Q. Is there any update on T Lane Johnson, if he’ll be back in time for practice this week? After looking at the tape, how did the offensive line do, mainly when it came to G Nate Herbig, T/G Jack Driscoll and OL Landon Dickerson in their new spots? (Chris Franklin)
NICK SIRIANNI: No new update on Lane. Like I said yesterday, he’s going through a personal matter and we’re just going to keep it at that for right now. I have no new update.
As far as Jack and Nate, the guys that stepped in, I thought they did a great job, I really did. I thought they battled. When you guys asked me that yesterday, I just thought those guys battled. They got put in a situation where they had to come and step in, and they did a very good job at that. A tribute to [Executive Vice President/General Manager] Howie [Roseman] and his staff at building depth at that offensive line.
Again, just can’t say enough for how Jack Driscoll and Nate Herbig played. I thought they both played – as we grade guys, I don’t get into grades very often here, but as we grade guys, I thought it’s really, ‘Did he play good, did he play okay, or did he play bad?’ And we thought both of those guys played good games. They graded out as high for us.
Q. I’m sure you spent some time thinking about how you can get RB Miles Sanders going. What adjustments do you think you can make on your end and one area of improvement that he can show in order to make that happen? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: You can always get the running back involved, right, by handing him the football. You see some of the things that we’ve done for [RB] Kenny Gainwell in the pass game, we see him kind of in that mode of how we’re getting him the football.
Sometimes with us in our run game, we’re reading things, right? It’s a read where [QB] Jalen [Hurts] can run it, a read where he can pull it. There’s more calls to Miles than are showing up on the stat sheet. I think you guys understand that. Sometimes the defense dictates – just like a receiver that you plan to go downfield with, you want to throw it to him, but the defense dictates what it gives you.
That’s the style of offense that we run and that we play, is we try to keep a guy unblocked at times and we read them, sometimes he gets touches based off what the defense is playing, sometimes he doesn’t.
There’s not – we have the ultimate confidence in Miles. You saw what he did when he got a couple touches out in space the other day with those two plus-10-yard gains he had on catches. Again, it’s nothing that he’s doing. It’s just, the reads are taking the quarterback other places with the ball. But we look forward to getting him going in our offense more.
Q. After you looked at the tape and you looked at the run defense, what seems to be the issue there? Why so many big yards these past few weeks? (Ed Kracz)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, first of all we got to put our guys in position to make plays. We’re always going to talk that way. We’re always going to be critical of ourselves first as coaches. Just because it’s defense, doesn’t mean – that’s my responsibility, too, right? Because I’m the head coach of this football team and any product you see on the field has my name on it and I’m responsible for it.
We just got to do a better job of putting them in position to succeed. Then there’s just the execution part of it as well. When you’re playing a little bit more middle field open coverages like we’re playing, we got to be able to do some more things with the front, be able to change some things on the front and create a couple of issues for the offense so they can’t just run it when you’re in those middle field opens.
Because, I think you guys see, when you’re in some of the middle field open coverages that we’re in, the big pass play gets limited, right? The big pass play gets limited. But, if you’re not doing some of the right things in the front with what you’re doing in the front, then the run game can be susceptible, right? You give a little, you get a little.
Anytime a team runs for 200 yards on you, you know you got to look at the coaching first, and look at it there. Obviously, we were very critical and hard on ourselves this morning. It was some tough conversations in the defensive room this morning, but all in attempts to get better and to improve from this. We feel like we’re taking the right steps to do so.
But there’s no secret. We need to do so, and we need to make sure we stop the run on first and second down.
Q. Where is your confidence level in Eagles Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon being able to fix this for your defense? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: I’m still very confident in Jonathan. Let’s not forget the first two weeks we stoned an Atlanta offense and then we stoned the San Francisco offense. At that point, there was a lot of chatter how good Jonathan was doing. And I still think he’s doing good.
Obviously, you come off two games where you gave up – I’m not going to say they scored 40 points, his offense gave seven points up against Dallas, 35 points and 42 points, or whatever it was. That’s not good enough, right? We all know that.
I know what he’s capable of, I know what the defense is capable of and I know what his defensive staff is capable of. So, I’m very confident that we’ll get these things fixed and that we’ll improve from this and go from there.
Q. A lot of the times when we see a first-year staff or a young roster and then we see a lot of penalties, we chalk it up to growing pains. But we’re seeing a lot of penalties from veterans, over 60% are guys with three or more years of experience. What does that say to you about your control over what’s going on in the day-to-day and how that’s impacting games? (Mike Kaye)
NICK SIRIANNI: Obviously, it’s impacting games a lot. Our number of penalties is definitely very high, but yesterday we had, what, 49 yards in penalties and I think the Chiefs had 46 with less. I think we ended up being minus three in the penalties yesterday, minus three yards in the penalties.
