Q. After watching the film, wanted to get your take on QB Jalen Hurts. What went wrong in the first half and what went right in the second half and his ability to persevere and get through that? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, it was, it was that, exactly what you just said. It was perseverance and his ability to just forget what happened in the first half because everything that we wanted out of that game, which is obviously to win the game, was right there in front of us. He took advantage of it and played a really good game in the second half. You’re just going to want some throws back, some reads back, and that kind of even extended into the third quarter a little bit for all of us, not just Jalen but the entire offensive unit and coaching staff. But again, it was just completely playing the next play and knowing that the defense was keeping us in the game and keeping us right there. Then it’s just going to take one play to really turn the tide and he made a heck of a throw then to [WR] Quez [Watkins] to really turn the tide and help that comeback start.
Q. Couple questions about the offensive line. C/G Nate Herbig had to come in late in the game for OL Landon Dickerson. Is everything okay with Landon Dickerson? And the second one is how would you assess the way T Andre Dillard has played in the first three weeks he’s started and have you seen a difference in his approach from after training camp to the way that he’s played starting this season? (Chris Franklin)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, well, as far as Landon, Landon had to come out. He had a little tweak of his ankle and then he didn’t go back in, but he looked good today. We are expecting him to be able to roll.
But I thought Nate did a good job when he came in and Nate gave us some meaningful reps. Whenever you finish with the ball in your hands in a four-minute drill, which we did yesterday with the defense having three time-outs, you did your job on four-minute. Now, there’s a lot to clean up on four-minute that obviously we’re not happy about, but you know, again, Nate was a part of that. Nate was a part of us ending the game with the ball in our hands.
As far as Andre goes, I thought Andre, I’ve said this from the beginning, I thought Andre had a great training camp. Him and [T] Jordan [Mailata] were battling. Andre got dinged and then Jordan was playing really well, so Jordan, obviously, won that job. So, I’ve had complete confidence in Andre since I’ve gotten here. And then he played his good game in the Jets final preseason game and then he’s played three good games in a row. And so he’s just playing consistent football, playing good football and I’m sure glad we have him on this team and I’m happy with the way he’s playing.
Q. What are the keys to being successful on a short week? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, that’s a good question. It’s to make sure you’re keeping things simple and not getting too complicated because you’re not going to have the live reps of doing things you’re going to do in games. So, keep things simple. Keep it to things that guys can learn and execute that you’ve been executing all year. But then again, also be able to attack them enough where you’re going after the style of defense they are.
So, there’s always a happy medium in that. But definitely just be able to do things that we can execute, knowing that we don’t have a lot of time to get ready for this game.
And then also, this week will be walk-throughs because we’ve got to get our legs back underneath us, so it’s resting the guys, as well, having more mental reps and having more walk-through reps to get their bodies physically ready to play. But a lot of this is going to be get mentally ready for this game week.
Q. What’s been your assessment of your play calling your first five games as an offensive play caller? And upon your self-scouting, has there been anything that’s surprised you about the way that you have called games? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: Well, I always want to be – I think we are, what, 11th in the red zone right now, and definitely want to be better in that area in the red zone for different reasons here and there. Also, too, just also want to be able to mix it up, run, play action, screens, pass, different circumstances call for different things in each game. I get that.
But just – we have some good elements to each part of this team as far as the offensive line, skill players that we have, the tight ends that we have, the running backs that we have. It’s always like, ‘Man, I want to get him the ball more and I want it get him the ball and I want to get him the ball more,’ and, sometimes it’s not always that simple. The defense dictates how that goes, too, because [QB] Jalen [Hurts] has reads within the play.
So, I’m always looking to improve. And again, those are specific areas that I’m really looking at it really for the most part. The other thing is, when you come off – like after we come off this Tampa week, which you’ll have a long weekend to be able to assess yourself even more. We’re constantly assessing ourselves as far as our tendencies and things like that, but you get more chance to do that when you’re coming off of a long weekend which we will have here this week, because on a short week like this, you’re just trying to get your guys ready to play, get them ready to go and do things that you know you can execute.
