Q. To follow up on our conversation from yesterday about finding an identity, as you watched the tape, did you feel like this was the case of you guys finding an identity? Or was it more a reflection of what was working against that Lion’s team? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, I would say, again, a little bit of both. Just the way I answered it last night. I get it, that after watching tape I should have some new perspectives of it.
Again, what I thought last night was kind of the indicator of it. Hey, we had some good success early on running the football, being able to continue with what was working, but obviously we want to be able to be balanced in our attack and with running the football and setting up some play-actions from that.
So, the game allowed for that in the situation that happened yesterday. Then again, we see that we can run the ball pretty well, and so we want to repeat the things that we do well, also.
That doesn’t always mean it’s the style of runs we ran yesterday, right? Each style of runs is going to depend on what the defense is doing and what their defensive ends and defensive lineman and their front seven guys.
But there is no doubt that we want to be able to run it because that will only help our play-action game and help [QB] Jalen [Hurts] moving forward.
Q. Did you get a joking text message from RB Miles Sanders, like, ‘Where was all that running when I was healthy?’ (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: No, actually he texted me, ‘HELL YEA, Coach,’ with all caps. [RB] Miles [Sanders] was obviously super excited for his teammates. Miles is a great teammate. He’s a great person, a great teammate, great player. Sure glad we have him on the team. Obviously, we’re missing him right now and looking forward to when he gets back. That was his – in all caps, H-E-L-L, space, Y-E-A. So that was his – with an exclamation point after that.
Q. I wanted to ask about WR DeVonta Smith. He’s had some drops the last couple games. What you see from him and what he has to do to get through this? (Reuben Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: My big thing with drops is – I played wide receiver, and so when you have a couple drops in a couple games back-to-back, my experience with wide receivers and my experience as a wide receiver individually, is that you don’t want to go there. You don’t want – you want to fix the issues that happen. You want to fix the technique that happened with it.
In both cases with [WR] DeVonta [Smith], they both were kind of – I don’t know if you can see me, they both kind of hit right there. (Indicating midsection)
And so, you want to get those reps, but you don’t want to make a big deal about it. That is something that – a receiver dropping a ball, like I want DeVonta to catch the ball really bad on first and 10, first play of the game. You want Devonta to catch the ball really bad. The fans want DeVonta to catch the ball really bad.
But nobody wants to catch the ball more than DeVonta wants to catch that ball. That’s just a spot with wide receiver play that I’ve never went like the coaching point, ‘Catch the ball!’ And getting mad at a guy for not catching the ball – you fix what’s wrong fundamentally and move on.
It’s been my experience to never dwell on a drop. You just try to build that confidence back up. He knows he has good hands. He knows he has great hands, we have a lot of the confidence in him.
It’s just duplicating the style of catch that he dropped, which has been right in that midsection right there, because sometimes when it’s right in that place you’re like, ‘Do I want to put my pinkies together? Do I want to put my thumbs together?’ Sometimes you get into this where you’re not there at all – not in either of them.
So, it’s just correcting and attacking that spot that he had a couple drops with. So, I’m confident he’ll get out of that rut. That’s always obviously been my thought as a wide receiver coach, as a wide receiver, is, ‘Hey, fix the technique and move on.’
Q. Noticed yesterday obviously you guys sat LB Eric Wilson. I was wondering if that was, A, performance related, and, B, is it also a product of wanting to get guys like LB Davion Taylor on the field, and obviously DT Milton Williams played quite a bit? Are you feeling that the younger guys are getting more and more ready to play as the season goes along? (Martin Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: With [LB] Eric [Wilson] and the way it went down, [LB] Davion [Taylor] was going to play a little bit more and so was [LB] TJ [Edwards]. And then there was a role for [LB] Alex [Singleton] in some of third down areas. So, what it really came down to is we don’t have luxury anymore to dress that many linebackers. What it came down to was, who was going to contribute more on special teams and [LB] Shaun [Bradley] has been such a good special teams presence for us these last eight weeks of the season. So that was kind of a numbers game there, kind of what happened and why we went there.
But no doubt we trust our young guys and we trust the guys that – [DT] Milton [Williams] and we trust Davion and we’re growing more and more confident in them because they’re giving us reason to.
And so, that was kind of the reason why. It was exciting because we were able to give a game ball – we gave game balls, obviously, today when we had our team meeting, and Milton Williams was one of the guys on defense – was “the” guy on defense that got a game ball. So, just wanted to throw that out there. Really excited about the way he played and pleased with the way he played.
Q. Speaking of wide receivers, saw WR Jalen Reagor was carted off during the game. Any update on how severe that injury is? And how did WR Quez Watkins and the other receivers fill in for him when he left? (Chris Franklin)
NICK SIRIANNI: No new update on [WR] Jalen [Reagor]. We’ll see what happens this week. We’re hopeful for this week, but we’ll see as the week progresses. A game like yesterday is not one where the wide receivers are going to have a big stat game, right? But I thought [WR] Quez [Watkins] did a good job of blocking. I thought he was scrappy when he blocked and did his job.
