Q. What is the plan with RB Miles Sanders this week? How are you going to get him back in? Is it you want to see how he looks? How are you going to approach that? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: He has to go through practice and see how he looks. We want to make sure that he’s healthy and ready to go. That’s going to be an on-going thing throughout the week. I’ll have more answers for you on Friday on that. Just want to get him out there and see how he looks pretty much tomorrow and Friday.
Q. Is there a chance that Miles could play this week if you see what you want to see? (John McMullen)
NICK SIRIANNI: I definitely think so. Yeah, if he looks healthy. He’s one of our better players, so he’s definitely going to go if he looks healthy.
Again, though, I just want to see how it looks this week. Like I said, I’ll have more answers for you on Friday.
Q. I assume you have to figure out a way to incorporate – if Miles does play, to incorporate him with guys like RB Jordan Howard and RB Boston Scott, who played pretty well the last three weeks. Will that be tough for you? (Martin Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: I think when you have some guys that have been running the ball well, that’s a good problem to have. And it speaks to the depth we have here in the running back room, in particular. So, a great job by [Eagles Executive Vice President/General Manager] Howie [Roseman] and his staff of getting the players in here and having depth, because we know it’s a long season, it’s a 17-game season. You’re going to have some bumps and bruises throughout the way. So, it’s important that the guys who step in for the starters are ready to go.
I think that [RB] Jordan [Howard] and [RB] Boston [Scott] and [RB] Kenny [Gainwell] have done a good job stepping in, filling that role with [RB] Miles [Sanders]’ absence. Again, I think that speaks to the depth of the running back room.
Q. Why are the Saints so effective at stopping the run? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: They’re really stout up front. They’re really good in that front seven, and I’m not taking anything away from the back seven – or the back end either because they’re good there, too. They just have a lot of good pieces there.
I’ve always had a lot of respect for [Saints Defensive Coordinator] Dennis Allen defenses. When I was in the AFC West, he was in the AFC West a lot of those years, as well. His scheme and his ability to coach the technique to the guys and how the guys play for him has always really stood out to me. I just have a lot of respect for him as a coach.
Anytime you get that combination of good players, a good coach, the defense is going to look good. That’s a stout front seven, and they’re physical, but we’re physical, too. So, we’re going to have to match their physicality. They’re going to have to match our physicality.
Q. A lot of times there are collaborative decisions in an organization. Playing Miles Sanders, is that purely coaching? Or is that something that you collaborate with management? (Bob Grotz)
NICK SIRIANNI: Like everything, everything is collaborative. We talk through everything. We’re going to talk through it, Howie [Roseman] and I are going to talk through it, the trainers are going to talk through it with us. We’re going to get all the information available to us to make the best decision, what’s best for Miles and what’s best for the team.
Q. There are different philosophies as far as whether a player’s injuries should affect their role when they come back. Like if a player could lose his job, basically. Is that something you’ve thought about? What is your philosophy on that? (Zach Berman)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, I know how good of a player that Miles Sanders is and looking forward to getting him back in there and getting him carries. Just a really good job by Jordan [Howard] and Boston [Scott] and Kenny [Gainwell], like I said, of filling in.
I think that changes – it’s different based off of different situations. Like, if Miles is healthy and ready to go, he’s our starter. But that doesn’t mean that every situation equals the same thing, right? Because every situation, you have to be able to adjust and you have to be able to do things, and every situation does have different circumstances and different thought processes behind it.
Q. Saints came in last year later in the season, but the Eagles did a good job running the ball against them. How much do you look at that tape and see if there’s something you can use from last year’s template? (Ed Kracz)
NICK SIRIANNI: You guys would be very surprised of how much we look at and what we look at, and all the different avenues. We’re looking for every angle we can have in every different thing.
So, we’re going to look at last year’s Eagles versus Saints game, we have looked at the 2019 Eagles versus the Colts game. We looked at the 2020 Chargers versus Saints game. We’re doing our homework and looking at all different avenues.
