Q. With the way the offense has been uneven the past five weeks, do you guys plan on divvying up different responsibilities with the way you guys have handled the play calling the first six weeks. And then how important is this self-scouting process during this, quote-unquote, mini-bye? (Mike Kaye)
NICK SIRIANNI: We’re going to continue to do the things we’ve been doing, as far as play calling and game planning. We feel like we have a good process there of how we go through it. I am fortunate that on this staff, I have guys that have experience calling games, which is helping me throughout games. So, we’re going to continue to stick with that. We’ve got a lot of confidence in that, and we’ve just got to execute and do better, but confident in our process there.
[In terms of] self-scouting, each week, even on a normal week, we look at our self-scout, and we’re constantly trying to think, particularly more so than anything, our run-pass ratio within different looks. Now, we’ve been heavy pass, as we all know, but we always want to get that closer to at least 75 percent. Never be above 75 percent in anything because we know that’s where defenses really look at that and make plans off of that.
So, we’re looking at our self-scout. We have more time, obviously, this week to be able to not only go into the run-pass ratio of things, but also into marrying some plays together and also go into just what you do well as a team and what your identity is as a team and who you are as a team and what you’ve succeeded in as a team.
Sometimes on a normal week or even on a short week, you don’t get the opportunity to do that as much. With these extra three days that we have, we are looking at that. We just got done watching the game together. I’ll go up there with the defense, get with the defense here, get with special teams after that and then we’ll be on to that self-scout as an offensive staff, as a defensive staff, as a special teams unit.
Q. Were you a part of the conversations on Tuesday between Eagles Executive Vice President/General Manager Howie Roseman and TE Zach Ertz about what was going on with the trade, and then what was sort of your message to him during the game last night and once the trade went down this morning? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, I was obviously aware of all that. My message to [TE] Zach [Ertz] was – obviously, I was just grateful to be around Zach, the type of player Zach is, the type of person Zach is, the type of leader Zach is. I was grateful to be around him. We shared a moment after the game yesterday and Zach was emotional. I was able to go talk to him after that and just let him know what I thought about him as a person and as a player because I’ve got so much respect for Zach Ertz and everything that he’s done.
He’s a tremendous worker. He’s out there working all the time on his game, so no surprise he’s had the success he’s had, and he leads by example out there. I’ve just enjoyed getting to know Zach Ertz, the person.
Obviously, seeing him play a ton of games and have seen him – like when I first got to Indy, we watched so much tape on him and saw the player that he is, but just to get to know him as a person and as a teammate and – I just valued that and wanted to make sure I said that to him and wish him nothing but success in Arizona.
Q. Did you make sure to get him that touchdown last night? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: No, that’s just the way that play came up. I’m glad he got the touchdown, I truly am. I was just wanting to score in any way we possibly could, and that was our number one call on the call sheet. It just so happened to be going to Zach just because we felt like it gave us the best chance to score. I’m happy that he got it and he was able to score in his last game here as an Eagle.
Q. To kind of follow up on Zach, a little bit. Your first core value, you always talk about is connecting. You guys seemed to have developed a pretty close relationship pretty quickly, always talking before practice and things like that. Just from the leadership standpoint, to lose a guy mid-season from your locker room, how does that affect you guys moving forward? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, you know, I think it gives opportunities for other guys to be able to step up in that leadership role. What I think is great about this team is that we have guys that know how to work and know how to lead and know how to practice, and so yes, you’re losing one guy that knows that and can lead that way, but we do have other guys that have been here and have won a lot of games and know how to lead, as well.
It’s not like you just lose Zach and then you lose everything that he’s done in the past. He’s still left a legacy of how he worked and how he led for other guys to follow and step into that – kind of like – say it like, when a guy gets injured, somebody has an opportunity to move into his role as a player. Well, that’s the same thing here. A guy leaves, and somebody has an opportunity to move into his role as a player and somebody has an opportunity to move into his role as a leader.
So, look forward to the guys that will step up and do so. But like I said, there’s a lot of guys on this team that have won a lot of games here that know how to practice and know how to work and know how to lead, so we’ll continue to lean on those guys and look forward to seeing the guys that are just getting into the building and just somewhat new to the building, see how they develop as that leader, as well.
Q. Obviously, you being a new coach coming in, Zach Ertz being a guy who’s been around for a while, like it could have been pretty uncomfortable with you if he didn’t handle it the way he did. I was just wondering if you can kind of describe what that was like coming in with a guy who might have been disgruntled, might not have wanted to be here, and just the way he handled everything, just the way he professionally went about his business? (Martin Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, I think that’s just who Zach is. Obviously, I appreciate that as a first-year head coach here and that he’s a pro. That’s how he goes about his daily business each and every day of just working like crazy to get better and making the most of the situations that he has. I definitely felt that.
