Q. Curious, from your perspective as an offensive coach, we talked a lot about completion percentage, and over 80% by opposing quarterbacks. How do you make that more difficult? How do you stop that? From your perspective, what makes things difficult? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think when you give them a disguise and you throw off the timing just a little bit. So, that can be a couple different ways. You can throw off the timing by getting a little pressure. You can throw off the timing by disguising the coverage and confusing the quarterback on where to go. You can throw off the timing with some reroutes and some press coverage as well.
So, whether they’re rerouting in a cover two scheme or rerouting and getting up in the face in man to man, those are all ways you can accomplish those different things.
Again, different things that we’re trying, you know, and that’s something that, again, that I kind of talk about to the defense. The way I speak to the defense is more so in the sense of, ‘Hey, here is what’s difficult for me as a coordinator.’
So, that’s why I say, first and foremost, whatever the issues are on this team offensively, defensively, special teams-wise, it all starts with me and me first.
So, again, because I do have that expertise as an offense to be able to share this information with the defense. And it’s my job to be able to get some of those things worked into the equation.
Q. If I can follow up with that a little bit. DT Javon Hargrave was saying yesterday that Chargers QB Justin Herbert was getting the ball out quickly, which kind of prevented the pass rush from getting home. And I think DT Fletcher Cox said that after the game against the Raiders with Raiders QB Derek Carr. How can you combat that, as well, if the quarterback is releasing the ball really quickly? (Martin Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: First thing first is we watched the tape – we all have to be on the same page. That starts with us coaching it. ‘Hey, if they do this motion, if they line up in this formation, if they’re in this bunch, if they’re in this stack, we need to be in this.’
So, if not, defense is quite unique in the sense that if one guy doesn’t do his job or one guy is off on a different page, then the whole thing can look messed up. But that’s us coaching it better first to get the guys doing that.
So, we had a couple pre- and post-snap mental errors that gave them some freebies. It is a good spin off of that question because it is similar to what I just said.
To get the quarterback to hold it in this quick game, when it really comes down to that quick game and two seconds out before the ball – with him having the ball and getting out in two seconds, it’s the disruption from the secondary.
It’s hard, because if they’re getting it out in two seconds, the pass rush isn’t going to get there, right? So, it’s the disruption in the secondary, whether it’s cover two with some reroutes, whether it’s a different type of zone with reroutes, or the press man to man out there that deters that thing from getting out that quick.
Q. Has RB Jordan Howard earned a role going forward even when RB Miles Sanders get back? And how do you figure out how to get him on the roster is that’s the case? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: He’s played really good football these last two games, sure glad we have him. And, yeah, that’s something that we don’t have to think about right now. I’m just really in a short-term point of view and mind. That’s just I think the way you have to think in this league, that you can’t think about what happened in the past. You learn from it and get better from it, but you got to be in the moment.
So, that will be – [RB] Miles [Sanders] isn’t back yet, so I don’t have to think about it. I got a lot of other things I got think through, right, and solve and problem solve.
It’s one thing I have the – unfortunately or fortunately, however you look at it – that I don’t have to think about right now. Is he playing good football? Absolutely. Are we happy he’s on the roster? Absolutely. We’re getting a spark offensively from [RB] Jordan Howard.
And so, he’s done a great job of carrying the football and being aggressive with the football, and offensive line has done a good job opening up holes for him.
So, yeah, we look forward to continuing that with him, especially for this game against Denver.
Q. In working with you every day over the past few months we’ve learned that you’re very committed to your one percent better every day and winning that specific day. But I’m wondering when it comes to the big picture, how involved are you in, I guess, in conversations with Eagles Executive Vice President/General Manager Howie Roseman, specifically when it comes to identifying parts of the roster you would like to improve in order to fully develop into the team that you want to become and have here? (Josh Tolentino)
NICK SIRIANNI: We talk about everything. [Eagles Executive Vice President/General Manager] Howie [Roseman] and I, we talk about everything – the communication with everything, right? And so, players, that’s obviously our biggest talking point is the players on this football team. So, it’s everything.
We are evaluating. We’re talking through who played well, who played poorly, who played okay, why they did what they did, all sorts of things like that.
So, there are so many pieces to getting better every single day. You’re 100% right, that is a big part of it, right, of the guys out there. I think we have everybody in this building that we need to win football games.
And so, again, we have to play better. We have to coach better to be able to do that. But I think you’ve seen us in a spot where when we’re playing consistent, we can play pretty well. But it’s the consistency is not there right yet, consistently.
That’s my job as a head coach to get it there, but I do believe we have everybody in this building we need to win this division and to win football games, to be able to move on. Again, I don’t want to sit here and say anything about – to win this game right here, we only think about this one game right here.
So, I believe we have good pieces on this team and I’m excited to work with all the pieces on this team. But as far as the discussion of players and what we’re looking for, we have a constant communication with that.
