Q. What stands out about Defensive Coordinator Sean Desai? (Josh Tolentino)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think just his overall knowledge of football. His football IQ is extremely high. Great detail. Just a really sharp coach.
Excited that he’s on our staff.
Q. Offensive Coordinator Brian Johnson you guys also made official. What made you feel comfortable to elevate him from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator? (Chris Franklin)
NICK SIRIANNI: With [Offensive Coordinator] Brian [Johnson], I’m in there with him every single day and seeing him work every single day, seeing him with the quarterbacks, seeing him in game planning meetings, seeing him on the practice field.
So, I thought that was the natural progression for us to go that route. His relationship with [QB] Jalen [Hurts] and just Brian is a sharp, sharp dude. I lean on him for so many different things and now he’s in charge of running the offense.
Q. What do you expect from the scheme that Defensive Coordinator Sean Desai will bring to Philadelphia? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: One thing that we definitely have now is what we had our first year going into it. We have a little bit of unknown. Now, whoever we play first game can go and watch some of [Defensive Coordinator] Sean’s [Desai] stuff from Chicago or even some of the things from Seattle. But one thing that we have is some uncertainty again going into that first game, where you hide some things in pre-season football.
So not give everything away, but what I did like is some of the similarities to the things that we do, that we’ve already been doing here on a very successful defense with different coverages, different run blitzes, things like that.
Q. With that hire, how do you navigate the staff dynamics for guys who did not get that job? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, my job was to go through the process, and just like we do with everything, cast a wide net and get to know different people, get to talk to different people and get to see who is ready for the job.
I think we interviewed a really good group of guys and was really impressed by all of them actually. Just at the end of the day, obviously some experience that [Defensive Coordinator] Sean [Desai] has had calling it, but also just I have to do what I feel is best for the team, and I felt like Sean was the best guy for the job.
Q. What do you know about Offensive Coordinator Brian Johnson from a play calling perspective? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: Obviously you go through it, taking us through and getting us to our first 15 that he helps with, the third down order that he helped with, the red zone order that he helped with, the two-minute calls that he helped with. You do all that work, and you adjust during the game obviously, but you do all that work Monday through Saturday to get yourself ready for the game.
You put yourself in every position you possibly can. You know, two-minute scenarios. You put yourself in as many positions as you possibly can, so you don’t flinch when it comes.
You’re practicing, just like you practice, right? You practice to make sure that you’re ready to roll in the game. It’s the same thing with calling plays. He’s been in that process, and [Offensive Coordinator] Brian [Johnson] had some experience calling it at the college level as well.
But as you talk on the headset, ‘Hey, they’re doing this; we should look to do that.’ Brian was doing that all the time last year, just when we’re talking on the headset trying to figure out the next series of plays and how we need to adjust.
Again, he’s done some of it in the past as a coordinator in college and then just the number of things that we do together as an offensive staff and all the things that Brian was involved in every one of those meetings to put it together, and that’s where a big chunk of how you call the game goes.
Q. With all the free agents you have, how much input do you have, obviously working with Executive Vice President/General Manager Howie Roseman and the money people on who can stay and go? How much is that weight held? (Geoff Mosher)
NICK SIRIANNI: We talk about everything. We talk about everything. The draft, the free agents, our team. I mean, we’re in constant communication. The best organizations are in constant communication with the head coach and the GM.
At the end of the day, just like I just talked about with the coaches, at the end of the day I had to make the best decision I felt it was for the team. At the end of the day, [Executive Vice President/General Manager] Howie [Roseman] has to make the best decision that he feels is the best for the team. That doesn’t mean you’re not in constant communication talking through everything.
That’s just what we do. I’m in his office pretty much all day at this time of the year watching players with him, talking about players, talking about our team, whatever it is.
We spend a lot of time together at this time.
Q. Did you interview other candidates for the offensive coordinator position? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, we did.
Q. Any external or all internal? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: We had an external coach in [Iowa State Offensive Coordinator] Nate [Scheelhaase], I don’t want to miss pronounce his last name, from Iowa State. Offensive coordinator at Iowa State. Really sharp, young coach. You guys know my connection to Iowa State and [Iowa State head coach] Matt Campbell and him. We were really impressed with him and his interview, and he is a great football coach.
