at practice today, so I brought him out there with my hat and my shirt.
Q. Did he have surgery yet or is that schedule? (Reuben Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: He left yesterday. He hasn’t had it yet, though.
Q. Do you anticipate him being around in the building after surgery? (Mike Kaye)
NICK SIRIANNI: Whatever is best for him as far as once he goes through the process of going through his rehab, and just getting himself ready to go next year, but yeah, the more we can have him around, the better.