That doesn’t mean just the games that [Eagles Offensive Coordinator] Shane [Steichen] coached in or I coached in or the Eagles have played in, right? We’ll look at everything. How do they play? How do they play different types of wide receivers? How do they play different types of quarterbacks? So, we have just this library – our video department does such a great job of having so much information for us. And it’s our job – there’s a ton of information, but it’s our job to sort through it all and find the things that are going to benefit us.
I’ve definitely looked at that game as well as a bunch of different things. I’m not opposed to looking at Broncos versus Chargers tape or Broncos versus Chiefs tape way back when, or Chargers versus Raiders tape with Dennis Allen. So, we’ll look at everything and leave no stone unturned.
Q. Along those lines, how do you figure out how defenses are going to play QB Jalen Hurts specifically? (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: You try to look at similar styles of quarterbacks. Like I was saying, you look at the group as a whole, see what they’re doing in different situations like that. You always want to find the similar styles of quarterbacks to you and similar styles of offense to you. That’s always on our radar, things that we are looking at and things that we are thinking through with that.
Q. When you watch the Saints’ defense, how important is S Malcolm Jenkins to what they do? (Bo Wulf)
NICK SIRIANNI: He’s an aggressive player and I know what a good leader he was here. But you still see him playing at a high level. Like I said, he sticks out on the tape as being aggressive. He’s an aggressive player that we’ll have to know where he is in the run game and in the pass game.
Q. With how well the offensive line has been performing, how important was and how good is T Lane Johnson performing since he came back? (John Clark)
NICK SIRIANNI: [T] Lane [Johnson] had a phenomenal game and he’s played really well since he’s been back. That game that he had the other day, he just was really physical in that game and was able to open up some lanes where – there was a couple cases where they were bringing an extra guy off the edge, and Lane was able to account for two guys in one play, which is pretty amazing because of the movement that he was getting on the linebacker. I know you guys probably saw that, where he got up to the second level, threw the guy to the ground and gave the first down signal.
I just love the energy that Lane plays with. He’s a great player and everybody can feed off that energy that he brings. So, it’s great to have him out there. He’s been playing really good football.
Q. What was your message or theme for this week? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: We talked about today, since the guys were off on Monday, we really did go back today and talk through the game a little bit. We just rehashed the game. It wasn’t as many clips as what we normally would rehash.
Again, it’s the same message: How are we growing today? Today is going to be a day we’re going to be walk-through. We’re later in the season. We have a late bye. I want to take care of these guys’ bodies and make sure they’re ready to be 100% fresh on Sunday.
We’ll be walk-through today. The reason I’m even bringing that up is because the message is that we’re not going to be out there running around and moving around, but we need to make sure we’re getting better in the sense of let’s make sure we’re mentally ready to go here.
Having what we call, you’re going to the walk-through, you’re full speed to the snap in walk-through. That means your mind is working, break the huddle in the same aspect, your mind is working full speed, boom, the snap happens, now we go to a walk-through.
Just a reminder of how important walk-throughs are to us, being ready mentally and that your bodies are going to be ready physically because we are taking this break.
Q. Can you talk about Eagles run game coordinator/offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, specifically as your run game coordinator, what is his fingerprint on that? (Geoff Mosher)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, he just has a lot of different experiences here, right? He’s had a lot of different experiences with [QB] Jalen [Hurts], right, as far as last year. Stout just does a really good job. The rest of the staff, [Eagles tight ends coach] Jason Michael, [Eagles offensive coordinator] Shane [Steichen], [Eagles quarterback coach] Brian Johnson, [Eagles passing game coordinator] Kevin Patullo, [Eagles running backs/assistant head coach] Jemal Singleton, and [Eagles wide receivers coach] Aaron [Moorehead], it’s a collaborative work.
Coach Stout kind of leads up that run game division, but we talk through everything. He goes through and just kind of sees the different ideas, different things like that. It’s good to have him because he’s a really good mind that’s had a lot of success running the football, whether it’s at the college level or at the pro level. The Eagles have had a lot of success here running the football.