Q. How well did you know Glenn Schumann before this process? (Reporter)
NICK SIRIANNI: I just got to know him through this process. Again, I don’t look at it like here’s who I know and here’s what I’m going to do. I didn’t know Brian Johnson before we hired him. I didn’t know [Running Backs/Assistant Head Coach] Jemal Singleton before we hired him. A lot of guys I didn’t know. I didn’t know [Arizona Cardinals Defensive Coordinator] Nick Rallis before we hired him. I didn’t know [Defensive Ends/Outside Linebackers coach] Jeremiah Washburn before we hired him.
There is a lot of that, that happens. All I’m looking for is the best guys for the job. Again, you have to balance different things. Every coach can’t be the same. I think there is a tendency to say, ‘I’m going to get this coach and he’s like me a little bit’. You don’t want a bunch of the same guys running around, but every coach needs to be very detailed in what they do.
So that’s always the common denominator that I am looking for, but we’re not afraid to cast a wide net. I know how many good coaches are in college. I think if you asked some of the Philly media, they’ll tell you that I talk about Frank Reich, I talk about Larry Kehres, my college coach, and I talk about one of my high school coaches, my dad.
That’s where I learned all my stuff from, so I know how many good coaches are out there at the college level. Whether we know them, whether we don’t know them, whether we know them through somebody, we’re going to cast a wide net to try to do what’s best for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Q. Will Defensive Passing Game Coordinator/Defensive Backs Coach Dennard Wilson stay on staff? (Reporter)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, we’ll obviously go through that as we continue on. Does the staff dynamic fit? Does [Defensive Coordinator] Sean [Desai] have anybody? But [Defensive Passing Game Coordinator/Defensive Backs coach] Dennard [Wilson] is a great football coach. He’s done an outstanding job. If he is still our defensive backs coach, we’ll be lucky to have him because he know how good of a coach he is.
We’re not to that process yet. We just finalized that Sean will be our defensive coordinator, so we’re not there yet. I think the world of Dennard and how good of a football coach he is?
Q. What are some of the traits and characteristics of Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Shane Steichen that you think set him up to be a head coach, and what advice do you have for him making a similar transition from coordinator to head coach? (Reporter)
NICK SIRIANNI: All my advice, everything — I have had so many conversations with [former Eagles Offensive Coordinator] Shane [Steichen]. What Frank Reich did for me was pull me aside what felt like once or twice a week and said, hey, when you’re a head coach, be ready for this or be ready for that. I was appreciative of that to a point where I tried to do the same thing with Shane and [former Eagles Defensive Coordinator] Jonathan [Gannon] and Brian and all the guys that we have on our staff.
So obviously, I’ve shared the information that I have. I didn’t keep any secrets from Shane. I wanted him to be the best possible offensive coordinator he could possibly be, and obviously he crushed it, which turned into him getting the head job for the Colts. I love him and he is awesome. Good friend of mine and obviously a very good coach so I didn’t keep anything from him.
I gave him everything I had as far as the things that I knew would help him with the job that he’s had. Like I said, it wasn’t like right before he got it or right after [Indianapolis Colts GM] Chris Ballard said that Shane was the head coach, I started writing a bunch of things down to give him. We’ve had so many conversations there.
What was the second part of your question?
Q. What sets him up to be a head coach? (Reporter)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think first of all, you get the job because you excel at what he was doing. He’s an awesome offensive mind. He excelled at that. Our offense played really well with Shane leading it. He just was awesome calling the game. I think he’s really special at calling the game. You know, that’s why I gave up play calling duties. One, was to make sure I was managing the game as the head coach, but also because of how much trust I had with Shane. Just relationships with players, accountability, he’s a ten in a lot of areas.
I think Indy got a special coach.
Q. How important are those Jamestown roots as you still evolve as a coach? (Reporter)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, my biggest mentor as a coach is my dad. And then I also have my brother, who gives me a lot of — those are my mentors, too.
They’re still in the area. My dad is still coaching pole vaulters for Southwestern High School, from my brother who is still the track coach. I know my brother is not the football coach anymore, but I’m still able to bounce things off them. One of my really good friends is the head coach at Jamestown High School.
He actually was at the Super Bowl. I had him at the Super Bowl just because we had dreamed about playing and coaching in the Super Bowl for as long as I can remember. I still have a bunch of conversations with those guys about football. You’re always trying to grow in everything you do.