So, we talk about it a lot. Again, my job is to make sure this team is better in every aspect and penalties is an issue right now. We’re doing the necessary steps to take – last week I explained to you guys a couple of other things that we were doing, a couple of the additional things that we were doing when we were talking about penalties.
Today, it was a little bit rougher conversation when we went in there today. It was just a little bit harsher conversation with how the penalties need to stop and what we need to do to make the penalties stop and all the different situations.
I’m not sure there’s many teams spending as much time on this as we are. But here’s the thing, we know – when you have penalties called on you and when you’re committing penalties, because we’re committing them, it’s not like we’re – they’re happening and we’re doing them. When that’s happening, right, it kind of can snowball into a sense that – the referees next time or the coaching staff next time is going to come out and tell you, ‘Hey, these guys have an issue with this. They’re off-sides here, they do these things a lot.’ Now they’re looking for that thing.
We got to get it fixed. We have to get it fixed because we know that teams are looking for it and they’re going to take advantage of it. They’re going to hard count us on third down, they’re going to mess with us on first and second down. So, we know we got to get things better. That’s what I can tell you is that we’re working and trying every approach we know how to try to get things better.
Q. You were saying yesterday that Jalen Hurts’ performance was the best you’ve seen by a quarterback going back to your days in Indianapolis and with the Chargers. I was wondering, what could he do to be even better? What would you like to see him do to take his game to the next level? (Martin Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, that’s a good question.
What I saw yesterday from him was just consistency over and over and over again, right? It wasn’t like – I think anybody can go out there and make a splash play. You can see a lot of different guys go out there and make a splash play, but can they do it week in, week out and can they do it consistently through the first, second, third and fourth quarters?
That’s what was impressive about Jalen’s game yesterday, is that he continually made good plays with the football, decisions with the football. He was accurate with throws. He made some scrambles when he needed to make some scrambles.
I still want him – we’ve talked about this before, there was a time or two where I was like, ‘Stay in that pocket and rip that thing here before you escape over here to the other side.’
Again, I know what his strengths are, too. I don’t want to cage him up on that. I don’t want to put anything on him that stops him from making plays. There’s a fine line there.
Those are a couple things you’re going to see as you just want him to stay in there every once in a while and make the play. Then we got to make more plays on scrambles. What I’m seeing on scrambles is Jalen has to run on scrambles a lot. We need to make those big plays on scrambles, and that’s a product of everybody, the tight ends, receivers and running backs working to get open on the scrambles.
I want to see more big plays happen with the scrambles because Jalen is so good at escaping, getting out of issues, I want to see more plays happen there. That’s just not Jalen, you know what I’m saying? I want to make sure we’re better at that as a whole.
We got to practice it more. It’s on us as coaches first, always. It’s always on us as coaches first. We got to put them in those positions to be able to succeed in practice, because everything we do in practice ends up happening in the game, and we got to practice like we’re going to play. Again, those are a couple things.
Also, there’s always going to be reads you are like, ‘Man, I want that one back, I want that one back.’ You’re not going to play perfect with your reads, especially when they got good playmakers on their team.
There’s always room for improvement. He definitely played a good game. Like I said, if you added up all the practices and games I’ve seen him play, that was right there at the top.
Q. Curious about the game day dynamic. You as an offensive head coach, you said your name is stamped on all of this. With defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, he’s having good games against Atlanta and San Francisco, but when things maybe aren’t going as well as you had planned, what is that dynamic when you weigh in on the defensive side? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: Where I can help and what I can do is give the offensive side approach. ‘Hey, I think they’re doing this because of this. That makes me nervous if you would have done this. Oh, I like when you do that because I’m going to do this.’
That’s what I have to be able to do. I have to be able to do that not only a Monday after a game, but I also need to be able to do that on a Sunday to help out right there.
I have total confidence in our defensive coaches, and our staff right there, and in Jonathan. I can help in that scenario. I know I’m thinking about the next set of plays I’m calling. I still need to do that, right? I got to still do that part of my job, too.
There’s going to be times, I know there’s times that I can get on the phones and help out with that process. I need to be better at that.
Q. Being a new head coach in the NFL, it’s hard enough as it is without the mental state that it puts a team in after a long losing streak. The schedule is not your friend here. You guys go on the road and then you have the Bucs coming in. How do you keep this team positive and avoid a free fall and worry about the big picture here with your guys and this all adding up? (Jamie Apody)
NICK SIRIANNI: My job is to come in here and be — I want [QB] Jalen [Hurts] to be consistent playing quarterback, I got to be consistent being a head coach. I have to come in here with the same energy every day. Shoot, I love what I do. This is great. I love it. So, I got to come in here with the same energy every single day and know that they can come in here and see a head coach that’s consistent in his delivery, how he makes corrections, how he fixes mistakes, how he handles adversity, how he handles success.
