Q. How’s TE Dallas Goedert doing? And second off, did you think that the hit was dirty, and did you discuss the hit with the referees and what was their explanation? (Chris Franklin)
NICK SIRIANNI: Dallas is in the concussion protocol. Those hits happen a lot of times. I’m not here to ever question the integrity of another player or anything like that.
Those happen. You’re going in there and you’re going to get a hit and Dallas goes to the ground and the guy’s coming in to hit and where his head is normally was probably perfectly fine, but as Dallas goes to the ground, it becomes an illegal hit or whatever.
I’m not going to question the integrity of the player. I have a lot of respect for [Broncos S] Justin Simmons. He’s a really, really good football player, phenomenal tackler. And he showed a lot of good open field tackles yesterday. And I think he’s a first-class player and person, as well, of what I know of him. So, I’m not going to ever question that.
We always look at stuff. We always have a list of questions that we want to ask the referees after the game, just so we can help our players, teach our players.
But, hey, they got a hard job. The referees got a hard job and they got to make those things — we always talk about this in our coaches’ office. We have that remote in our hands and we can slow it down really slow, right, to show what’s happening in that play.
They got to make those decisions with the speed of that game, that game moves so quick.
But we always want to know some things like that that happened in the game with officiating questions so we can teach our guys how to play the game right without being penalized.
Q. You have really, really committed to the run the last three weeks, especially. And it’s a shift, I think, in philosophy or whatever. Can you take me back to a moment, maybe — was there a moment watching film, conversation with coaches or linemen or anything where you kind of had that shift? (John Clark)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, we just want to do what we think’s best for us to win each football game. And that always starts with what you think you do well first, right?
So, you kind of look at the things you’re doing well and what’s working for you. And then it goes into the team that your playing’s scheme and their players.
And so, that’s just something that we’ve known we’ve had a good offensive line the whole time, we’ve always wanted to get the run game going to help [QB] Jalen [Hurts] be more successful as a quarterback because that takes some of the pressure off him.
But I don’t know if there was a shift or more so just the sense it got going early in those games — a couple of those games starting with Las Vegas, that kind of got going early in that game. We obviously got ourselves in a position where we got down there, so maybe you can say that shift happened in Las Vegas.
But that has always been our emphasis, to run the ball. We ran the ball well. You don’t just all of a sudden — I don’t know, I think we’re maybe in top five in the league in rushing. I’m not sure exactly what the stat is —
Q. Top in the NFC. (John Clark)
NICK SIRIANNI: Top in the NFC? There you go. John, I knew you’d know the stat right there [smiling]. But that just doesn’t happen after three good games, right?
It is the culmination of the entire year. So, we felt like we’ve been running the ball well throughout. I know that we wanted to run it more, that people thought we should run it more.
It’s just the way games go sometimes. And so, I don’t want to say it was a shift because, again, I think we’ve been running the ball well the entire year. It’s looked different game in, game out. But that’s going to be par for the course for the way it goes, whether you’re under center, whether you’re in the gun, whether you are zone reading, whether you’re running gadgets, et cetera.
Q. As you look back at some of the tough losses, tough moments you guys had earlier this season, how did you get the players to keep believing in you and your process, even when it wasn’t yielding the results? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think what we’ve talked about before is that when you’re talking through things and trying to get through hard times — also just your core values and your beliefs. Like, I don’t think we’re saying anything as a coaching staff that’s outrageous, right? It’s, like, okay, oh, the best teams that connect a lot do well? Well, yeah, that’s pretty obvious, right?
The teams that are cohesive teams, they find themselves through tough times. Oh, teams that compete hard, that have accountability, that have football IQ, that have fundamentals. So, it’s not like we’re saying anything that’s off the wall. I think I’ve kind of said that in here before. These are our core values that I think our guys know in some aspects have been true on all the good teams that they’ve been part of.
So, it’s just continuing to hammer home the things that we believe are a common denominator in good football teams. And so, that’s the coaching side of it.
I think the player’s side of it is we just got good guys on this football team. We got good leaders on this football team, high football character guys, we got high character individuals, away from the game.
And so, when you have guys like that in the building, that goes a long way. Just can’t say enough of the job that [Eagles Executive Vice President/General Manager] Howie [Roseman] and his staff has done in putting this team together and the character of the guys we have in the locker room and the leaders in the locker room.
And that helps get through some stuff times, as well. Again, we had a good game yesterday. We got to look to build on that and try to go two in a row.
Q. How has LB Davion Taylor compensated for what he’s lacked in experience? And have you been more, willing with a young guy like that to maybe overlook sometimes when there are mistakes because of his upside? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: He’s definitely got a lot of talent, Jeff, with his athleticism, his speed. He can make up for some of those things and some of that lack of experience because he has that ability.
And so, playing that position, I think you go through some of those growing pains, too, that a quarterback has to go through, right, diagnosing all those things, making calls, diagnosing everything that is going on, run, pass.
And so, there’s no doubt, what you said, his athleticism has allowed him to make up for a little bit of his lack of playing time. But that will grow.