I’m sharing information with Tommy Langworthy who’s the Jamestown head coach, and he’s sharing information back. I’ll take good information from anywhere.
Then I like to read the newspaper back home, an article Scott King Berger writes, that he writes back home about the local athletes there. I know Jamestown High School has as player going to North Dakota State as a quarterback.
I like to follow the sports, and so I’ve just got a lot of connections and a lot of things to western New York.
Q. Deciding to promote Brian Johnson to offensive coordinator, was there an emphasis on maintaining stability for Jalen Hurts? (Gabriella DiGiovanni)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, what you’re going to see with our offense is you’re not going to see a lot of change, because myself, [former Eagles offensive coordinator] Shane [Steichen], right, Brian, like we do it all together. Obviously, Shane will be gone. There will be little differences and little different ways that the game is called, but the way the offense is run with everything is going to be exactly the same. The way our guys run routes are going to be the same. The way we block inside zones is going to be the same for different looks that we get. The way we do our snap count. You’re just continuing to build. There is no Shane leaves, you do this and then you do this again (hand gesture describing a wave). You just keep doing this (hand gesture describing an incline), because at the end of the day, I was hired as an offensive coach to bring the offense that I have run and my expertise in that, so I’ll continue to do that. It’s just going to be a different guy calling the plays, but it’s still business as usual. And we’ll miss Shane. Shane is an awesome coach, as we just talked about.
But I know how many good people we have in that building. [Eagles run game coordinator/offensive line coach] Jeff Stoutland, [passing game coordinator] Kevin Patullo, [running backs/assistant head coach] Jemal Singleton, [tight ends coach] Jason Michael, [wide receivers coach] Aaron Moorehead, [quarterbacks coach] Alex Tanney, [run game specialist/assistant tight ends coach] T.J. Paganetti, [assistant offensive line coach] Roy [Istvan]. We have so many … See, and I said Roy because I don’t know how to pronounce his last name either. I’ve worked with him for two years. (laughter) We just have so many good people there – [offensive quality control coach] Eric Dickerson, I don’t want to forget anybody – working with that offense still in place. That was important to keep good people there, because there is no doubt Shane wanted to take some guys there, but they’re Philadelphia Eagles. They’re Philadelphia Eagle coaches, and my job is to keep good coaches in the building because that’s who touches the players every day and helps them get better.
And when you have good guys, you don’t want to … When you have to start over, you start over, but when you have good guys there, you want to keep going and keep working and keep things similar.
Q. How do you view a guy like DT Javon Hargrave, who is a versatile D-lineman that can rush from various alignments, and how valuable that is? And then how do you deal with the uncertainty of a guy like that as he goes to test the market? (Reporter)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, he’s awesome. He’s awesome and he’s been a big part of this team for the past three years. I’ve only been here for two, but he is a big time player and obviously you want all your guys back. You want all your guys back because you just went through a super special journey together. The journey is what you will always remember. I know that loss will stick with us, but there was a lot of good moments in that journey.
And Javon, just being around him every day at practice, he’s just an awesome guy to be around. He’s a great teammate – and he’s quiet, but he’s a quiet leader – but a great teammate, a great person, and a great player. You want to try to get as many guys back as you can, but knowing that that’s not always possible.
Again, [Executive Vice President/General Manager] Howie [Roseman] has to do what he feels is best for the team. I have my input just like we talked about, and we’ll see what happens. But I love Javon Hargrave.
Q. With the third wide receiver spot, did you get the production that you expected, or do you think that’s a spot you need to upgrade this offseason? (Reporter)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, I think when you look at that, it’s easy to say, well, Quez Watkins didn’t have the same year he had last year. Well, he didn’t have the opportunities he had last year, and it actually wasn’t even close.
And so, when you ran the ball the way we did this year, when you threw it … I think if [TE] Dallas Goedert doesn’t get hurt and miss those four games he probably has 1,000 yards. So, you have three 1,000-yard receivers potentially – you have one that had 1,500 yards [A.J. Brown], one that had, 1,300 did DeVonta [Smith] have? Close? 1,300 yards, like somebody’s production is going to slip a little bit.
The things that Quez does is [he] stretches the field. The things that Zach Pascal did was [being] our enforcer. Go back and look at the tape of how many times he was in on a big block that sprung a big run, or even the play that he made against Pittsburgh for a touchdown. Like why did that play come up and why was he able to score on that play? And I’m talking about Zach. Well, it was because he had made that block so many times that they all jumped in and he ran by them.