Q. What’s the latest with T Lane Johnson? We saw that you had his number on your visor yesterday. Is that reflective of him being out for the season? I feel like that’s normally when you put those up there. (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: No with, that, I just wanted those guys that I had on there, that’s not reflective that he’ll be out for the season. Still working through a personal matter, and we’re here for Lane for everything and all our guys through good times and bad times.
But no, that was just I wanted those guys to know that they are a part of it and they were there with us. Even though they weren’t there on the field with us, they were there with us, and they have contributed to everything that’s going on here and to this organization.
Q. I know you were asked about the play calling, but yesterday, when the screens and the short passes were not working in the beginning of the game, why did you continue with it for so long? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, again, they did a good job of changing up their scheme and their game plan to kind of take away some different things of how their defensive ends were rushing. They had shown on tape that they were up the field pretty good with their defensive end techniques and they got to it a couple different looks there on that. Sometimes you don’t – it looks like it the first time you do it. I think we ended up throwing three or four screens there early. One of them is on third and 16. I’m not even really counting that. That’s one that we were backed up and we threw a little screen out there to just give us some breathing room. The other one is like – one of them was on second and long that we called a screen on and they played a unique defense. So, you don’t always just get the answer right away. Like the play didn’t work and it’s for different reasons. It ended up we had to get off that. We thought screen game was going to be good for us yesterday. It wasn’t, based off of what they were doing, and it took us three or four times to really figure that out and to move on in our process but sometimes screens, too, for the quarterback, are what I’ve compared to before. Like, you know, just seeing the ball go through the hoop, you know what I mean, as a shooter, that sometimes you’ve got to get fouled and go to the free throw line and get the ball, especially when you’re not shooting it great early. You’ve got to get fouled, go to the free throw line and make a couple free throws and let the ball go through the hoop and get yourself in a rhythm. Some of that’s due to that, as well.
Q. You mentioned Lane Johnson a minute or so ago. If he’s not back Thursday night, do you see Jordan Mailata still playing right tackle and how do you think he did at right tackle on Sunday? (Martin Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: I would expect if he’s not back that we’d be in a similar look that we were in yesterday. I thought did he a good job. He gave up a couple plays as far as sacks, but he brushed it off. There was a lot of bad there on the offensive side. There were a lot of guys that had to brush it off and play the next play, but he fought till the ended. He finished. He did some good things. He has to clean up some things like we all do from that game, but was happy to get him back on the field and rolling with us, because we know how valuable he is to this football team.
Q. I wanted to ask you about LB Davion Taylor, he seemed to get his most playing time so far. What did he show you to earn that? Obviously, he’s healthy now and what did you see from him? And then just a quick follow-up on Lane, are you confident he will play again this year? Are you saying that, or is that still to be determined? (Reuben Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: As far as Davion goes, he had a great – he was really showing up in OTAs and in training camp and really showing good ability and explosive play-making ability. So, we really wanted to be able to play him early and often and just he got injured. He was out for an extended period of time, but we were really high and hopeful on Davion right from the very beginning. It’s just good to have him back and good to have him rolling through everything.
As far as Lane, we’re hopeful that Lane will be back this year. Again, not going to go into that any more than that but we’re hopeful to have him back because we know how important Lane is to this football team.
Q. You talked about the challenges of a short week, but not only that, you also have the Bucs and Buccaneers QB Tom Brady coming into town, so specifically the challenges of facing them? (Jamie Apody)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, he poses a lot of challenges for everybody, that’s for sure. Obviously, he’s been so good for so long. Everybody knows who Tom Brady is and how he operates. We’ll definitely have our hands full with this offense that we’re playing, and this defense is really good that we are playing, as well. [Buccaneers Defensive Coordinator] Todd Bowles, I can’t say enough of Todd Bowles coached defense. He consistently has his teams in the top of the league. He consistently has his players playing hard. He consistently has his players in a good position to make plays.
And so, yeah, it’s going to be a challenge on a short week against obviously the defending Super Bowl champs, but sure glad it’s at our place and sure glad that we’ve got our fans here to support us and we look forward to the challenge that lies ahead on Thursday night.