So, yeah, I’m very appreciative of the open relationship between our personnel department and coaching department.
Q. I have a couple really quick game management questions from yesterday. The fourth and five on the opening drive, how much of a tossup was that? Did you consider going for it? There was the Chargers TE Donald Parham catch along the sideline that looked like it could have been challengeable? Did you think about that? And then did you consider going for two when you scored at the end of the game with six minutes left? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: All good questions. The fourth and five, I was thinking if we got that thing to fourth and three, that I was going to be pretty aggressive with that and I was going to go for it.
Fourth and five, you know, we had just had the third and five that [TE] Dallas [Goedert] ran a good route. [QB] Jalen [Hurts] got a little pressure and we missed that, but he did get a little pressure on the right side.
And so, then when you pin a guy – felt really good. [P] Arryn [Siposs] has really been kicking and punting the ball well. He has a good spin on that football. Like, I see it every day in practice, that if you put Arryn in a position where we were on the field right there, that he was going to pin it inside the five.
The ball hit at the three and the kickback came and [CB] Zech [McPhearson] and [CB] Andre [Chachere] did a really good job getting down there. To us, that’s an explosive play. You look at explosive plays on offense, you look at explosive plays on defense, but an explosive play on special teams, there are different formulas to get that.
Our explosive play on special teams in the punt game, just so you guys know, if you pin them inside the five, we count that as an explosive play.
If you get a stop on defense when your team is backed up, we think about that as a – that’s [Eagles Defensive Coordinator Jonathan] Gannon screaming that into the headset, ‘Hey, we stop them – I’m backed up, we get points.’
So, I felt good about that decision. Did it work out? No. They ended up going down 99 yards or 98 yards, 97 yards, and we stuffed them on fourth down. Then on offense, we didn’t get the ball out of there, so they ended up scoring.
The catch on the sideline, we got a good look of it upstairs. I got a good look at it – so I’m really trusting the guys upstairs to talk to me, because they’re seeing different feeds of that upstairs. They’re seeing the television copies of that upstairs. They felt confident it was a catch.
I saw it as well. I saw it live. I saw him get it tucked. The guys at Lincoln Financial Field did a good job showing it on the big screen. So, I saw it two times there and I had a chance – you know, they huddled for that play, so I had a chance to not only trust the guys up top, which I’m going to trust them a lot, but I also got to see it live twice. I saw it live and then I saw it two times up there. I felt that he caught that football.
Your third one, going for two with six minutes left. On that one there, we always are thinking about that. Hey, if you go tie the game right there, do you go for it to extend it? It was a little bit too early for that in my mind. It was six minutes left. I was hoping we would get a stop and continue rolling on offense like we did.
It was definitely in the discussion, but I felt at that particular time, with that much time left on the clock and the way we were playing on offense, that we were going to get the ball back and be able to do something with it and it didn’t work. But that’s what I was thinking on all three.
I have no problem explaining to you what I was thinking on all three. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t.
Q. From your connect principle, I was curious what your outlook is on body language. We saw during the neutral zone infraction that DE Josh Sweat and DT Fletcher Cox obviously were frustrated with the play. How do you manage that from a coaching standpoint when you don’t want another player to feel like they’re kind of, you know, getting the cold shoulder from the rest of the group? Then also, with that said though, what is the coaching point on DE Derek Barnett, because it does seem like these penalties consistently happen with him? (Mike Kaye)
NICK SIRIANNI: As far as the body language, I think that there are things that happen in the string of a game where our emotions show. Listen, I’m an emotional guy, so I don’t want to be judged on things that happen sometimes in the game with my emotions, because it is an emotional game.
So, I understand that, and I think when something like that happens, of course we’re like, ‘Oh, gosh.’ I think that’s just a natural reaction, but you always want to protect your teammates in every scenario, whether that’s a receiver doing this [throws hands up in the air] to a quarterback, or a quarterback doing this to a receiver. That happens. Like I understand that happens in a game, it’s an emotional game. I know these guys are tight in there.
As far as Derek goes, he’s had two of those big ones in third-down scenarios, but I do believe, just like the rest of the team, we’re trending in the right way with our penalty situation. So, Derek is a defensive lineman, and it’s like a — I don’t want to say it’s exactly like this, but it does have the elements of a tight end who drops a pass. It does happen. It can’t happen in that situation, but it does happen. But I believe Derek is trending in the right direction and he had a back fall yesterday.
So, again, I can’t speak to — I just have to look at the element of work that I’m dealing with that I’ve been here for. I can’t speak to anything that’s happened in the past. It’s this 2021 season, and Derek had a penalty yesterday that he’s going to want back. [QB] Jalen [Hurts] missed a throw that he’s going to want back. [WR] DeVonta [Smith] missed a route that’s he’s going to want back.