Stout is a great game planner. He’s a great position coach. Again, when you have guys like that on your staff to lean on, that’s a huge advantage.
Q. QB Jalen Hurts has talked about it’s going to take time, we’re building something here. When you’re coming off a win like you did last week and going into this week, how much does that help not only his confidence, but the team’s confidence overall after you had that rough stretch? (Jeff Skversky)
NICK SIRIANNI: Yeah, I think confidence is a great thing. But you can’t get overconfident, you can’t rely only on confidence. You have to rely on your preparation of what you’re doing and getting better every single day to put yourself in a position — like I’ve said, I say this all the time: We have to do our work today to put ourselves in the position to win. That also goes in the sense of, yeah, we did what we did last week, but we have to do our job today to put ourselves in position to be confident on Sunday.
So, confidence is built, in my opinion, yes, from what you’ve done in the past, but really how you prepare in the week and know your opponent and have your body ready for your opponent.
Q. How have you guys kind of squashed the penalty problem, especially on offense? (Mike Kaye)
NICK SIRIANNI: What we really talk a lot about — this isn’t 100% because we’ve always talked about penalties, we talk about hitting yardage a lot, and how we need to win that battle of hitting yardage. We’ve really emphasized it the entire year, even though maybe at the beginning of the year it’s like, ‘These guys don’t talk about penalties at all.’ I imagine that’s what the sentiment was.
We’ve been emphasizing it all year. I think when you emphasize something like penalties or protecting the football, like our offense does, taking away the football, whatever it is, it’s the same as everything, you might not see the fruits of your labor right away. But eventually, it will stick out and it will show.
Again, when you’re dead last in penalties like we were, we took even more drastic steps to make sure that we were emphasizing it even more. But it was something that’s always been at the forefront.
Again, not always going to see the results right away. That’s been something that throughout the process, like the work that we put in weeks one through six, wherever we were when we were bad in penalties, that’s starting to show, and the work we put in from six to ten, right? It’s just the same, put your head down and work, grind, over and over again to put yourself in a position to improve.
Q. What were those drastic steps? (Mike Kaye)
NICK SIRIANNI: Again, it was just more we still had our process of what we did talking about penalties, but when you had a penalty in practice, instead of talking through it with the coaches in the coach’s meeting in the morning, we showed it in the team meeting all together so everybody kind of saw that.
Maybe sometimes on a Monday meeting you would be like, ‘Okay, I’m going to talk about this penalty, this penalty and this penalty.’ We showed all those ones instead. A little bit more of what we were already doing I guess to say.
Q. Jalen Hurts, last year in New Orleans was his first start. I know you weren’t here, but you’ve seen the tape. How do you think he’s different as a quarterback today? (Les Bowen)
NICK SIRIANNI: What I really saw, I’ve continued to see him make strides. Again, I don’t know what he was asked to do all the time at the line of scrimmage. I’ve talked to Jalen about it, but I don’t know exactly what he was asked to do at the line of scrimmage.
What you see here now is him making great checks at the line of scrimmage to get in and out of plays. That’s the development of a quarterback you want to see because he’s your coach on the field.
I mentioned this the other day, the play that he had to [TE Dallas] Goedert where he stepped up in the pocket, forget New Orleans last year, I think three or four weeks ago he’s going to run that football. He might get 10, and he might shake the guy off and get 15, might get 20. He got 24 when he stepped in the pocket.
I’ve seen him with that play in the pocket go up with one hand. Well, I saw him push up with two hands and find the ball because he doesn’t know where those hands are coming. That’s the ball security thing we’ve continued to emphasize, that he’s continued to emphasize getting better at.
There are a lot of examples of how he’s different since I’ve been here. It’s a tribute to Jalen first and foremost that he’s the type of player that wants to get better, that wants to be great, that wants to be the best. He’s willing to do anything he can to accomplish that. Then his coaches as well, Brian Johnson is a great coach, Shane does a good job with him as well in the quarterback meetings.