My job is to do that to keep everybody even keel and just be consistent with who I am each day. Then our message is the dog mentality thing. This is a long season. It’s a real long season. We’re one quarter through this whole thing. Are we where we want to be right now? Absolutely not. Nobody thinks that. We’re not even close.
But we know it’s a long season. We know if you dwell on the things that happened in the past, you are not going to give yourself an opportunity to win the next game. That’s all it’s about, is taking the steps of getting better every day so you put yourself in a position to compete and to win the next game.
That’s where our dog mentality is. Move on from a good thing, move on from a bad thing. Learn from it, though, and continue to get better each and every day. That’s our motto. Our core values and our dog mentality, that’s where we’re going to continue to rest our hat on in times of adversity.
Q. This is sort of a basic question and feel free to tell me if I’m wrong. Stylistically it seemed like the offensive game plan in this game was very similar to week one, not just the results but the types of plays you were calling. Why wasn’t it like that in weeks two and three? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: Every week we’re trying to do obviously what we think is best to win. Some of the things that we did this week we thought gave us an advantage this week of some of the RPOs that we ran, some of the quarterback runs that we ran.
Little bit with the Dallas game, I think if you go back and look, the type of tempo we ran this game and the type of tempo we ran in the San Francisco game was very similar. There was a lot of tempo that we used in that San Francisco game and there was a lot of tempo that we used this last game. Hey, in this game it worked for the offense, in the San Francisco game it didn’t work.
Hey, I understand that. I understand when it works and when you’re going up and down the field that there’s going to be praise, and when it doesn’t, there’s going to be criticism. I get that. I understand that.
Again, there were some similarities in there. Again, we’re just trying to do what we think is best to win that football game each and every week.
Q. How do you feel DT Fletcher Cox performed this season? How do you feel he’s adjusted to playing more 3-4 front? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, so with Fletch, one of our conversations that we had with the defensive staff today was, and I just like to compare it to offense, because it’s an easy comparison for me. If we have a play maker on offense that can really make a lot of plays, and we’re not throwing the ball or handing the ball to him, how do we fix that, how do we make it better? I get it, there’s only one football. You guys get that. There’s only one football and you can only do so much. Same thing on defense.
How are we letting our play makers make plays? It starts with coaching. We got to do a better job of letting our play makers make plays. We have to do some different things to help free him up.
I have also said this before, I do believe this as well, there’s a lot of attention going to Fletch. It’s freeing up [DT] Javon [Hargrave] on the other side. It’s freeing up some other guys to make plays. Javon has done a really good job of making plays. Our linebackers have to continue to do their part of this, too. When Fletch gets double-teamed, Javon has to make a play, the linebacker has to make a play. We got to do more to get him singled a little bit more, but we also got to make the plays with the players when they’re not singled, and it be able to flow and get to the football.
Again, I still believe, I know the stats aren’t there, but I know he’s changing the game — he’s doing things to help us even though the stats aren’t there. But like I said, we have to make sure we’re allowing him to eat as well.
Q. Outside of the final score, what is the first place your eyes go to on the stat sheet after the game? What stat do you think is the biggest indicator for how your team is doing? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: I still always go back to the double positive. Did we win the turnover battle? Did we win the explosive play battle? Week in, week out in the NFL, you win both of those, your chances of winning are very high. I always look at that. I always look at that.
That’s a true team stat, right? The turnover battle is not just, hey the offense had no turnovers. Well, did the defense create any turnovers or vice versa, right? Hey, the defense created three turnovers. Well, the offense gave up three turnovers. You’re always looking at that. That’s first and foremost. Then the explosive play battle. When you get an explosive play, right, your chances of scoring go way up. That’s what it’s all about, scoring more points than the other team.
I think what we’ve seen is this week was the first week that we were actually plus-one on the explosive play battle of what we think. We always say it a plus 16 gain in the pass game, plus 10 in the run game. We were plus-one on that this week, but we didn’t win the yardage of it, so we really didn’t technically win. We were plus-one on the amount of big plays, we had one more than the Chiefs, then we also have something for special teams, too. You’re not going to be able to completely figure out the formula by doing it that way because special teams has a part in it, too. But we lost it by 16 yards.
I don’t always get that one right away because there’s some formula to it. I always get the turnover one right away, but not always that one right away.
This is just me as an offensive guy, I always like to see the quarterback rating of both guys. I want to see how they played because we know the quarterback is so important to this game.