Zach and I started to get close just with our love for wide receiver/tight end route running, how to run routes. So, that was an instant connection. I’ve talked about that before in the past, like yes, core value number one is connecting and that’s so important and it’s why it’s the number one goal, but you always start that connection as a coach-player because the player believes in you that you can get him better as a football player because you know what you’re talking about as a football coach. We shared that similar passion and that similar love for the game. That’s where we were able to see that we could help each other, and that’s where our relationship was able to grow.
But as far as – like you said, I think that’s just a great point by you, that it was a difficult situation coming into it, and he handled it like a pro because he is a pro. And not just as a player, but as a person. So much respect for him and the way he handles his business and so it’s no surprise that he’s the type of player he is. It’s because he has it all. He has talent and then he also has the ability to work and the ability to be in the moment and do everything he needs to do to get better as a player.
Q. Two replies ago, you referenced players needing to step into Zach’s role now. Since your arrival here, from your perspective, what was his impact specifically on the tight end room? And what happens there moving forward now? Obviously with TE Dallas Goedert and TE Tyree Jackson on the mend? (Josh Tolentino)
NICK SIRIANNI: With the tight end room right now, just because we had two tight ends that we see as really good tight ends that were sharing the load – and I think if you look at the stats of our tight ends and if you look at those together, if one of those guys was having – if you take all Zach’s targets and all [TE] Dallas [Goedert]’s targets and you put them into one, you’ve got pretty impressive stats right there. That would be up in the tops of the league with the tight ends.
As far as that goes, it’s like, ‘Okay, now you’ve got Dallas that’s going to take a major, major portion of that load of targets and of plays.’ Obviously, they were sharing that load.
But look forward to also – so a majority of that, as we know, right, because of the way we feel about Dallas is going to be on Dallas’s shoulders, but we also feel really confident in that room with [TE] Jack Stoll and with [TE] Tyree Jackson coming back. [TE] Noah [Togiai] that we just got back here, like we had familiarity with Noah from – I know this organization was familiar with Noah because he was here. And then obviously [Eagles Tight Ends Coach Jason] Michael and I had familiarity – and [Eagles Passing Game Coordinator Kevin] Patullo and I had familiarity with Noah being in Indy with us.
So, we feel really good about the room and the depth of the room, that we can just let them grow also and take some of those plays up and look forward to them stepping up and making plays.
But no doubt the majority of the looks are going to go to Dallas, so look forward to his role growing. And then those other guys, too, just picking up the slack, as well.
Q. After watching the tape, what stood out to you about the performance on offense? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: It was really the lack of execution on 1st and 2nd down that didn’t extend drives there in that first half. Obviously, again, it’s always execution and it’s always our ability, as coaches, to put them in positions to succeed. It’s the ultimate team game. It’s never going to be, ‘Hey, it was just execution,’ or, ‘Hey, it was just the play calling.’ It’s together.
It was just – again, when you’re three-and-out or four-and-out, when you’re that many in a row in the second quarter, you’re not getting the ability to sustain drives for different reasons here and there. It was just really – and you look at the second half, again, it was midway through the third quarter, you look at that, you’re like, ‘Okay, that looked good,’ and it was a lot like Carolina.
But it started slow. The first drive was, obviously, really good. You go down and get points. And then there was just this lull, and we were just not good enough – we were just not good enough on 1st and 2nd down.
Then just, obviously, being 3-of-10 on 3rd down, that’s nowhere near acceptable in our standards. Then you had an opportunity at the end of the first half to at least go down 21-10, and we had two opportunities. Defense did a good job of getting us the ball back and we had the one two-minute and then we punted it back to them. We got a stop, got an interception and then we had the other two-minute and we didn’t come away with points. That’s kind of where, in the Carolina game, you went down and you got points at the end of the half, and it really gave you some momentum going into the second half, and we just didn’t execute there in that two-minute for different reasons. Again, putting them in the right position, making the right read, giving the time for the quarterback to deliver and make the right read.
Again, when you play the way we did, it’s never on just one person. We’ve all got to accept that responsibility. We’ve all got to be accountable for that, and we’ve all got to get better from that.
Q. With the trade of Zach, do you have to worry at all about the appearance that the team is a seller before the deadline, and that this year might not – that the expectations might not be as high because of it? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: No, I mean, again, I just know what we think in this building, that we’re trying to win every single game. All our goals are still out there in front of us, and that we’re trying to win as many games as possible.
Again, like I said, look forward to Dallas getting the bigger load out there and then also the tight ends that we have of stepping up, and we feel good about that room moving forward.
Our mentality is exactly the same; we’re going to see – again, I can’t think 10 games from now. All I can think of is how we fix this game and what we’re going to do to win the Las Vegas game so we can be 1-0 this week.
Q. Two player status questions. First, TE Tyree Jackson, it’s been eight weeks since the injury. Is he close to practicing and returning to play? Second, is there more clarity on when T Lane Johnson will return? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: With Tyree, he’s still in his rehab process. I don’t know exactly when that’s going to be. Don’t like to put timetables on that, but we’re looking forward to getting him back out there and practicing when he’s able to. No new update there with Lane, either.