He’ll grow more and more and more each week through the reps that he’s getting. As long as he’s willing to put in the work and he’s definitely one of those guys that is, another high character guy that works hard, that loves football, that’s tough, that’s willing to put in the work to get better every single day.
When a guy gets better every single day, it is, it’s two things: One, they’re getting more reps; and two, they care about their teammates, they care about the sport, they care about being the best version of themselves that they can, and they got no choice. When it is like that, they have no choice to get better. And so, that’s definitely something I’ve seen from Davion throughout this year.
Q. Yesterday, you mentioned that WR DeVonta Smith could be a good player in this league for a long time. And I was wondering if you could expand on that a little bit. I know you’ve had a lot of experience with some really good wide receivers. Where do you see DeVonta’s potential compared to some of those guys and I assume he’s probably just scratching the surface for what his true potential can be. Am I right? (Martin Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: Forget any physical tools. He’s a smart player and he’s tough. You just see that over and over.
And, again, I think I’ve mentioned that before, smart and tough guys, let’s get a lot of those guys, right? Because you can’t get on the bus without those guys.
So, it starts there, just his mental makeup of who he is. He’s mentally tough, physically tough. So, it starts with that mental makeup of DeVonta. And then you add in the skill, right?
Because there are a lot of tough people out there; mentally, physically, but then they don’t have the skill to play in this game. He’s got a ton of skill.
Where I see it is — you know, I think he catches — he’s just got really solid hands, really good hands. I know he’s had a couple drops, I don’t know exactly how many he has. I don’t think it’s a lot.
But, he’s got really solid hands that’s going to be able to make tough catches. And he’s just really good — he knows how to attack defenders at a very young age.
Like, he’s seeing different looks of how he needs to attack defenders. And then he’s really good in and out of the break.
I think you saw a couple times yesterday him just drop his weight, be able to transition in and out of breaks to separate and create throws for Jalen [Hurts] to be able to make easy throws.
Obviously, the mental makeup of DeVonta and then those physical skills that I just mentioned right there are going to be why he continues to ascend in this league.
Him playing through an injury yesterday, that’s something that — it’s a long season in this NFL, and he just — I can’t say enough how tough he is to be able to play through things that he has got to play through and play the type of game that he did.
So, I’m really happy that he’s on this football team and look forward to continuing to watch him develop as the season continues.
Q. With the running backs, you’ve spoken during the past few months about keeping players fresh, riding the hot hand. But how specifically do you determine that rotation? Is that up to Eagles running back/assistant head coach Jemal Singleton during the course of the game or do you script out a distribution going into the game depending on situations? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yes, to both of those, Zach. Again, you do ride the hot hand as you go. As we’re calling the game, [Eagles offensive coordinator] Shane [Steichen] and I are calling the game and going through it, that’s something that is left up to Jemal in a lot of senses because he’s got the feel of what’s going on in there.
But there are also plays on our call sheet and it could be anywhere from 10 to 15 plays out of all the plays on your call sheet. It could be more than that, where you’re like, ‘Hey, I’m in 11-personnel and I want 14 in the game.’
And so, that’s dictated out before. Or, ‘I’m in 12-personnel and I want 24 in the game.’ It can be any of those. So sometimes, yes, it’s done throughout the week and sometimes it is the feel of the way the game is going.
And so, yeah, that’s the answer, is that we handle it both ways. So, I’m pleased with the way the running back rotation has went.
Obviously, we’ve been running the ball well. We’ve been running — and it’s, like we continue to even out those reps.
They both had 80 yards or 80-plus yards yesterday. And so, it was good to keep them fresh and keep going. They were running the ball well. Both made a lot of really good runs. Really, what I continue to see this football team do, and it starts with these running backs, is protect the football. Like, there’s a couple plays that could have went — you know, [QB] Jalen [Hurts] gets hit, right, on a play yesterday, and [C] Jason Kelce is right there to fall on the ball, right?
And then you saw DeVonta come across the middle and he got in some traffic, and he put two hands on the ball like we always talk about and what he’s practiced a thousand times. And then what you saw from the backs is — I just really want to point this out with the backs. We talk a lot about keeping the ball away from the defense. So, I mean, this is just football 101. If I’m carrying the ball on the left sideline, I want the ball in my left arm so I can use my stiff arm and I can protect that ball if it gets knocked out and I can protect myself.
And you saw [RB] Boston [Scott] do that two times in the game yesterday where he was trying to go right, so he had to put it in his right arm, he had to cut back left, he got out of traffic, put it in his left arm and he was able to use the stiff arm.
And then you saw [RB] Jordan Howard, a lot of times in this game when you’re going to the ground as a ball carrier, your natural tendency, if you guys would all stand there and start to go to the ground, your natural tendency would be to put your arms out. There were a couple times when we were kind of milking the clock and running the clock out where Jordan Howard was on his way to the ground, but he kept that same ball security that he needed.
And so, I can’t say enough about how well the guys have done taking care of the football. And really protecting that football. You saw there were some opportunities for the Broncos to have some of those yesterday, but our guys protected it well.