He had a big block on Jalen [Reagor]’s jet sweep that we gave him that kind of sprung that one for an explosive play. So, I thought the guys that came in that filled in for Jalen did well. Quez did well in the return game, had one that could’ve got broke through there. Couple things happened on special teams there where it didn’t.
But, yeah, guys stepped in nicely. We’re hopeful we get Jalen back as soon as possible.
Q. We don’t have a perfect midway point of the season anymore, but curious to get your thoughts on your assessment of your performance through the first half of the first season as head coach. (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, again, I’m just trying to lead with an example of how to get better every day. If I want our guys to get better every single day, then I need to strive for it myself. And that’s first holding myself accountable for everything that happens on that field.
I don’t think I’ve ever lacked in that. I’m going to be the first one to tell you when it’s my fault just because I know that’s important for leadership. And then so really, I mean, I don’t have a letter grade on me. I would love to be 5-3, I’d love to be 8-0, and so I’ll keep my letter for myself in my head.
If we were a little bit better with 5-3, I would have a higher letter grade for myself.
Q. Just I know you like to talk to every player when they get released and I just wondered how you approach the trade deadline. Here we are 24 hours or so away. Do you talk to the players about this or do you just assume this is business as usual for the NFL and they need to be acceptant of what happens? (Ed Kracz)
NICK SIRIANNI: Are you saying if we trade them or before we trade them?
Q. Yeah, yeah. Before you would trade somebody or people’s names come up in trade rumors, do you talk to them about it? (Ed Kracz)
NICK SIRIANNI: You always want to address anything beforehand – but there are a lot of things and we can’t really live in rumor world either though, if you know what I’m saying, because there are a lot of rumors out there.
So, my experience is just to be honest with players and just talk to players and be openly communicating with them. Rumors are sometimes just that, so there is nothing to talk about. You always want communicate with guys on everything and every subject because, again, that’s the first thing. Like this connecting thing – I mean, I know I beat the dead horse here of connection, but that’s where it starts. You got to connect with everything because that’s where the player-coach relationship grows and that’s where I think just the best teams happen, where the guys are connected and the coaches are connected.
Q. What led to you going with RB Boston Scott and RB Jordan Howard over RB Kenny Gainwell early in the game because that’s a change from past weeks? And then going forward here, are you comfortable with Jordan on the practice squad, or do you think you need to get him on the 53? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: Good question, Zach. Again, we wanted that first series, we felt good about practice with Boston. That’s why we started with him, just the week of practice that led up into it.
With [running] backs, I think I’ve said this before, like it’s never going to be something like, ‘Hey, this back is having 20 carries, this back has 10,’ whatever the number is. We’re very aware when a back gets a hot hand, we’ll ride that hot hand. That’s been my experience and what we will continue to do. A guy gets hot, we’ll ride the hot hand. That’s kind of how that played out.
As far as Jordan, with the practice squad bringing him up, obviously we are in constant communication with all these things. We want to be able to keep all our good players. If you brought Jordan up, then you have to put somebody down.
But obviously we know how important Jordan was to the win yesterday and that we need him on this football team, and so that’s always in communication. Obviously, that’s something we don’t have to do at this particular moment, but we’ll keep talking through it as we go.
Q. As you look at the standings now, nearly mid-point of the season, that final wild card spot is within grasp. How much do you talk to, whether it’s other coaches or the players, that the way things have shaken out right now in the NFC, it’s still within reach despite any struggles you’ve had along the way? (Rob Maaddi)
NICK SIRIANNI: Really all we focus on is being 1-0 this week and winning the game this week against the Chargers. So, we’re onto round nine. You heard me talk about the heavyweight bout, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, et cetera, right?
So really in any game, and I talk about this with dog mentality, too. Like you can’t focus on what might happen in — we’re onto round nine now, but what might happen in round 10, 11, 12 or what might happen with the other team.
It just gets exhausting when you’re like, ‘We want this team to lose or this team to win.’ My experience is if you take care of your business and you win your round and you keep doing it over and over again, you’re going to put yourself in position to be able to make it into the tournament at the end of the year.
But you don’t do that unless you take care of one round by one round by one round over and over and over again. So the focus is completely on the Chargers; how we’re going to get better every single day; how we’re going to have that same preparation that we had last week this week; how we’re going to learn the plan for the Chargers; how we are going to practice with the intensity and the detail.
And so I know that feels like a little bit of coach-speak, Rob, but that’s exactly — I can only be honest with you, and that’s exactly how I think and that’s exactly how I want everybody on this team to think, is just one game at a time, one day at a time. Don’t look too far ahead, don’t look to far behind, unless it’s to learn and get better from.
Q. Two games into TE Dallas Goedert being the clear-cut No. 1 tight end, what has your assessment of his play been, and ideally how big a part of this offense do you want him to be going forward? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think he’s played two great games in a row as the guy, the main guy. No surprise to me. That’s why we felt comfortable with what we did with [former Eagles and current Cardinals TE] Zach [Ertz]. Saw Zach has had a couple good games as well, so happy for him as well.
