Q. This is back-to-back weeks where it seems like the offense wasn’t really doing much until late in the game. Why do you think that was today? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: We didn’t execute early on. We have to put the guys in better spots to execute. We didn’t execute, and we just have to do a better job to start off the football game, to get ourselves off to a fast start. I know we scored on the first possession, but after that, it fluttered all the way to the middle of the second half. So, again, get to adjustments even quicker and make sure we are doing our jobs as coaches to put them in good positions.
Q. Was there anything that surprised you on defense? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: No, not really. They played a little bit different coverage wise. Then they played a couple different things against the zone read, which ended up getting us to those — which truly didn’t happen until the second quarter — which ended up getting us to some of those runs we got to with [RB] Miles [Sanders].
Q. Why only one running back carry through the first 25 plays? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, some of them same thing are RPO’s. Some of them we look at screens as being able to get the running backs the ball as running back plays as well. Again, just the way the flow was going, we weren’t getting much on the first one. Then the RPO we weren’t getting much on either. Either way, it didn’t work. We were bad in the first half, and I put that on me first.
Q. Does the lack of those designed runs, does that put too much on QB Jalen Hurts? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: No, I don’t think so. He’s been doing that a long time that his RPO game and how he reads things, so I don’t believe that’s an issue.
Q. When you self-scout, do you feel in the past six weeks – obviously you have to watch the film of this game – but when you self-scout, do you feel like Jalen Hurts is making the right decision, picking the right option with those RPOs? (Mike Kaye)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, I do. If he was consistently making poor decisions, I wouldn’t be feeling comfortable to call them. So, I do. I believe he’s been making good decisions as far as where he’s going with the football and the guy he’s reading.
With RPOs, it’s a little easier to read those than it is to read a drop-back pass or a play-action pass because you’re reading one guy.
So, I have confidence in how he’s reading those. This weekend we’ll be able to evaluate and self-scout our offense even more with the extra time, and we’ll be doing that.
There is no doubt our offense needs to get better to give our team a chance to win.
Q. The passing numbers weren’t great from a perspective. Coming in they were top run defense, worst pass defense. I know you got to look at the film, but did you have any feel for what — why it couldn’t get going? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, again, it always starts with us putting the guys in position to make plays. So, it starts with us as coaches first to put them in the right position, go to the right player with the football, to try it get our guys going.
It always starts with that. Then you always look at the execution, too, right? It’s the execution and it’s us putting them in the right position.
There were definitely some missed opportunities there in the pass game, but it felt like there wasn’t enough missed opportunities. It was more, ‘Hey, we got to do a better job getting these guys in position to make plays against defenses.’
Q. What changed in the fourth quarter? You started giving the ball to RB Miles Sanders. (Martin Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, like I said, the way they were playing at the end of the second quarter into the third quarter is when they started playing the zone read a little bit different, which opened up a couple of those runs that we had called for that. It was good adjustment by our offensive staff getting to those runs after they made a little adjustment how they were playing the zone read.
Q. LB Genard Avery made a costly 15-yard penalty there at the end. Why does it seem the team continually has some issues with penalties? (Chris Franklin)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, that’s first on me. I got to do a better job of cleaning up all those things. We know we can’t make those self-inflicted wounds. I know that, they know that, we’ll continue to harp on that and work to get it right.
Again, that was unacceptable and that falls on me first. I have to do a better job getting everybody doing the right things out there and keeping our composure out there.
Q. If it starts with the coaching staff, what can Jalen Hurts do better these last two weeks in your opinion? (Reporter)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, again, there were a couple times we had some pressures that he had to escape out of. Again, same thing: We just need to hone in on being able to make some throws in the pocket first and then be able to escape. So, we’re always going to be talking about that with Jalen because that’s where he’s really good at being able to escape and make plays like he did again today.
He did a good job of escaping and making some plays. But, again, we’re always going to be thinking about how do we get him to be the passer first and then the secondary part of it to be the runner.
So, that will always be a focus, and before I look at the tape, that’s how I felt right now.
Q. As a follow up to that, besides putting players in a better position, what specifically needs to be done to sustain drives on offense? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, you can’t have self-inflicted wounds, you can’t have negative plays. Any time you look at anything with an offense of what — we’re always looking at did we — there are some things that really stall drives. It’s sacks, negative plays, which is obviously sacks. It’s penalties, right, it’s drop passes, which we had a couple of those tonight.
It’s those negative plays that put you behind the sticks and put you in second and ten or put you in third and eight or third and nine.
It’s those things most particularly, the negative plays that put you behind it. And so those are the things we definitely have to clean up. Again, starts with us putting them in the right position, so you don’t get into those things, but those are the negative things that we talk about when we evaluate our tape. That is something we go over with our offense every week of, ‘Hey, what was our percentage on the total amount of plays with the negative plays in there, and we want it over 85%.’
That’s our formula. Usually when you’re over 85%, you play pretty good. Last week we were around 80%, so we know that wasn’t good enough. I’m assuming this week is going to be similar. That’s what stalls drives out and that’s what we have to do a better job of.
Q. For six weeks, the questions and answers that we have been going back and forth on have been the same. We ask you about why the lack of running back touches; you say about the RPO game, that the quarterback is making the decision. At what point do you have to reassess what you’re doing philosophically on offense to make sure the running backs are getting the ball? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: Always. We’re always thinking about that. The couple plays that Miles had today that were lower long runs, those were RPOs too. We have to be able to get them touches in there.
I have said that too before, that we got to be able to make sure they get their touches. Again, we’re trying to call the best play that’s for us in that particular time. We had called runs today. They weren’t real great for us, and that’s why we went with a little more RPOs with it.
Q. What went into the decision to kick the field goal? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: It was fourth and ten. That’s it.
Q. There was no tossup or anything like that? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: No, not at fourth and ten.
Q. Even with Buccaneers QB Tom Brady out there? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: Not at fourth and ten. Felt good with that decision. Didn’t work. When it goes right, that’s fine. When it doesn’t, I own that too as well, and I own that we missed that.
But that’s what I decided to do. I thought it was the right decision being fourth and ten.
Q. You talked about that fine line a little bit with the unscripted stuff with Jalen Hurts, because that’s one of his greatest assets as a player, do you get the feeling a little bit too much of the offense is unscripted and stuff you can’t count on foundation wise? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, definitely. Again, that’s what we’re talking about with we want to be able to make some plays in the pocket, and there are too many of those. We’re trying get it down from whatever percentage it is. We want to get into that 35, 40% area of unscripted plays.
I’m definitely thinking tonight we were higher than that, and that’s got to change.
Q. Does this offense run a lot better when you have Miles Sanders involved in the running game? Not only for him, but also for Jalen Hurts? (Chris Murray)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah. I mean definitely, you want to be able to take things off the quarterback at times, too. Again, sometimes it is with an RPO, sometimes with a called run, sometimes with a boot or a naked, sometimes it’s with a screen. Those are what we think of as breather plays for the quarterback where he doesn’t have to do much except just execute that ability of that.
And so, yeah, we want to get all our play makers the football. Miles is a playmaker. He showed that today and he’s no exception.