And conversely on the other side, right, that we took one away in a very critical moment to help us get a touchdown. And that starts with the running backs and Jalen because they’re touching the ball every play. So, I wanted to make sure that I said that about our backs and how good a job they’re doing protecting the football throughout this season.
Q. What would you say to anyone who has already come to the conclusion that QB Jalen Hurts can’t be a franchise quarterback? And for the record, I’m not saying that he can’t. (Rob Maaddi)
NICK SIRIANNI: Watch the last three games and that’s the biggest one right there, right? And so you look at – he started – is it 13 or 14 games? I’m looking at [Eagles Senior Vice President of Communications] Bob [Lange] right here. 14 games now.
And so, when you start that many games and the other rookie quarterbacks in this class, again, all I can – I’m not really even thinking about them, but all the rookie quarterbacks in this class are at about 10 right now. At the most, 9 or 10.
And so, to me, it’s, like, well, he’s still a rookie, right? He’s still in his rookie season and – essentially, if you count the amount of games started. And so, all I see is improvement every day from him because, again, it starts with the type of person that Jalen [Hurts] is and how much he loves this sport and how much he loves his teammates and how tough he is. And he doesn’t make the same mistake twice.
I just see his arrow completely pointed up. I think we’ve all seen the way he’s played. The way he played yesterday, again, when we got into the second half, we kind of took the air out of it a little bit and we played a little bit different the way our defense was playing and the lead that we had.
But if you look at that first half, the way he played, he was doing some things yesterday that were really special. The play he made to [TE] Dallas Goedert is a big-time football play and I think if you look back and you look maybe five weeks ago, I think that he probably tucks that and runs and maybe gets 10, right? And yesterday he stepped up in the pocket, he stepped up with two hands on the football – I mean, and look how good he’s done taking care of the football just as far as interceptions and fumbles, right?
He steps up in the pocket, he rips through, he slides in the pocket, keeps his eyes down the field, and then he delivers a strike across the middle.
Again, I just see him making strides over and over and over again. I mentioned yesterday in the press conference that we had a shot play called, the one that DeVonta [Smith] scored on, and we actually had that called a couple times earlier in the drive. And they didn’t give us a look that we liked, and Jalen was able to check out of that play and get us into a better play that got us two first downs on top of that.
Again, I just see him making strides in all aspects of his game. My job here and Jalen’s job is to not focus on franchise quarterback moving forward. It’s about, ‘What can we do today to get us ready for Sunday and what can we do tomorrow to get us ready for Sunday.’
And I know I sound like – I say this every week, but my message isn’t going to change, right? ‘What can we do today to get ready for the next game?’
I promise you guys, I do know who we play the week after that, I happened to see our schedule today. I don’t know who we play the week after that. And so, all I’m focused on is how we get ready for this team to play the New Orleans Saints, how do we make the corrections we missed against the Denver Broncos, and get ready for the New Orleans Saints in the process.
So, I think that’s Jalen’s mindset, that’s my mindset, is how we’re going to keep getting better each week and the rest will take care of itself.
Q. It’s pretty easy to see WR DeVonta Smith’s improvement. Obviously, he plays a skilled position. But someone like OL Landon Dickerson, what has he brought to the line, the physicality he plays with. How much has that mean with what’s happening with the run game and how has he gotten better from week one till now? (Ed Kracz)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think he had a really good game yesterday. We graded him out really well. And he played a really good game.
Again, I haven’t met with the team yet, we gave them today off, but he’ll be getting a game ball with the rest of the offensive line. Any time you rush for over 200 yards, that offensive line is going to get a game ball.
He was a big part of that, obviously. I think he’s just getting more and more comfortable with the different looks that he’s getting from the defense and the different movements and the speed of the game and the strength of the game. He did a couple nice things, there was our last run of the day yesterday when we were in that four-minute – we had to get another first down to end the game. We couldn’t take a knee because there was, like, 2:35 left. We saw him pull around the edge – we’ve seen him dominate inside and be able to move. But then yesterday, on that play, he was able to pull and was able to get out in the space and show athleticism out in space, too.
I just continue to see him develop. I think that a big credit of that goes to, obviously, [OL] Landon [Dickerson]. A huge credit to that because, again, he’s got the right makeup to reach his potential.
And then having a player like Jason Kelce next to him, that’s big time, right? And [T] Jordan Mailata on the other side. But Jason’s seen everything in this league, right? So, I think Jason’s experience is oozing off to Landon. He’s got such a good presence next to him.
The type of game that Jason played and [T] Lane Johnson played yesterday, man, those guys – that offensive line played really well and it really started with Jason and Lane and moved on to the other guys as well.
I continue to see Landon get better. He cares, he’s tough, he’s physical and he’s going to just keep getting better. And [Eagles Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach Jeff Stoutland] Coach Stout is a great coach that will – if Landon comes in a day and he doesn’t feel like getting better that day, I promise you that Jeff Stoutland will make sure he’s feeling ready to get better that day.