We were really comfortable that Dallas was ready for this role, to be the guy. He’s excelled in it. He’s blocked really hard, blocked really well. He’s had 70 yards, I believe, in the last two games. He’s had explosive play after explosive play. I would’ve liked that screen to go a little bit longer that he had yesterday. He had the two screens, but I wanted that one to go a little bit longer. He got a little bit wide on that, and I thought that would’ve turned into another big play right there had he hit it inside a little bit.
But really excited about the way he’s playing football. But, again, not a surprise to me. That’s why we kind of moved in the direction we moved in, and happy that Dallas is playing and look forward to him continuing to be one of the main contributors to this offense in the passing game and in the running game.
Q. Curious, what’s Eagles passing game coordinator Kevin Patullo’s role on marrying the run and the pass with the RPO game, and how does he work in concert with you and Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen on a weekly basis to make sure you’re staying balanced, but also getting the most out of the passing game? (Mike Kaye)
NICK SIRIANNI: Kevin is a major — the reason we wanted Kevin here or the reason I wanted Kevin here, was to be here because I just know how valuable he is in game planning. I know how valuable he is with the wide receivers and gives us a perspective of an old wide receiver coach and an old quarterback coach. He’s in every game plan meeting.
There is never a time really when I think about it when it’s just me and Shane. It’s usually me, Shane, and Kevin. So, Kevin is a major contributor into what we’re trying to do here, what we’re doing here.
Again, he does bring a wealth of knowledge in the RPO game, and he’s helping us make sure we’re meshed with things and formations are meshed together with the run and the pass. Our run-pass ratio is where it needs to be. Kevin has just as much input and say as Shane and I in this whole thing.
Couldn’t be more happy that Kevin is involved, is here with us. I was excited from the moment we were able to get him here, and he just continues to be the presence that we need him to be for our offensive staff. Super excited that we have Kevin here with our staff.
Q. T/G Jack Driscoll, any update on him? And then linebackers, you talked about them a little bit earlier. Wanted to get your thought from an offensive perspective. That’s usually not a rotational position. Do you guys want to get to the spot where you have maybe one three down guy or two? How does that affect from your offensive thinking when your rotating linebackers? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: As far as Jack goes, hopeful for this week. No new update really, but hopeful for this week. Play that day-by-day here.
As far as the linebackers, that’s a position that if you can keep fresh with some guys and some rotations that’s a good thing. I know they got to get in the groove as well, kind of almost in that similar aspect of the running backs a little bit as well.
But yeah, if they’re rotating, if they’re playing — I mean, I guess I don’t really think of it that way with a linebacker. Like, okay, if they’re rotating, sometimes you can tell if they’re rotating that you get information based off what coverages they might play.
But as far as if that affects you as an offense, I don’t believe it does, when teams are rotating guys, unless there is a tell there.
What I mean by that is like every time you were going in the game with this linebacker you were playing this coverage, that would something that the offense could take advantage of. So just like in the run-pass area where we want to stay balanced, we need to stay balanced in that aspect as well and make sure we’re not giving any tells to the offense when we sub in the different linebacker groups.
Q. How much was your time in San Diego with the Chargers, or Los Angeles, wherever it was, how fundamental was it in fostering your offensive philosophy? Did you have any pause in hiring Shane Steichen because you both came from similar backgrounds? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: I guess it was a little bit of both, Jeff. I was in San Diego for four years and we moved up to Orange County, so we were all over the place when I was there.
Yeah, when we were there in offense and [current Colts head coach] Frank [Reich], our staff, we kind of developed the system that we had there. Then when Frank became the coordinator and I became the quarterback coach, obviously it was really big for my development that we were doing some of the things passing that — we were better passing team there than running team.
We found some things fundamentally that we liked, some ways we attacked the defenses together. Obviously, that bridged itself into Frank and I reconnecting in Indianapolis, which gave me the opportunity to have some success there to be here.
So obviously that was a big development part in my coaching. Also being around a player like [former NFL QB] Philip Rivers. You got to come with your A game as a coach every single day because there is not too many things that that guy hasn’t seen.
When I became the quarterback coach there I had to dig and claw and scratch to give him a nugget that he might not have seen, because, again, this guy would see everything.
So yeah, I just think I really grew as a football coach there and some of the good coaches we had there.
As far as with Shane, Jeff, I’ll put it this way: When Frank left to come here to Philadelphia and I stayed in San Diego, obviously Frank saw a different way to do it. I saw a different way to do it. When we reconvened in Indianapolis, it didn’t look the same way we saw it. We both grew and we both saw different things.
So, then our offense evolved there in Indianapolis to look — I don’t want to say completely different, but to look different than it did in San Diego. That’s my same thought here. Shane went — I went and got with Frank, back with Frank, and, again, I knew how our system evolved and I know Shane did the same thing when I left.
Again, that was what I was thinking. Again, you just don’t stay the same. You just don’t sit in your philosophies. You constantly tweak and look for ways to get better over and over again.
So, every single week you look for ways to get better and get better every single day. I knew that would be a good transition, too, just like it was for us in Indianapolis.