And so, the production, all I want them to do is produce in the roles that we’re asking them to. When there is a play to be made, make the play that you need to be made. But we understand, too, that they didn’t have a lot opportunities. And I’m talking about Zach and Quez. They didn’t have a lot of opportunities because, like I’ve said to you guys, our pass game run through A.J., it ran through DeVonta, and it ran through Dallas Goedert. We were looking to get them the ball, and sometimes … I know [Philadelphia 76ers head coach] Doc Rivers used to do so say this a lot: Some guys are just going to have to get rebounds, and then if you got a chance to put it in, you got to take advantage of that opportunity to put that thing in. But we’re going to design plays to run through boom, boom, boom, right? And that’s what we’re talking about with roles.
And so, I think it’s easy to look at the stats and say, hey, his numbers were way lower. They were, but he didn’t have as many opportunities because of the other guys that we had on the team and how much faith we had in them.
But we do have faith and Zach and we do have faith in Quez that they’ll make plays when their number is called. It’s just that it’s called a little less.
Q. Thoughts on Quarterbacks Coach Alex Tanney? (Reporter)
NICK SIRIANNI: Really sharp. What was really interesting, when we brought Alex in, almost everybody on our staff had coached him. I was with him in Kansas City in 2012; Shane [Steichen] was with him in Cleveland in 2013; [Tight Ends Coach] Jason [Michael] and [Passing Game Coordinator] Kevin [Patullo] were with him in 2014 with Tennessee.
So, shoot, maybe he threw passes to [Wide Receivers Coach] Aaron [Moorehead]. I don’t know. He’s just been everywhere. What struck us was that how smart he was and how hard he worked to stay on the team as a No. 3 and No. 2 quarterback.
So even when we were in Kansas City, I still remember Brian Daboll was having him do little projects for us. I don’t think he got any of the coach’s money, but he was getting paid anyway. He would do little projects for us to help us, and so you remember things like that, right?
I think the rest of the guys felt that as well. What Alex did is Alex, when we interviewed him for the quality control spot, he did everything he could do to be ready for that job. He taught himself, took a computer class to teach himself how to draw on Visio, which we draw our pictures on, so he made sure he knew he could do the part of the job he was going to do.
I really admired that. He worked really hard at that. That’s a thankless job. A lot of us have had that job and it’s thankless, but he excelled at that job.
Then we moved him into assistant quarterbacks, and he did some other things this year and he crushed that role, too. I’m sure in his mind, I know in his mind, that eventually he wants to call plays and he wants to be a head football coach.
But I know what he’s going to do this year: exactly what he did the last two years, and he is going to kill his role and do everything he can do to help [QB] Jalen [Hurts] play better, to help us put together a plan.
He is going to work his butt off to do that. He is super smart, super intelligent. He connects with the players. Playing for ten years in the NFL, he has this instant connection there. He’s really worked to get everything he has.
I really admire that in Alex, and I know he’s going to be a great quarterback coach and he has done a great job for us for two years now.
Q. What are your thoughts on the possibility of outlawing the push play? (Reporter)
NICK SIRIANNI: [Jokingly] I think some defensive coaches are bringing that up right there. No, we’ll play with whatever rules they have. I think that it was obviously a very successful play for us. You guys would know the numbers a little bit better. I haven’t hit my self-scout stuff yet.
Very successful play for us, but wasn’t the only thing we were doing off it, right? I think we had some exciting plays that came off it when the defenses were trying to stop the play that they thought was coming. That’s what football is, right? The defense thinks this play is coming. We just talked about the [WR] Zach Pascal play. The defense thought this play was coming and a different play came, and ended in a touchdown.
Hey, I don’t get a vote. They don’t ask me. I thought that there was a lot of hard work that went into it. There is a lot of the technique and fundamentals that go into it as far as how our guys block it and the specialty of our guys, like [C] Jason Kelce.
So, we’ll do whatever the rules say to do, obviously, but we had a lot of fun coming up with those plays. We had a lot of fun practicing those plays, the different ways we did it. The guys had fun doing that. [DT] Fletcher Cox always wanted to be in on one of those plays. So, it was a lot of fun, and some of the wrinkles that were off it.
I thought it was good for the game. Obviously, I’m biased. We had a lot of success with it.