Q. Last night T Jordan Mailata mentioned that it seemed like Tampa knew kind of what was happening with the offense and that the team was a little slow to adapt to making change. How do you react to that? (Ed Kracz)
NICK SIRIANNI: Really, with what they were doing and what they were seeing, I think we threw out some new formations to them that they hadn’t seen before. I think a couple of things that they did, particularly in the zone read game, was to do a couple different things with the defensive end and the linebacker, which is why we ended up getting to some of those outside zone runs with [RB] Miles [Sanders].
But some of the times you just can’t see one play and say, ‘This is exactly what they’re doing.’ It’s just like when you watch tape of a team and you watch a couple plays on tape, this is before you even go into game planning, you can’t just watch a couple plays and be like, ‘Oh, this is what they’re doing,’ and devise your whole game plan for that.
You have to watch the body of – what we do is five games, give or take. Like some situations we watch an entire year or two years’ worth. But you have to watch that and play that out before you devise a game plan and say, ‘I’m putting all my eggs in this basket.’ Well, it’s the same thing when you adjust like, ‘Okay, they played the zone read a certain way the first time we ran it, is that what they’re going to do every time?’ To say, ‘Abandon that and go to this,’ that’s hard to do. You’ve got to get a couple sample sizes of it, and not every play you’re going to see that. You’re going to see that on zone read type plays, like to see that.
I’m not saying that you go 10 plays before you make an adjustment, but it has to be more than one or two before you make an adjustment. I thought the offensive coaches with some of the adjustments that they made, that we made as a staff, were pretty good. Like with some of the runs that we got to.
Again, you’re playing different ways at different times, but again, that’s just been my experience, that you don’t – what I’m saying, I don’t want anyone to misconstrue this, you don’t say, ‘Hey, I’m not changing until halftime,’ either. You change once you get enough sample size in there to say, ‘Okay, here’s how they’re playing, here’s what we’re identifying it as, and we move forward.’
That was our decision on how we do that, and again, like I said, I thought the offensive staff had a couple nice adjustments yesterday to get us some good plays based off of how they were playing some of that zone read stuff.
Q. How much of what you do on offense is your scheme, your philosophy regardless of who your quarterback is, versus how much of it is catered specifically to what QB Jalen Hurts does best, and do you feel that there are some limitations with what you can do based on what Jalen can do best? (Rob Maaddi)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, well, I think like when I sit and talk about the zone read, it’s like, okay, we didn’t do that last year. We didn’t – we’ve never really been in a system that has done that because we haven’t had a quarterback like that. It’s a little bit of both.
I think a wise man avoids all extremes. It’s not like it’s, ‘Hey, here is our offense, learn it and do it and if you can do it, cool, if not, we’re going to fail.’ It’s not that way, and it’s not like, ‘Hey, we’re going to do everything that you do well and we’re going to scheme it all through’ — because you don’t know — when you try to go and do something, when it’s like, ‘Hey, I’m going to devote everything to this system right here or this style of play right here,’ well you might not know everything there is to know about that, either, right. It’s a both-and. You want some staples that you have in your offense, that we’ve had in our offense for a long time to be there and to be existent if our guys can execute and do it, but then you also want to adapt to your player.
I know I’m saying both because it really is truly that. It is both. You want to adapt to what they can do, and you also want to do these things that you know your staples a little bit, like you know all the adjustments to happen off of that, ‘Okay, hey, we’re doing this style of pass, if they rob it with this guy, then we can hit it over the top with this guy. If they rob it with this guy, we can hit it underneath with this guy.’ It’s a both-and, and again, we’re just continuing to work through that.
Q. I just wanted to ask you, you talked about self-scouting, about team identity. What would you say is the identity of your offense through at least the first five games? (Geoff Mosher)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, when you’ve struggled the way we’ve struggled the last two weeks, it’s like – that’s the question you ask yourself every time, what is our identity, what do we need to do? Those are conversations that we’re obviously having as an offensive staff.
Now, it’s not like when you first got here, we’re like, ‘Okay, here’s where we are, let’s figure out what we can do.’ We have strong convictions and strong feels of what we think it is. Now, do we know 100 percent what our identity is? No. I don’t actually think anybody in the NFL knows 100 percent what their identity is right now in game 6. I think you’re still building – even the teams that have been together for a long time, I don’t think – pieces change year in and year out. That’s probably a little less, but again, you’re growing every day and you’re building every day to find out exactly who you are.
Do we know a heck of a lot more than what we knew week one? Of course. Do we know a heck of a lot more than what we knew week four? Of course. We are getting to those things. We didn’t play well the last two weeks, so I know how it can look. I get it, guys. It could look like, ‘Hey, they don’t know what their identity is.’ We are growing, we are finding it out more and more each week, and obviously we’re accelerating that as much as we possibly can to put our guys in the best position we possibly can put them in.