That’s the nature of the game. I got a lot of confidence in Derek. Derek made some nice plays. Derek is a guy that plays extremely hard and extremely tough. He made some nice plays in that game. We were going over our couple good and our couple bad from the defense; Derek was on both of the couple good plays, so he did some good things in that game.
He’s going to want that penalty back. We want it back. But I think we’re trending in the right direction. It’s no different there correcting Derek’s mistake as it is correcting an offensive lineman’s mistake or whatever it is.
So, we’re working through it, but I did think he played a solid game and he always plays hard and he always plays physical and he always plays tough.
Q. On QB Jalen Hurts’ throw where he missed WR DeVonta Smith in the end zone, he mentioned it was something he wanted to have back. Said he ended up throwing off his back foot. Mechanically what could he have done differently on the drop? It was kind of an awkward drop. Was that the problem? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, it was. They had shown a look there — just to let you in on some insight — they had shown a look there from that diamond front they showed us where they brought the five, right? We’re in empty protection and they brought the five, but they also added on the Mike linebacker, which would give you — would be bringing them six with us having five in protection.
So, I thought — as we’re on the headset and we go that — so what we taught Jalen in that scenario, hey, if you get that six, the defensive end on the outside is the one that is going to be free. You drift away from him, and you make the play.
So, myself, [Eagles quarterbacks coach] Brian [Johnson], [Eagles passing game coordinator] Kevin Patullo, [Eagles offensive coordinator] Shane [Steichen], we’re all in there like, ‘Hey, here is that blitz.’ We still felt good about it. He just had to drift away from it. Well, they didn’t bring that extra linebacker, so we ended up being protected.
So, the coaching point is, hey, you were on the right point where you started that drop, that drift drop, because you got to trust what your preparation was all week. They showed this look, this is what they did off the look, I got to trust this preparation, just like us a coaches have to trust the preparation we do as well.
They ended up not bringing it, so what our point was to him is like, ‘Okay, they didn’t bring it. You didn’t have to drift as much right there. See if you can set your feet and deliver right there,’ because I thought DeVonta ran a pretty good route.
Again, I believe that Jalen is definitely going to be the first one to tell you he wants that throw back. I want that throw back for him. But there are some things he did in that game last night that — I said it yesterday and I stand by what I said — that other players in this league can’t make.
So, I thought he played a good, solid game, and that’s the nature of his position. You know, you lose a close game like that and we’re going to have to scrutinize everything. That’s what we do. We correct and we do everything like that, and those plays, he’s going to want those back. He did enough to help us win that football game yesterday. I thought he played a solid, really good game.
Q. I wanted to ask you about the wide receivers other than DeVonta. They haven’t really been as involved over the last four or five weeks as they were the first few weeks, both WR Quez Watkins and WR Jalen Reagor. WR Greg Ward hasn’t been targeted in four or five weeks also. And WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside before he got hurt had not been targeted. What’s your level of concern about the guys, other than DeVonta, not being involved, and how important is it to get them going? (Reuben Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, we’re playing a certain way right now, and we’re running the football and we’re play-action passing, so you want to get [TE] Dallas [Goedert] going, get DeVonta going. Of course, you want to get Quez, Jalen. There are a lot of mouths to feed there.
But when we’re doing it the way we’re doing it now and having some success on offense doing it that way, something has to sacrifice there. We’re always thinking about how to get the ball to DeVonta and Dallas and Quez and Jalen, and sometimes their touches come and sometimes they don’t.
I do know in this league you have to be able to spread it around, right, so they can’t just take away one guy and take away your passing game.
So, yeah, we always are thinking about how we’re getting those guys the football. Just the last couple weeks it hasn’t gone that way. I know that can be frustrating, but we got to do what we think we can do to win the football game offensively, and sometimes that’s going to sacrifice some of the touches on the perimeter.
We can definitely manufacture things to get some guys touches, but, again, I don’t want to sound coachy or cliche here, but there is only one football. You only have so many plays. When you’re running the ball the way we were and play-actioning the way we were, that was the right formula for us yesterday and the week before in my opinion, so some guys are going to lack some touches there.
But a lot times that evens itself out because you’re not able to play that way every time, right? A defense can take away things and force you to do it different ways, so there is no doubt we’re going to need them and they’re going to have to be patient and go, kind of like how [RB] Jordan Howard was. Patient and was ready to roll when his time was called.
Q. T Lane Johnson said that G Brandon Brooks will be out eight weeks. I know he’s not a doctor or team spokesman, but Sunday will be eight weeks. How is Brandon coming along? Are you expecting him back this week, next week, a little further on? (Jimmy Kempski)
NICK SIRIANNI: Still in discussion with that. We will be excited when we get Brandon back, but we are still in discussion there with what that is. He’s going to have to go practice when it’s time to, but obviously we talk through all those things.
So, I’m still waiting. I don’t have a great answer for you right now. Still waiting with that. We’ll have more information on that on Wednesday.